George Mason University
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George Mason University

Virginia Serious Game Institute welcomes Nolan Bushnell as new Game Pioneer in Residence

September 30, 2016

Nolan Bushnell

Contact: Ginny Person
Prince William County, Virginia
Department of Economic Development
Main: 703.792.5500 | Office: 703.792.5518

For Immediate Release

Sept. 30, 2016 –  Prince William County, Va. – If your childhood included fun-filled visits to Chuck E. Cheese’s or countless hours playing on Atari, then you can thank Nolan Bushnell.  That’s correct, the founder of Chuck E. Cheese’s Pizza-Time Theater Chain is also the creator of Atari, Inc. – the video gaming company that is widely credited as the forerunner to video arcades and the modern video game industry.

So how does one man successfully pioneer two seemingly unrelated, yet equally iconic inventions? 

In his new capacity as Game Pioneer in Residence at Prince William County’s Virginia Serious Game Institute, Mr. Bushnell will provide this insight at the first in a year-long series of lectures, “The Future of Video Game Technology.”

Prince William County and George Mason University invite you to learn more and attend the first lecture for free, which is held by Prince William County-based Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI).

“We are thrilled and honored to welcome Mr. Nolan Bushnell as our very first Game Pioneer in Residence,” said Dr. Scott M. Martin, Founding Director, VSGI.  “As one of the founding fathers of the modern video game industry, his year-long exclusive commitment to us is truly an endorsement of the high caliber and quality of the Virginia Serious Game Institute and of the Northern Virginia serious game industry as a whole.”

“Through Mason’s academic programs and Prince William County-based start-up technology business incubator, we have established a robust talent pipeline of simulation, modeling and serious game design professionals as well as startup companies,” said Jeff Kaczmarek, Executive Director, Prince William County Department of Economic Development. “We’re delighted to welcome Mr. Bushnell to Prince William County and know that his insight and expertise will provide invaluable coaching and mentorship to further strengthen that pipeline.”

“I am delighted to be part of the VSGI and I look forward to the months ahead as we share our thoughts and ideas,” said Nolan Bushnell. “These are indeed exciting times in which simulation and game design are revolutionizing an increasingly broad spectrum of disciplines, applications and even daily life. Through its game design programs, Mason and the VSGI are at the forefront of this transformational movement.  I am eager to share my years of experience and knowledge and lend my support wherever possible."

A trained engineer who has started over 20 companies, Nolan Bushnell can aptly be described as a consummate entrepreneur, technology leader and visionary. According to the World Video Game Hall of Fame, Pong launched the video game industry and Atari into a preeminent role in the video game industry. Bushnell has been inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame and the Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame; received the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Fellowship; and Nation’s Restaurant News “Innovator of the Year” award; and was named one of Newsweek’s “50 Men Who Changed America.” 

As part of his exclusive agreement with the VSGI, Mr. Bushnell will hold a public lecture each semester and work closely with students and companies in small groups; provide startup workshops on building game-related businesses; as well as other keynote events. To learn more about these opportunities, the VSGI and entrepreneurial opportunities contact Scott M. Martin at 703-627-4719 or

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  • The Virginia Serious Game Institute (VSGI) is the business development, community outreach, and applied research and development arm of the Computer Game Design Program at Mason.  It is an affiliate of one of six in the world (Coventry UK, MDA Singapore, Northwestern South Africa, Mexico, and Australia) at Mason.
  • VSGI offers Commonwealth schools, businesses and universities hands-on training, certification, research and development assistance, emerging game company incubation, rapid prototype development, as well as links into leading edge commercialization outputs and technologies that will provide market advantage in the areas of simulation, modeling, and game design for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 
  • The VSGI was founded in March 2014 on the Mason Science and Technology Campus in Prince William County.  In October 2013, the Prince William Board of County Supervisors granted $32,000 from the County Economic Development Opportunity Fund to the George Mason University (Mason) Foundation Inc., to help secure the establishment of VSGI.  Emerging companies that are chosen to reside in the VSGI will receive business assistance services through the Prince William County Department of Economic Development as well as from Mason.
  • VSGI has the potential to house up to 10 startups and has gained industry-wide recognition from private IT sector partners like Microsoft Studios, Google Glass, Boeing, the Entertainment Software Association and the Northern Virginia Technology Council, to name a few.
  • Part of the Commonwealth’s growing computer modeling and simulation portfolio, the VSGI supports the demand for skills and careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and the growing momentum in entrepreneurial computer game design in the Mid-Atlantic region, by hosting summer camps and workshops for younger students.
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