Ted Dabney - Pong - Nolan Bushnell - Al Alcorn

Rest In Peace: Ted Dabney (1937 – 2018)

Devastated. That is probably the first word that comes to mind on the passing of Ted Dabney. The co-creator of Pong as well as Atari passed away yesterday. On the fan picked Atari Day at that is certainly an even greater blow. With Ted Dabney’s passing we have truly lost a giant in the history of video games.

First of all I want to give thanks to Video Game historian Cat DeSpira for the heads up on this sad news. Yesterday she published the passing on both Facebook as well as on Twitter:

“Ted Dabney, co founder of Syzygy & Atari has died. His vision gave my generation more than people can comprehend unless they lived in the days when Atari was born & remember when the world was changed forever by the electronic dreams that company gave us. #Atari #TedDabney

Samuel F. “Ted” Dabney was born in San Francisco, California. After spending three years in Marine Corps, the young man found his calling in electronics. While his original aim was to attend San Francisco State, he did not have the finances. So instead he ended up working at Bank of America, making sure a prototype traveler’s check scanner remained in operation. A year after that he found himself at Hewlett-Packard. That lasted a mere three weeks before he was hired away by Ampex where he would work on the Ampex Video File.

[Via] IEEE Silicon Valley History Videos

While at Ampex he would also gained a new co-worker, Nolan Bushnell. In the extremely interesting Oral History with Dabney by the Computer History Museum from 2012. The engineer had this to say:

” He always had stuff on his desk. That’s all I know. I don’t know what he did. I never even asked him…I wasn’t worried about anybody else’s work, but I had no idea what he did. I think he studied stuff…But we were close. We wound up being close friends. He was a game player, chess player. He liked chess and so he got me to play chess with him, but he had also started going over to this game “Go” but he needed somebody to play with so he decided I ought to learn the game of “Go” so we could play together, which we did and we played pretty good, that complicated game.”

Around this time Bushnell started sharing his idea for a pizza parlor, a “carnival-type pizza parlor”. That changed though briefly when the duo saw a computer game in action at the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. One that would lead to the creation of both Syzgy and Computer Space!

Ted Dabney - Computer Space - Arkadia Retrocade

This is the Computer Space arcade cabinet at the Arkadia Retrocade.

In 1971, Computer Space marked the first video arcade game. It also was built for Nutting Associates. Dabney and Bushnell cut ties with the company, making contact with Bally to produce both a video game and pinball table. Of course they also dropped the Syzgy title and became a little company called Atari. In that oral history, Ted mentions that Nolan was thinking of a game where you were driving. That is how Al Alcorn was hired. Al didn’t create that driving game however…he helped create an video game empire and legacy with Pong.

[Via] Rich Bartlebaugh

Shortly after that hit, Ted Dabney found himself being pushed out of the company he helped co-found. He ended up selling his portion of the shares of Atari to Bushnell for $250,000. Although it appears that the two men were able to remain on a friendly basis. With Dabney helping out with elements of Bushell’s Pizza Time Theater. Before gaining employment at Raytheon, Fujitsu, and Teledyne. Then opening up a successful grocery store with his Wife in the Sierras.

Friends, while I was never fortunate to meet Ted Dabney. He most certainly helped to create something I dearly cherish.


Thanks to his efforts along with Bushnell as well as Alcorn. I am lucky enough to work in an operating arcade today. His place in history and what he helped start… it affected not only my life but his work continues to impress and inspire kids today. I think however this quote from that oral history sums up Dabney the best:

I said, “No, no, no, no; I’d rather be your friend than your partner.”

[Via] Video Game Journalism

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Title

Did You Know About The Atari 2600 Garfield Game?

Do you know what today is, friends? It is the 26th of the month. Which of course means that once again it is Atari Day! That fan chosen time every month where we try to take a moment and remember the legacy of Atari. Past as well as present. In addition to celebrating the games that could have been classic but were never released. Of course I am referring to the Atari 2600 Garfield game from back in 1984.
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Cartridge

Obviously while the video game crash of ’83 had already taken place. It’s not like Atari was quite ready to throw in the towel yet – attempting to find properties to boost game sales. Which is certainly why popular franchises such as The A-Team, The Pink Panther, and The Incredible Hulk were targeted. In 1984 however, Atari’s parent company was hemorrhaging money thanks to the market saturation of games. Which is sadly how the Atari 2600 Garfield game was cancelled.

Honestly, I had no clue that an Atari 2600 Garfield game had even been developed. A couple of days ago I was attempting to find something to share on the Diary of an Arcade Employee Facebook page. Which is how I came across the game, thanks to AtariProtos in fact.

This, at least to me, looks nothing like a quick cash grab. While the Garfield game was never officially released. Thanks to Garfield’s creator, Jim Davis, the Roms were made available. Of course considering how popular the character was at the time, it is easy to see why Atari was developing the title.

[Via] Treadman28

The game itself was programmed by none other than Steve Woita. Who had a in hand in such classic titles as Asterix, Quadrun, Kid Chamelon, and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 to name a few.

[Via] Video Game Ads

As for the goal of the unfinished Atari 2600 game? The Player must help everyone’s favorite sarcastic feline hop across fences. Devouring flying hamburgers and avoiding thrown potted plants.
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Chomp

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Ducking

As well as contending with the likes of Odie. Thanks to that AtariProtos page, Steve Woita claimed that the hamburgers stage would have taken place in a dream. I say that the whole game would have ended up being a dream as Garfield’s goal was to rescue Nermal!
Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Odie

Atari 2600 Garfield Game - Nermal

You know a bit about the Atari 2600 Garfield game now. Ready to see it in action?

