Almost immediately after Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell was un-nominated for a “Pioneer” endowment over accusations of sexism, questions arose from gaming fans and historians alike: was the greeting appropriate?
They wanted to know: was a “#NotNolan” campaign too discerning to pass settlement formed on carnal rumors? Or was it a totalled response to how the gaming and record industries demeanour so many years later?
A report from Kotaku’s Cecilia D’Anastasio came closest to responding that doubt on Monday. For the report, she interviewed a constrained spectrum of women who are maybe best versed to pronounce to the question: Bushnell’s womanlike peers within Atari, as good as womanlike attention researchers and historians. The report doesn’t come close to a decisive answer, and its perplexity to describe any outcome on the matter is maybe its biggest strength.
Atari didn’t “prepare us for the genuine world”
The report’s many engaging sum come from those who worked with Bushnell during his tenure, which finished when he sole the company to Warner in 1976. The company’s first marketplace researcher, Carol Kantor, and credit manager, Mireille Chevalier, any tell stories about having opportunities to flower formed only on their ability to broach results. The report points to high numbers of womanlike hires in the production and investigate departments, and it includes a refusal from longtime Bushnell business partner Loni Reeder: “There’s a common anger among us toward the people who done [#NotNolan] a big deal.”
When pressed, two distinguished women in the company’s artistic forces—which were famous for having fewer womanlike hires—offered some-more misleading feedback. The first, Centipede co-creator Dona Bailey, declined criticism to Kotaku and instead forked out that she is operative on a screenplay about her Atari experiences. (D’Anastasio also points to a criticism Bailey done in a 2012 speak about flourishing “a thicker skin” to work with men.)
The second, striking engineer Evelyn Seto, concurred “a couple disastrous experiences, but it was mostly innuendo.” She then cut her Kotaku speak short: “I don’t wish to speak about it.”
The rest of the piece confirms as many petrify sum as it can about stories that have prolonged circulated—which, D’Anastasio reminds readers, were “actively circulated” by Bushnell to up-sell the mythos and sexiness of Atari’s many successful era. (In fortifying the barbarous prohibited cylinder commissioned at Atari HQ, Reeder compared it to the in-office perks found at some of the world’s many successful companies.)
“The 12 women we interviewed described Atari’s enlightenment as a product of the free-love ’70s, but also, as an tusk of feminism’s second wave, which helped commission women to find equal workplace opportunities,” D’Anastasio writes.
“It was a opposite time,” scarcely all of them pronounced at some indicate during the conversation. It’s wholly probable that the women who select to stay in hold and publicly dependent with Atari’s code are connected over their certain experiences. It’s wholly probable unpalatable and potentially deleterious function occurred between men and women at Atari—but speaking up about 40-year-old incidents stays tricky for a accumulation of reasons.
The report is clever to remind readers that #NotNolan’s advocates didn’t set out to specifically rip Bushnell down. Instead, they spoke out since “holding him up for special honors in 2018 felt like it was promulgation the wrong message.” To that end, D’Anastasio also speaks to game-industry historians about the enlightenment of sexualized male prevalence that followed Atari’s success to other tech companies. Still, Atari’s womanlike veterans offer a retort to that perspective: that Atari didn’t “prepare us for the genuine world,” due to what they called a more egalitarian diagnosis of women at Atari than the other tech companies they eventually worked for.
Head to Kotaku to review the full, constrained report.