Atari cofounder Ted Dabney, who helped bring us Pong, has died

By Harry McCracken

Tech impresario Nolan Bushnell is synonymous with Atari, the industry-creating video game company he started in 1972 before going on to found Chuck E. Cheese and innumerable other ventures. But you have to be well versed on your Atari history to remember that Bushnell had a cofounder, Ted Dabney, who contributed to Computer Space (an unsuccessful arcade game that the partners created in a partnership they called Syzygy) and then Pong (videogaming’s first blockbuster).

 

As Fast Company historian Benj Edwards has reported, Dabney died on Saturday at the age of 81. He left Atari early on, in 1973. After working with Bushnell on some other projects, he eventually quit technology altogether and ran a small-town grocery and deli. For every famous name such as Bushnell in the tech business, there’s a low-profile pioneer like Dabney; we should honor them while they’re still around to enjoy it. (Fortunately, Benj interviewed Dabney on multiple occasions and helped ensure that his story part of the Atari story got told.)

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