[Via] Epic Game

Would you like to know more about Atari Day?


Atari Day - Atari.IO

Image courtesy of Atari I/O’s Facebook page.


To learn even more about the fun of Atari Day be sure to hop on over and check out fellow Retroist writer Atari I/O’s site by following the link here!

Ben Cooper Costumes - Title

These Vintage Ben Cooper Costumes Were A Surprise

Friends, of course those of us of a certain age remember the Ben Cooper line of Halloween costumes well. Perhaps best known for just how wide Ben Cooper threw its net in regards to merchandising. Finding one of these delightful costumes in the wild never fails to bring a smile to my face. Especially when I dropped by my local Vintage Stock and discovered they not only had three Ben Cooper costumes for sale – but they also were still in their boxes.

Ben Cooper actually got his start designing sets as well as costumes for the legendary Cotton Club. With the Great Depression however, the entrepreneur noticed that Halloween was still popular. So he decided to go for the licensing of Walt Disney characters beginning in 1937. Thanks to partnering up with Fishbach’s Spotlight in 1942, Ben Cooper costumes became super popular. Sears, J.C. Penney, and Woolworth’s carried the easily affordable costumes and helped cement the company as a household name.

[Via] Cool Old Videos

Now as soon as I stepped through the doors of my local Vintage Stock. It was indeed like my eyes were magnetically drawn to the display of vintage costumes. Thankfully the staff as always were kind enough to let me start snapping photos of them all. Almost as if they are used to me doing such a thing, right? First up is Gary Gnu from 1981’s The Great Space Coaster.
Ben Cooper Costumes - Gary Gnu

[Via] TGS Coaster

Next up is an icon I am pretty sure doesn’t really require any introduction. In the early 80’s it isn’t like Pac-Man wasn’t a worldwide phenomenon!
Ben Cooper Costumes - Pac Man - Mask

However that does not mean of course I won’t remind you of the Diary podcast. Although in this case the featured game was 1982’s Pac-Man Plus.

What of the third Ben Cooper costume though? Do you recognize this charming adventurer?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Mask - Bring 'Em Back Alive

Frank Buck. The world famous big game trapper and collector of wild animals?
Ben Cooper Costumes - Frank Buck - Bottom of Box

You will recall I mentioned that Ben Cooper was known for licensing pretty much any pop culture icon. In this case that does include the main character from 1982’s Bring ‘Em Back Alive.

[Via] Ran 5900

Which I should add if you don’t check out that intro to the short lived series is none other than Bruce Boxleitner. Also appearing in the show was his co-star from TRON, the beautiful Cindy Morgan. I am not sure if her character was available as an costume option for Halloween that year, but it wouldn’t shock me if one was available.

How about we close this out with this vintage 1978 Woolworth’s TV commercial? Featuring quite a few of Ben Cooper costumes I might add.

[Via] William Presley

Tales from the Crypt PC Game - Title

More Tales From The Crypt PC Game Info Exhumed!

Hey there, friends. Back in April we shared some exciting bit of news from Jonathan of CryptTube. He had in fact discovered that in the 90’s, HBO had planned on releasing a CryptKeeper game. Or an interactive Tales from the Crypt PC game. Considering how popular the series had become, it is little wonder Home Box Office decided to go this route. However while the Tales from the Crypt PC title wasn’t released, there is plenty of info left to exhume!

Remember that while the HBO Tales from the Crypt series was obviously mature. The truth of the matter is that the CryptKeeper himself was incredibly charming. Thanks in no small part to the voice talent of John Kassir. So much so of course there were two animated series featuring the CryptKeeper in the early 90’s. To say nothing of the face our favorite horror host had his own game show!

[Via] Michael Woodside

So as I was just saying a second ago. Jonathan, who is indeed a huge Tales from the Crypt fan, found out about this proposed PC title. He was even able to make contact with one of the head artists for the Tales from the Crypt PC game. Who was kind enough to send him artwork from the unreleased video game.
Tales from the Crypt PC Game - Mike Voz

Which was Mike Vosburg. The same guy who was responsible for making nearly all of the comic covers in the HBO show.
Tales from the Crypt PC Game - Voz - The Ventriloquist's Dummy

However it appears that there is even more info out there on the game. Which Jonathan was able to uncover and share on his YouTube page. For example the title would have in fact been akin to an interactive comic book. With the players attempting to make it through three different stories entitled The Works in the Wax, High Tide and Big Top Terror. In addition the Players would take on the role of an comics illustrator who goes by the moniker of Killyjoy.
Tales from the Crypt PC Game - Killjoy

Jonathan was also able to interview Russell Lees, a writer for Inscape at the time. Which was of course the company who was developing the Tales from the Crypt PC game. Where we learn some interesting information such as different stories would feature different artists. One of those artists was Al Columbia whose artwork for the game would be included in the anthology comic series Zero Zero!

More importantly, Jonathan was able to secure a demo CD of Inscape titles. While not offering a playable version of the title. It does however provide the opening cinematic to the game!
Tales from the Crypt PC Game - Assassin 2015 Demo Game

Ready to learn more about the Tales from the Crypt PC game?

[Via] CryptTube