The organisers of the Sport Builders Selection Awards immediately introduced the recipient for this 12 months’s Pioneer Award, confirming it’ll go to Atari and Chuck E. Cheese founder Nolan Bushnell. Nevertheless, GDC has now confirmed that it is re-examining this nomination within the wake of an outcry relating to Bushnell’s previous behaviour and remedy of girls.
A spokesperson for GDC organiser UBM confirmed to Glixel that it’s evaluating what it plans to do with the Pioneer Award, saying that GDC and its nominating committee didn’t find out about Bushnell’s historical past once they nominated him. GDC is now going again to have a look at the nomination “extra intently.” Bushnell didn’t reply to a request for remark when approached by Glixel.
The hashtag #notnolan took off today on Twitter, with recreation designers and different trade folks calling out UBM for giving the award to Nolan and blasting the organisation for being tone deaf concerning the #MeToo motion.
Brianna Wu, a recreation designer from Massachusetts at present working for a seat in US Congress, stated on Twitter than Bushnell’s nomination is “wildly inappropriate.” Talking to Glixel, Wu stated Bushnell is deserving of the award, however not this 12 months.
“Nolan Bushnell is clearly a deeply vital particular person in online game historical past,” she stated. “He deserves to be honored for a lifetime achievement award with out query. However within the 12 months that the #MeToo motion is happening and we’re having a reckoning about what girls face within the office? It simply appears actually tone deaf by GDC.”
“We have to perceive that supporting this award for him doubtlessly causes actual ache among the many girls who needed to endure him and it sends a tough message to everyone who’s at present enduring comparable conduct in our trade,” she went on to say. “It tells girls who’ve been uncovered to comparable conditions that their perpetrators cannot solely get away with that, however [they] may also be recognised for his or her work, even when their behaviour alongside the way in which was unacceptable.”
1/ GDC is selecting to honor Atari founder Nolan Bushnell this 12 months, one thing I discover wildly inappropriate with the #metoo motion.
Listed here are some details concerning the sexual harassment Mr. Bushnell commited at Atari within the 80s.
— Brianna Wu (@Spacekatgal) January 30, 2018
Sport designer Elizabeth Sampat additionally weighed in, ripping Bushnell for being “well-known trade rubbish.” Sampat provided up some strategies for what to do as an alternative of giving the award to Bushnell.
UBM: don’t give the Pioneer award to anybody this 12 months. Or reasonably, award it symbolically to the entire girls who constructed this trade and are not right here, largely resulting from males like this.#notnolan.
— Elizabeth Sampat (@twoscooters) January 30, 2018
The GDC Advisory Committee voted to present Bushnell the Pioneer award. Among the individuals who sit on the panel embody Halo developer Kiki Wolfkill, EA producer Jade Raymond, and Valve’s Doug Lombardi.
Within the ebook The Final Historical past of Video Video games: From Pong to Pokemon and Past, Bushnell is quoted as saying that Atari, at its begin, “appeared extra like fraternity events than enterprise conferences.” Pong designer Al Alcorn shares within the ebook a narrative a couple of sizzling tub assembly wherein Bushnell reportedly tried to get a girl into the bathtub with him.
“We had a board assembly in his tub,” Alcorn wrote within the ebook. “Nolan was saying how a lot cash we have been going to be value, all these tens of millions, and I believed to myself, ‘I will consider this after I see it.’ Nolan wanted some papers and paperwork so he referred to as his workplace and stated, ‘Have Miss so and so carry them up.’ We have been on this tub [when she arrived], so he proceeded to attempt to get her within the tub through the board assembly.”
An old San Francisco Chronicle report quotes Bushnell as saying, “Some women really feel snug round me, and a few do not. I discover the aura of energy and cash may be very intimidating to an terrible variety of ladies.”
A narrative for Playboy, “Sex, Drugs, And Video Games,” claims that Atari engineers codenamed upcoming video games after girls. One codename was Darlene, who Bushnell stated “was stacked and had the tiniest waist.”
In keeping with GDC organisers, the Pioneer award “honors breakthrough enterprise and recreation design milestones.” GDC organisers additionally immediately introduced that Vlambeer co-founder Rami Ismail will take house the Ambassador Award, whereas Double Advantageous boss Tim Schafer is getting the Lifetime Achievement award.
The Sport Builders Selection Awards happen on March 21 in San Francisco as a part of the Sport Builders Convention. We’ll report again with extra particulars on what GDC plans to do with the Pioneer award as extra data turns into obtainable.