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Chuck E. Cheese 2.0 220

Posted by Zonk
from the pong-wasn't-enough? dept.
theodp writes "Newsweek reports the inventor of Pong and founder of Chuck E. Cheese is getting back into the restaurant game. Adults welcome. At age 62, perpetual kid Nolan Bushnell wants to get gamers out of the house. This week, he will announce a new venture, the uWink Media Bistro restaurantchain. With screens at every table and bar stool, each piping videogames, media content and interactive menus, Bushnell's convinced a young-adult crowd will use the shared-gaming experience as a chance to compete, relax and mingle."
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Chuck E. Cheese 2.0

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  • by maharg (182366) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:27AM (#12674997) Homepage Journal
    .. now with a coating of melted cheese
  • behind (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:27AM (#12675001)
    I am living in Japan now and there's a family restaurant down the street that has terminals at every table where you can play games or read news and such. There's plenty of others like it too...
    • Re:behind (Score:5, Interesting)

      by slashdot.org (321932) on Monday May 30, 2005 @04:53AM (#12675276) Homepage Journal
      I am living in Japan now and there's a family restaurant down the street that has terminals at every table where you can play games or read news and such. There's plenty of others like it too...

      That sounds pretty cool, but all I'd like is a restaurant where the tables have a button for "My drink is empty, I'd like another one, thank you".

      It surprises the hell out of me that in places like here ("Silicon Valley") that is not more prevalent. After the dot-com crash service is pretty good, but it still happens from time to time that you spend 10 minutes or more trying to get the attention of the waiter. This is not where you want to spend your time; most of the times it appears rather rude because you have to ignore the other people at the table.

      All they'd have to get is something similar to a flight-attendent call button, but even that appears to be too high-tech.
      • "That sounds pretty cool, but all I'd like is a restaurant where the tables have a button for "My drink is empty, I'd like another one, thank you"."

        Sounds like a bowling alley to me. They have had those for as long as I can remember, at least 30 years or so.
      • Re:behind (Score:4, Funny)

        by Dysan2k (126022) on Monday May 30, 2005 @09:55AM (#12676415) Homepage
        Hell, it's no better on the other side of the country. You might get served, you might not. I've gotten to where I have the restaurant's number in my cell, so if I need a refill and it takes too long, I call the place.

        Only takes me doing that once or twice before I can go a year without bad service.
      • Considering the resteraunts I've been to lately, I want a button that sends a jolt of 40,000 volts through the cook's genitals.
      • by hey! (33014)
        I've seen a few of these sort of schemes over the years. Mostly, they've been pretty misguided. The bottom line is that it's hard work, but not rocket science running a good restaurant. It usually takes a new restaurant a few weeks to work out the kinks in their service, after which things will run fine or they'll never work out.

        Good waitstaff anticipate a customer's needs. They have the water before you go dry; if they bring your kids a placemat and a cup full of crayons, they'll check to see that it i
  • No thanks. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Seumas (6865) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:30AM (#12675004)
    So I can go to a place to pay to play videogames at a table in a restaurant where everyone else is sitting in their own group or by themselves *also* staring at the table? Dude, I'll stay home and login somewhere and play a game, thanks.

    People are highly overrated. Especially random strangers in a place that serves food.

    Besides, most of what Chuck E. Cheese offered was something other than videogames. Actual physical things you could interact with.
    • It was? We always went to play video games and eat pizza.
    • RTFA: all designed to create "a more convivial environment for meeting strangers, without all the social risks associated with a bar,"

      This is not geared towards people who want to play games, this is geared to those people who want to meet people, but don't like the bar scene. This is not aimed at the cheeto-stained keyboard users of /., it's for Joe Sixpack. The games they are playing include things like: "They run open-source Linux software and serve up games such as the Tetris-like Bloxx and Zilliona
      • So it'll be a bunch of pasty people playing MAME boxes?
    • There's a bar/arthouse cinema complex near where I live (Watershed in Bristol, UK if anyone's interested), which a few years ago hacked apart a couple of iMacs and placed them effectively under a bar table, so that the screen was effectively mounted at a slight angle under the glass table top.

