Well, today I not only confirmed that Nolan's memory was right on the money but I even got a name. The May, 1977 issue of RePlay had an article on Ramtek that included a number of tidbits that I found interesting (thoughI may be the only one).
First up is this:
"But its founder Chuck McEwan is proud to note that if it weren't for the input of capital earnings from their early video game days, the slow and costly development of Ramtek's graphic equipment (familiar from operating rooms to the NASA Space Center) may never have made it at all."
Hmm. So it looks like at least some equipment as NASA was funded by video game profits. (and yes, NASA did use Ramtek displays, as this link demonstrates: http://airandspace.si.edu/collections/artifact.cfm?id=A19830025000)
Moving on, we have this:"A friend [of Chuck McEwan] Tom Adams (now the firm's finance vice president) had a small interest in a Northern California club called Andy Capp [sic] ... which just happened to have one of Atari's early 'Pong' games. McEwan and Adams were fascinated by the machine, as they were by the amount of play it en joyed. As an electronic engineer, McEwan thought his Ramtek Corp. could make a device like that, and the rest is history".
So now we have a name to go with the Alcorn/Bushnell story - Tom Adams. And he was a part owner of the bar and Ramtek's VP of finance, just like Nolan said (of course, I think that Bushnell interview was done in 1975, so you'd think he'd get it right).
McEwan even defends himself against the claim that he copied Pong:
There were a few other interesting bits of info in the article (such as McEwan's claims that Baseball was the first video game with animated characters and Clean Sweep the first to offer a free game - both of which I doubt). I've added the info to my earlier post about Ramtek.
Finally a few pictures.
Here's Chuck McEwan
And here's the Ramtek plant
Finally, here's the Ramtek production line (in this case, turning out the non-video piece Horoscope)
Nice to see another confirmation of the story along with more elaboration. We have the similar one in the book, but how we were told it by Al was that Nolan/Ted/Al received a call from Gattis the next day about some business looking types there to play the game and not drink, and after digging they found it was Ramtek.ReplyDelete