Nolan Bushnell Mandates Success at Atari

On August 3, 1973, Nolan Bushnell issued a memo to the engineering department of Atari with an eight-point action plan. These points included a specific quantity of Gotcha arcade machines, sufficient staff to be available when “emergency projects” arose, and plans for a color version of Pong.

Nolan also specified that their lack of production space was no excuse for why these points couldn’t be met.

Noting that the company was cash-poor at the time, Vice President of Engineering Al Alcorn replied to the memo with the following:

“In accordance with your memo dated August 3, 1973, will statements regarding our financial capability be applicable to the above design schedule?

Al E. Alcorn
Vice-President, Engineering”

Nolan responded with with a handwritten note, which was added to the bottom of Al’s reply.


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