      Last time I went (assuming they havn't fallen to bits by now) they were pretty popular, with people who don't have laptops and the like generally using them to check emails, etc. etc.

      Of course, this is a totally diff
    • People are highly overrated. Especially random strangers in a place that serves food.


      Get laid a lot, do ya?

      I know I'm going to get creamed for saying this on slashdot, but you're on CRACK! Get out of your house/dorm room, exercise those in-person social skills (oh-so-much more complex than verbal or text-based social skills), and meet some girls. For gods' sake, meet some girls--it'll change your whole perspective on how much fun it is to go meet random people.

      Okay, slam away.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Besides, most of what Chuck E. Cheese offered was something other than videogames. Actual physical things you could interact with.

      You sick pedophile. Get some help, man.
    • "Besides, most of what Chuck E. Cheese offered was something other than videogames. Actual physical things you could interact with."

      Exactly, and thats why there was that point when you were too old to go in, but snuck in anyways. Gamers LIKE fucking around in those tubes and ball cages and slides and everything else. We just need them to be adult size and without any kids to get in our way from our violent fun.

      • Agreed - there's a place like that near by (Playzone in Portsmouth, UK I think) which does exactly that.

        It's mainly focused towards kids, but they'll happily let you hire the place with a bunch of friends for reasonable rates.

        What's even more fun is that they also have laser gun packs, so you can chase each other around the place... if you ask nicely they'll even kill the lights to make things more interesting :P
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:31AM (#12675011) Journal
    CEC has always seemed like a gimmick. The food is bad, the service is worse, and the crap they called "fun & games" was so old and covered with years of detritus that getting into the ball room was like inviting a bacterial infection.

    I guess making sure everyone only plays games in their own booths will help keep the germs at bay and localized into each customers' booth. However, I still question the longevity of a chain that refuses to cater to people who have tastebuds and wear shirts.
  • Actually.. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Bastilla's Lover (888082) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:32AM (#12675013) Homepage Journal
    ..Oh, you have to admit.. it'd be fun to show off your Morrowind character to the chicks in the coffee shop.
  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:33AM (#12675014) Homepage
    Is he going to dig up all of those old game cartridges from the Arizona desert to start the business?
  • Sticky games (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aussie_a (778472) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:33AM (#12675015) Journal
    Food+games=sticky consoles.

    Thanks but no thanks. I have enough trouble making my family wash their hands after eating before hopping on the conole/computer. I don't want to have to contend with something a hundred strangers used while eating.
  • Tokens? Tickets? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by chillmost (648301) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:33AM (#12675019) Homepage
    Will I get to use all my leftover Chuck E. Cheese tokens? What about my tickets from Skeeball? Can I trade those in for prizes still? This packrat mentality may have paid off after all.
  • by Blind_Io_42 (821280) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:35AM (#12675023)
    Another technological barrier to face-to-face communication. Now we can give you yet another reason not to talk to your date.

    Toss it on the pile with the email, PDAs, text messengers, 2-way pagers, cell phones, and other gadgetry.

    Probably not the most popular opinion to have on /., but I find the quality of communication, especially in-person communication, sadly lacking these days.

    • by ctr2sprt (574731) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:47AM (#12675070)
      Now we can give you yet another reason not to talk to your date.
      Let's be honest here. If you're taking your date to a place like this, you're not getting any no matter what you do. So you may as well play some HL2 while awaiting the inevitable.
    • For about 20 years, Nolan has run a *good* restaurant, the Lion & Compass [lionandcompass.com] in Sunnyvale California. He built it back during the computer boom of the early-mid 80s (remember when Silicon Valley was about computers?) because there wasn't a lot of good food. It's a nice building, and serves mostly California yuppie food, doing a nice job in the fusion of Asian, Nouvelle, fresh ingredients, seafood kind of track. I don't go there very often, since Silicon Valley has since filled up with a really wide vari
  • by Allnighterking (74212) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:36AM (#12675026) Homepage
    The more I think about it the more I realize that the US is the wrong market .... Korea Japan Taiwan and China would however eat this idea up. .....
    • I love it, moderated funny *sigh* ..... I'm not being funny. Video Bang's (a with an ah sound) are all over the place. This is how the young 18-25 year old asians "socialize" and get to know each other without the risk of embaressment of undu pressure. Then once people meet or agree to meet they leave to go to a coffee shop or a resteraunt. .... hmmmm
  • The Band (Score:4, Funny)

