Without Ted Dabney, Atari might have never become the company that played a pivotal role in the gaming industry in the 70’s.
Dabney was born on May 15, 1937, in San Francisco, California – he took electronics courses at the US Marine Corps. He became an engineer, working for Hewlett-Packard, then from 1961, Ampex, where he was working on military products.
At Ampex, he met Nolan Bushnell. Together, they founded Syzygy in 1971. Their first product was Computer War, a space combat arcade cabinet based on 1962’s Spacewar!. They sold over a thousand cabinets, which made the Bushnell-Dabney duo incorporate Syzygy as Atari… and a year later, in 1972, they struck gold with Pong. It’s safe to say that Ted Dabney was important in Atari‘s success to become a pioneer in the gaming industry. „Ted was my partner, co-founder, fellow dreamer and friend. I’ll always cherish the time we spent together. Rest In Peace,” Bushnell said in a statement.
Dabney gave a helping hand for other projects in Bushnell’s activities: Pizza Time Theater (the predecessor of Chuck E. Cheese), Catalyst Technologies, Syzygy Game Company, Teledyne – after leaving the gaming industry (as well as Atari) in 1973, he ran a grocery store and then a deli. In late 2017, he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, with only a few months to live. After deciding not to seek treatment, he passed away on May 26, at the age of 81.
Rest in peace.