Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell, the man who started it all with "Pong" in 1972, smiles next to his star in San Francisco on Tuesday.
updated 3/8/2005 10:12:04 PM ET 2005-03-09T03:12:04

Hollywood has its Walk of Fame. Now the video game industry is honoring its icons with Walk of Game.

Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell — the man who produced the minimalist but memorable game "Pong" — and "Donkey Kong" creator Shigeru Miyamoto were among those honored Tuesday with a star on the inaugural Walk of Game section on the floor of a downtown shopping and entertainment center.

Video games have come a long way since Bushnell incorporated Atari Inc. in June 1972, and introduced "Pong" to arcades everywhere later that year. The game premise was simple: two video paddles batted a ball (a tiny white square, actually) back and forth across a dark screen until one player missed.

Thus began the video game rage that has blossomed from a pocket-full-of-quarters pastime into a multibillion dollar global industry.

"Thank you very much for this honor. It's always fun to be walked on wherever you can be," Bushnell quipped.

Bushnell has hardly given up his passion for playing games, which began in earnest when he was working in an amusement park decades ago. He recently networked 16 televisions throughout his house to play a serious session of the futuristic shoot 'em up Xbox game "Halo" with his sons and their friends.

San Fran mayor and Sonic the Hedgehog
Paul Sakuma  /  AP
Among the luminaries at the "Walk of Game" inauguration: San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newson, right, and game character Sonic the Hedgehog.

Atari's luster faded as competition in the gaming industry heated up in the 1980s and '90s. It was among a handful of properties acquired by Infogrames Entertainment SA in 2001.

In 1981, Nintendo developed and began distributing the coin-operated video game "Donkey Kong." Miyamoto was the creator of the game, where the main character Mario sought to save a damsel from Donkey Kong, a giant cartoonish ape.

Donkey Kong soon became the hottest selling arcade game in the business.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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