The Art of Video Games” Interview with Atari Founder Nolan Bushnell

  • The Art of Video Games exhibition was on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum March 16 through September 30, 2012. 

    NOLAN BUSHNELL: One of the things that’s really fun with games is the whole idea of the playful mind. How can we make games surprise you? When we did the VCS, probably the biggest surprise that we had was how flexible it was. There’s no question that when you have a very, very fundamental system – it's like, we were building games based on the rules of physics, and it was really simple. And yet it was extremely powerful in what you could do with it, if you were creative, interested, and very, very smart.

    I mean, you can take people anywhere and put them in the middle of any environment. You can let people explore. There are so many creative and wonderful things going on right now that are constantly surprising me and making me joyful to see that this business, this world, is constantly evolving and getting better, and that as wonderful as some of things that have been happening in the past have been, the future just looks extraordinary. Everything from teaching languages and mathematics and physics to experiencing Mars or crazy worlds in your imagination. Remember that the next big wave of competition in the world is going to be that of creativity. And I believe the video game, more than anything else, fosters the mindset that will allow creativity to grow.