April 21, 2010

Old is New Again: Nolan Bushnell rejoins Atari

Apparently we've entered a timewarp: Nolan Bushnell rejoins Atari.
A little more than two years after Phil Harrison left Sony to join Atari in a surprising move, it has been announced that he has left the company. His replacement: Atari cofounder Nolan Bushnell.

"I am very excited to be reacquainted with Atari at a time when it is poised to make interesting strides in key growth areas of the games industry," Bushnell said in a statement. The company and its iconic brands have always been important to me, and I look forward to further guiding them at the board level."

Bushnell was one of two cofounders of Atari back in 1972, but was forced out in 1978 after a management dispute. He went on to architect what parents have come to know as one of Dante's nine circles of hell, the Chuck E. Cheese chain of restaurants. Joining Bushnell on the board of directors is Tom Virden, who Atari describes as "a seasoned executive in the online leisure, technology and travel businesses."
I'm not really sure how to take this news as it comes with no other announcements about any games or upcoming projects. It will be interesting to see if Bushnell has any measurable effect on the once proud company he helped build that has been down on it's luck as of late.