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Nolan Bushnell tells the fascinating story behind ShowBiz Pizza Theft of Chuck E. Cheese Concept


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#1 The Professor

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Posted 06 February 2015 - 07:13 PM

We updated the Atari Arcade page this week more detail on the history of Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theater, including this GREAT video of Nolan Bushnell at Google, telling the fascinating story behind ShowBiz Pizza and the Chuck E. Cheese concept. More here: http://www.atari.io/...cade-games/#cec

 

 

 


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#2 Yo-Yo

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 02:49 AM

Wow pretty hard hitting. Nolan just drove an airplane through the hornet's nest that is the Cult of Showbiz. I'm surprised they aren't in here commenting with "Nolan is a liar" crowd. They are legion.


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#3 The Professor

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 11:15 AM

Really? The story is interesting but I didn't realize there was that much fevor over this. Nolan kinda skirts the bankruptcy issue at the end (including putting so much PTT money into Sente that it hurt the company) but the Robert Brock story is factual.


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#4 Yo-Yo

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 01:57 PM

@Professor, yeah.. I'm just sayin there's a really dedicated group of fans who still love Rock-afire Explosion and they'll gang up on you if you're a Chuck E. Cheese fan. Seriously. I've never felt more hate or vitriol come from a fanbase like that in my life until they tore me down. I can see them reacting to this video in negative ways. I'd like to think the gorilla and the rat can just get along!  :party:


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#5 CECWestCoast

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Posted 07 February 2015 - 05:15 PM

This story is really interesting.
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#6 johndoe590

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 03:47 PM

both resturants are ok but i rather go to show biz   - I like the theming alittle better - but didnt know why they went out. always wondered .  Is the video true or does any one have a better story?  Im just wondering


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#7 The Professor

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Posted 04 March 2015 - 04:55 PM

There are other versions of the story and Nolan skips past the part about him hemorrhaging CEC/PTT money into creating Sente, but Robert Brock being the largest CEC/PTT franchisee, going through the whole franchise process and then going AWOL at the last minute is absolutely true. Not just per Nolan's story, but Gene Landrum's as well as the courts.


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#8 AlamoAtari

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 08:41 PM

Wow, had no idea that was the case, I was just a snotty nose kid who loved show biz and was absolutely gutted when chuck e cheese took over the scene when I was living in St. Louis. But kids don't get whet business is all about. I have to say that today's Chuck e cheese is not as cool as it was back then. The ball pit, where you hang out when your out of tokens and try to find tokens that someone else lost in there.
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#9 Arenafoot

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Posted 27 September 2015 - 12:40 AM

Wow, had no idea that was the case, I was just a snotty nose kid who loved show biz and was absolutely gutted when chuck e cheese took over the scene when I was living in St. Louis. But kids don't get whet business is all about. I have to say that today's Chuck e cheese is not as cool as it was back then. The ball pit, where you hang out when your out of tokens and try to find tokens that someone else lost in there.

I agree! In New Orleans, we had a couple of Pizza Time Theatres, but alot more Showbiz Pizza Place's. Of course, everyone favored SPP over PTT, as the PTT locations closed and it left us with only SPP's, but by 1989 the two brands merged together anyway.

 

The SPP in Algiers (West Bank New Orleans) that I went to all the time in the 80's, is still open today as a CEC!


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consoles I own: Atari 2600 Vader & Jr. (short rainbow) w/box, GCE Vectrex, Radio Shack CoCo2 (64k) w/box, Intellivision, NES, SNES, N64 (x3), Xbox (Halo Ed.), PS1 (x3), PS2 slim, Wii, Mattel HyperScan (x2) handhelds I own: Microvision w/box, Electronic Football (by Sears) w/box, Tomytronic Pac-Man w/ box, Entex PacMan2, Coleco Donkey Kong tabletop w/box (w/ Coleco "Perma-Power" Adapter), & all MGA Classic Arcade's and Jakk's Pacific/TV Games Plug-n-Play.


#10 Patrick Boots CEC

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Posted 27 February 2016 - 10:22 AM

I've seen this video and I Think it's really interesting. The Brock story is totally true. In the merger, ShowBiz bought PTT, Inc. PTT Would have died if they didn't. Nolan's company never really survived. The Chuck E. Cheese name you see today is ShowBiz Pizza. The crash of '83 didn't really help either. He also fails to mention that Showbiz didn't actually own the Rock-afire so there was no way to keep them without buying the rights, to which the owner still keeps to this day, but they now owned the Chuck E. characters so they were kinda forced to use them.

 

In many people's eyes Showbiz was the more teenage and better place, and I Do think they did the right thing..Nolan should be happy about them since they kept his company alive. *shrugs*


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#11 Scott Stilphen

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Posted 14 March 2017 - 08:41 AM

I see a few comments about how Nolan was wasting money on creating Sente.  Sente was a company originally called Videa which Nolan simply bought.  See my interviews with former Videa/Sente designers Howard Delman, Lee Actor, and Roger Hector for more info: http://www.ataricomp...interviews.html

 

What Nolan was really hemorrhaging money on was Axlon, and it was something that ultimately cost him everything, including his home.



#12 GervGirl

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 09:32 PM

I lived in Texas as a young child and we had Show Biz and Chuck E Cheese. We always went to Show Biz, it was so much cooler! I still to this day can vividly remember how it looked and the felling I had being there! When I was 9 we moved to NJ which had no Show Biz, only Chuck E Cheese. It was not long after that Show Biz was bought and then crushed. I still have a Show Biz watch I got as a prize, the only thing I have left of those great childhood memories.
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#13 Arenafoot

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:59 PM

 I still have a Show Biz watch I got as a prize, the only thing I have left of those great childhood memories.

Here's what I have left from Showbiz Pizza Place in my collection (along with a bag of SPP tokens).............

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consoles I own: Atari 2600 Vader & Jr. (short rainbow) w/box, GCE Vectrex, Radio Shack CoCo2 (64k) w/box, Intellivision, NES, SNES, N64 (x3), Xbox (Halo Ed.), PS1 (x3), PS2 slim, Wii, Mattel HyperScan (x2) handhelds I own: Microvision w/box, Electronic Football (by Sears) w/box, Tomytronic Pac-Man w/ box, Entex PacMan2, Coleco Donkey Kong tabletop w/box (w/ Coleco "Perma-Power" Adapter), & all MGA Classic Arcade's and Jakk's Pacific/TV Games Plug-n-Play.





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