Atari’s ‘Father of Video Games’ is Diving into Augmented Reality NFTs

September 29, 2021, 10:00 AM AEST - 2 weeks ago

Nolan Bushnell and Zai Ortiz are releasing an augmented reality NFT experience with the MakersPlace on the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain. The Arcade OG series will be a range of collectibles from the arcade era inspired by Computer Space and PONG, two of Atari’s earliest creations.

Bushnell, founder of well-known game company Atari and referred to as the “Father of the Video Game Industry”, has recently made his debut in the NFT space. Together, he and frequent collaborator Ortiz, a Hollywood visual effects director with 20 years’ experience, plan to launch the Arcade OG NFT Series.

The duo has been pioneering the field of digital works for decades, with Nolan even being praised by Newsweek as one of the “50 Men That Changed America”. Ortiz is the founder of studio Dark Matter and is credited for influencing modern AI design through his work in feature films such as TRON: Legacy and Iron Man 2, as well as in games.

When Bushnell encountered non-fungible tokens for the first time, his “initial wash on NFTs was: really?” However, as he saw what he describes as “the transition” from all analogue media to digital becoming more prevalent, Bushnell decided to participate, stating that he was “fascinated by the math of it – I went through all the white papers”.

Details of the NFT Offering

The team plans to bring back some of the early-day gaming machines as digital augmented reality (AR) collectibles available on the Bushnell section of MakersPlace.

I decided if I did it, I wanted it to be really cool and feel like my brand, which is about being an innovator […] I needed it to be something more than what was out there, not just slapping my name and image onto something.

Nolan Bushnell

The MakersPlace release offers ownership of five original, immersive videos, which take the viewer from the arcade and into Computer Space (both single-player and two-player versions) and Pong (both table-top and arcade versions).

Each of the five NFTs comes with ownership of a one-of-a-kind AR experience, which allows the owner to place a full-scale rendering of their console in any environment.

The drop will take place on October 12 at 3:30 PST. Meanwhile, the others will be single-edition collectibles to be auctioned to the highest bidder with bonus perks included. For instance, a single-edition red “Pong” NFT will be paired with a visit with Bushnell to the Two Bit Circus arcade and entertainment centre in Los Angeles, while a yellow “Computer Space” NFT will come with a signed and unopened Atari 2600 game console.

At this point in time there’s a lot of stuff we can do that just needs a little more thought and effort, and then I hope we can blow your socks off every six months with a new sock-blower-offer.

Nolan Bushnell

Using AR for NFTs is no new feat; similar technology has been used in the $500,000 Mars House, a virtual estate on Mars created by artist Krista Kim.

Atari Explores Blockchain

Atari has been exploring various avenues in the blockchain space, with its new console even able to utilise blockchain technology.

The Atari VCS ecosystem is designed to work with and facilitate the use of blockchain technology, with games, payments, NFTs and tokens all coming to the Atari VCS.

Atari VCS

Besides NFTs and blockchain-enabled consoles, Atari has also been looking into the premium accommodation business in Australia, trying to expand the company by creating an “all-in-one luxurious and entertaining experience” for visitors.

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