Pong Creator Challenges Today's Game Designers To 'Take Risks To Do New Things'

Atari co-founder Al Alcorn has challenged game designers to "take risks to do new things," arguing that ballooning budgets discourage experimentation and have led to stagnation in the industry.
Atari co-founder and Pong programmer Al Alcorn has challenged contemporary game designers to "take risks to do new things" arguing that ballooning budgets discourage experimentation and have led to stagnation in the industry. Speaking to VentureBeat, the grandfather of the games industry said: "I think it was a lot more fun when it was just a little thing and there were no expectations." "If you look at our games – the earlier games – they were all really wildly different," he continued. "We tried all kinds of things. It was a great time to experiment. Now, the money is so big, we're afraid to take risks. We took a lot of risks and we had a lot of fun doing it." Alcorn, who left Atari in 1981 to become a tech consultant in Silicon Valley, advised today's generation of game designers not to shy away from risk. "Boy, I've not been in the video game business for a long time," he said, when asked if he had any advice for contemporary game makers, "but I think just in general you've got to take some risks to do new things. We're seeing some of it slowly with the 3D Kinect thing and the Wii." "If you're trying to compete with what somebody else has already done it's really, really risky to [try and] do better than that," he added. "I think people are better off trying a new kind of game, and maybe they'll get lucky."

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