    by Adrilla (830520) * on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:36AM (#12675028) Homepage
    Will they bring back the Chuck E. Cheese band? It just hasn't been the same is Jasper T. Jowls left over "creative differences".
  • Good luck Nolan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vevva (693964) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:43AM (#12675055)
    We were doing an exhibition recently (ATEI in London) for our retro-gaming table http://www.digitaltables.co.uk/ [digitaltables.co.uk] when in the middle of the show Nolan Bushnell made a point of visiting us on our stand.


    He spent 10 minutes chatting to us about Pong, the first arcade games and the early days of Atari. He was a thoroughly nice guy and we felt honoured that he'd stopped by.


    Good luck to him.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:49AM (#12675078) Homepage
    It's a place where people can come together, separated by age, background and station but bound in common by attention deficit disorder?
  • Oh my... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Duncan3 (10537) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:51AM (#12675090) Homepage
    Gamers and food in one place... Can you image the smell?

    Women will flee the county, houses downwind will lose value, skunks will congregate...

  • by nealrs (75987) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:52AM (#12675092) Homepage
    its called Dave and Busters?

    seriously: good food. good beer. tons of games? a place where you can walk around with a red stripe in hand. and play like LA machineguns and all the other assorted Chuck E Cheese games like the mole thing etc?

    how is this any different from DaB? Diff age group maybe... DaB is over 21 after like 9pm - and its kind of expensive. But still, this is the best implementation of a "gaming restaurant" even if its more arcade than chuck e cheese type of games.

    Plus, the place is kinda classy, like id take buisiness clients there and girls on dates. (provided of course.. i had clients to entertain or girls to take on dates, or vice versa)

    i just dont see how this could oneup dave and busters. which stole my heart the first time i went. -nrs
  • As an non-USian, What the *bleep* is Chuck E. Cheese ??
  • by Lahiru (839803) on Monday May 30, 2005 @03:54AM (#12675099)

    I remember reading an interview with Ralph Baer in an issue of Electronic Gaming Monthly several years ago. In it Baer asserted that he had created the game and patented it before Bushnell, and that Bushnell copied his concept.

    The Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] covers pretty much everything said in that interview:

    "In 1966, Ralph Baer, then working for Sanders Associates, made a design for running simple computer games over a television set. His ideas were patented, and he created a game resembling Pong proper, except with slightly more complex controls. In 1970, Baer demonstrated his video game system to corporate heads at Magnavox, who became convinced that such a device would help sell more Magnavox television sets. Magnavox and Sanders Associates joined forces, with Baer and his patents at the epicenter, to develop a stand-alone unit called the Odyssey 1TL200 to be sold to consumers for use in the home."

    "... Two weeks later, Magnavox learned of Pong, and notified Atari that they already had a patent on the concept. The two companies went to court. Magnavox was able to produce witnesses who had seen Nolan playing the Odyssey's ping-pong game, and they had a guestbook from the event which Nolan had signed. The judge found in favor of Magnavox, and Atari had to pay $700,000 for use of the patents."

    As I recall, Baer [wikipedia.org] also invented a boatload of other things, but didn't make much off of them because the patents were owned by the company he worked for at the time. (Memory is fuzzy on the details)

    • Just read The Ultimate History of Video Games. In it Nolan Bushnell credits Ralph Baer with creating the first home video game system, the Magnavox Odyssey. it wasn't "Pong" but it was a ping-pong game. In the book they explain the difference between the games (the ability to put "english" on the ball, the speeding up of the action, etc).

