×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Ted Dabney, Atari Co-Founder and Video Game Industry Pioneer, Dies at 81

Atari co-founder Samuel “Ted” Dabney died on Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 81.

An electrical engineer and former U.S. Marine from San Francisco, Calif., Dabney developed “Computer Space,” the world’s very first commercial video game, with Nolan Bushnell in 1970. The game was a failure upon release in 1971, but in June of the following year, the pair launched Pong, Atari’s smash arcade hit.

Although he left the company in 1973 after a falling out with Bushnell, Dabney made an indelible mark on the video-game industry. He famously built Atari’s earliest arcade machines from repurposed TV components, and played an instrumental role in shaping the unmistakable sound effects that defined the arcades of the ’70s and ’80s. Despite their differences, the pair collaborated on Pizza Time Theatre, which later became known as Chuck E. Cheese’s.

Dabney spent time at Raytheon and Fujitsu, and continued making games under the banner of his own Syzygy Game Company. He later owned and operated a grocery store and deli with his wife, Carolyn. Dabney was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in late 2017.

“Ted was my partner, co-founder, fellow dreamer, and friend,” Bushnell tweeted upon hearing the news. “I’ll always cherish the time we spent together.”

On Saturday morning, Marty Goldberg and Curt Vendel, authors of the book “Atari Inc.,” paid tribute to Dabney in a Facebook post: “We’re at a loss. We just got word that our friend, one of the nicest, sweetest down-to-earth guys we knew, Atari co-founder Ted Dabney, has passed from his cancer. Thought he still had a bit more time. You always wish someone like him did.”

More Gaming

  • Timothy Olyphant Once Upon a Time

    Timothy Olyphant Explains Why He Did 'Hitman' Movie

    The 2007 film adaptation of the “Hitman” video game franchise is … not good. It received a score of 15% on Rotten Tomatoes, with many critics panning its incoherent plot and terrible dialogue. So, why did actor Timothy Olyphant take on the lead role as Agent 47? He had a mortgage to pay, he told [...]

  • GOG Debuts GOG Galaxy 2.0 App,

    'Witcher' Developer Debuts GOG Galaxy 2.0 App

    CD Projekt’s digital distribution platform introduced the newest version of its software client, including some of the features users can expect to see when it debuts. GOG Galaxy 2.0 gives users a way to combine all their games and friends across clients into one place. This new version of the old GOG Galaxy client was created [...]

  • Riot Forms Scholastic Association to Oversee

    Riot Forms Scholastic Association to Oversee School Esports Efforts

    “League of Legends” developer Riot Games is forming a new governing body for its college and high school esports activities called the Riot Scholastic Association of America, it announced on Tuesday. A board of advisors will work with a team at Riot to continue its scholastic esports support, including scaling competitive operations and creating a [...]

  • Raleigh, NC Preparing to Host Major

    Raleigh, NC Preparing to Host Major Esports Events

    Creative services company Big Block is teaming up with the city of Raleigh, NC as it prepares to host major global esports events, it announced on Tuesday. Big Block, which specializes in esports consulting, will now help the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) and the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance to evaluate local facilities, [...]

  • Microsoft Introduces Improved Xbox Game Bar

    Microsoft Introduces Improved Xbox Game Bar For Windows 10

    Microsoft unveiled its newly-updated Xbox Game Bar for Windows 10, meant as part of the company’s efforts to “improve the gaming experience” on the platform. The Xbox Game Bar is a customizable gaming overlay that comes built into Windows 10 directly. It’s compatible with most PC games, except for some titles that use the Vulcan [...]

  • Slakoth Featured for "Pokemon Go" June

    Slakoth Featured for "Pokemon Go" June Community Day

    The “Pokemon Go” Community Day is returning next month, and Niantic is urging players to not slack off and to be sure and nab a Slakoth, the featured pokemon this event, as seen in a new promo video. The video, shown above, features the augmented reality version of the normal-type pokemon who will appear more [...]

  • Valve Launches Steam Chat Mobile App

    Valve Launches Steam Chat Mobile App

    Steam Chat is now available for iOS and Android devices, Valve announced on the Steam Blog on Tuesday. The app functions similarly to the Steam desktop chat, allowing users to see which of their friends are online and what games they’re playing. The app also supports “Rich Chat,” meaning users can send GIFs, emoticons, tweets, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content