Atari’s Co-Founder Passes


Atari’s co-founder Ted Dabney (second from left) with former Atari techies Dan Corona, Larry Baks and Marty James at a company party in 2012.Ted Dabney, who with the more famous Nolan Bushnell, founded a tiny electronics company called Syzygy (soon renamed Atari) back in 1972, has died at the age of 81. The two youngsters had previously partnered to program Computer Space. . . the very first coin-operated video game ever brought to market.

It was produced at a Northern California trivia game maker called Nutting Associates after its owner Bill Nutting. At Atari, Ted played his part, along with designer Al Alcorn (and Bushnell, of course) in the design and production of Pong, the first “hit” TV game which ushered in the age of video gaming.

Curiously, he left the new company shortly afterward, devoting much of his follow up years working at electronics firms outside the coin-op business. According to the Huffington Post (whose writer Andy McDonald gathered bits and piece on Ted from friends and other media), he died of the esophageal cancer he’d been fighting. He and wife Carolyn had spent part of his remaining years operating a grocery store up in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains. Apparently, Ted Dabney preferred the simple life to the limelight. May he rest in peace.


Comments are closed.