      Magnavox had patented the concept of playing electronic games on a TV, and the concept of an electronic ping-pong game. Apparently, according to those involved, the $700K
  • by kahei (466208) on Monday May 30, 2005 @04:01AM (#12675122) Homepage

    OMG someone has finally invented the PC Bang.

    At last, PC Bangs exist. Previously they were confined to the world of fantasy.

    (why yes... I _do_ have nothing better to do than be sarcastic today...)
    • For everyone's info, a PC bang is just an internet café. They're called PC bangs in South Korea. They almost always have a focus on games.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember seeing these guys at vending trade shows when I was in the jukebox biz. They were hawking touchscreen games back in 2000 or so (running Linux, praise be), but never seemed to get indeustry traction. Their website was finally reduced to a one-pager promising something New! and Improved! Real Soon Now for, oh, two years?

    Hmm, I think they're on to something ....

    Step 1: Write new biz plan.
    Step 2: Raise lots of investor cash.
    Step 3: Spend it.
    Step 4: Lay low until new VC comes along.
    Step 5: goto step
  • by dnab (711492) on Monday May 30, 2005 @04:16AM (#12675161)
    No it's not stolen, just one of "if I have the VC money I'd do something about it" thing. But I'm not coming from the gaming/surfing/friendstering angle, even though every table would have an interactive LCD touch screen that can conceively do those things on the side. My evil master plan is to tie the interactive menu and the kitchen with the server that can, in real time, change the prices of the food. Why? Because a kitchen makes more money when several like orders are cooked simultaneously (certain conditions apply, of course). Also being an order tracking system a party can more or less be served at the same time. And other dreams of improving service quality w/ IT which I won't elaborate here.

    Even got a name thought up. The Beta Platters

    Having eaten in enough restaurants since this idea came about (1997) I then realized that nothing is more important than taste & location in determining a restaurant's success, and staff experience in its profitability. Maybe this might work with Denny's...
  • Wasn't this already done in the early eighties with a fast-food chain where kids could eat pizzas and play videogames?
    • Yeah it was called Chuck E Cheese. There was also another called Showtime (I think) that I remember going to when my family visited Orlando when I was 7 or 8 so that would be 24 or 25 years ago (oh my god!)
      • I fondly remember a place known as Circus Circus. Same basic formula: Pizza, arcade games, bumper cars, and cheesy music. Might of been a local Minnesota thing though. They went out of business, now a Chucky Cheese resides in their old building.
  • As much as I respect Mr. Bushnell for having been in the zone back in the 70's he's nowhere near the mark right now and much like he's been "one off" in the past he's wrong this time too. It doesn't take much to see that the niche is very busy already. Even if he opens up a resturaunt with a 30' tall rotating mechanical "Tux" the penguin smiling and waving at people passing by on the freeway it's not going to interest people the way it would have even 20 years ago.

    It would be much better to see Mr. Bushnel
    • Now if he was working on a virtual glory-hole, complete with crash-test dilos and glip (glory-hole over IP) protocols in conjuction with RealDoll?


      You need a girlfriend.
      • I have my eye on this absoultely wonderful young woman at work who would make an aweseome girlfriend. She would be an incredible balm for my mid-life crisis; all I need to do is somehow reconcile such an indulgence against my 23 year relationship with my wife and two children.

        You know, I think married guys suffer more from lack of sex than single guys.
        I say this being married much longer than I was ever a virgin and having first-hand (wink-wink) experience at sexual frustration in monogomy. If you do some
    • Your post is simultaneously disgusting and prophetic.

      I predict that 50 percent of the people who read it will mod you up, and the rest will be overwhelmed by the urge to take a shower.

  • I saw a talk by Nolan Bushnell at a games event about 6 years ago. He was talking about exactly this idea. I think that back then, he wanted to setup an infrastructure and license the system to existing restaurants. At the time, it seemed far too ambitious because internet access at anything above dialup was so expensive (to business users as well as home users), and I remember thinking that it was too far-fetched. He's certainly got perseverance; I would have given up on it years ago. So its good to see th
  • What is it? I've heard of Chucky Egg [google.co.uk], but not Chuck E Cheese.
  • Gaming centers have been around for years. Check out www.igames.org for a list of all the centers in the US. As a matter of fact I have owned one for a year. I don't have food with mine but there are many centers that have been around for 5 years or more that are a combination of a cafe and game center.
  • Nolan Bushnell was a hack, but this seriously looks like a really damn good idea.

    Now only to hope that the games on it won't suck.
  • Chuck E. Cheese?

    You mean SHOWBIZ PIZZA.
  • SNAP!is a revolutionary pay-to-play,touch screen, countertop entertainment system that turns any surface into an exciting money maker.

    Yeah, right. What we have here is a 51-pound coin-op terminal with a 56Kb network connection and a few cell-phone level games.

    With an optional interface to a stuffed-animal crane machine.

  • What I remember about Showbiz and Chuck E. Cheeses was the video games. I remember playing Mach3 quite a bit there. Now they are all simple distractions to give out tickets.

    Simple way for someone to make money (well...nothing is simple with licensing involved) would be to open up a place that had good food (ie. decent Pizza - somethinc C.E.C is missing) and put in some retro arcade games. The 30-40 market would gobble it up (both the food and the pac-man pellets). Just don't make it more than a qua
  • my latest journal entry [slashdot.org]

    hell, he can have it. so long as SOMEone resurrects (face2face) social gaming.
  • I prefer Showbiz Pizza Place, you insensitive clod.

    Wait.... This is the poll, right?
  • Screw that, why doesn't he make a bona fide arcade for adults. These days it's damn near impossible to find an arcade that isn't dedicated to kids games that involve collecting tickets to redeem for various bits of crap. The most adult orientated video arcades I've found are at movie theatres, but they're horrendously expensive. Plus, have some other games other than fighting games, and light gun games. I like Tekken and Time Crisis as well as anyone else, but I miss games like Alien vs. Predator or X-M
  • Chuck E Cheese used to have a location in Concord, CA. It had probably 200 video games in the place, and a 3 story "cheese hole" that kids could climb through. It was great.. they had all the latest games and they kept the old school games around.

    Teenagers ruined it. Loser kids with no money and no intention of playing the games would just gather there and 'hang out' and disturb gamers/etc. It got to where there were enough of them that business declined a bit, and then the "family friendly" movement (blah
  • by miro33 (888205)
    I love the flexibility of this thing. The fact that the system is running linux and centralizes all the operations of the restaurant says they'll be able to change up the content as easily as a new download. Dave and Buster's, Chuck E. Cheese, etc all have big expensive games that get old and go out of date. The platform Bushnell is rolling out looks like it will have the flexibility to experiment with new games and tools at a very low cost. psyched to see it!
  • There's aleady an adult arcade, it's called Dave and Buster's. Tons of games, and each one has a switch that turns on a light that summons a Beer Wench (er PC- Alcohol Attendant?) to you. Games and readily available alcohol- a good combination. If Nolan can improve on it, so much the better!
  • What is funnier than the basic article is the wide range of baseless pessimism.

    Let's see, adults playing video games, everyone has their own monitor, with liquor and food served right on top of them, must have beautiful women who also want to play the games, maybe a band playing in the background, too.

    Not in the U.S.? It'll never work? The public won't buy into it?

    It's called Las Vegas.
  • There were two restaurant chains in my area. One catered to families, Rivertowne, and the other to Adults, Gadgets. Rivertowne served beer with the pizza for the adults, and the arcade and game tables were mostly non-juvenile and non-redemption. Gadgets served full bar, didn't allow anyone under 21 to stay without a parent in the main club, had a separate arcade (open late for those over 18), and absolutely no redemption games. Adults don't like redemption games much. The downfall of both, I believe, w

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