The amazing story of how Pong and Atari came to be—and of the feud that raged between developers Nolan Bushnell and Ralph Baer for the title of father of the video game. 

Like Dungeons & Dragons, Atari is a foundation for contemporary geekdom. As the seminal home video game company of the 1970s and 1980s, Atari defined not only the industry but the emerging culture of Silicon Valley. Before there was Apple, there was Atari, where Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Apple co-founders, worked before starting their own company. 

EASY TO LEARN, DIFFICULT TO MASTER traces the rise and rule of Atari founder Nolan Bushnell, one of the most influential icons in the digital world. It also follows the prolonged and bitter quarrel between Bushnell and engineer Ralph Baer, who first explored the possibility of playing games on television screens. Bushnell was a self-taught whiz kid from Utah. Baer was a Jewish immigrant whose family fled Germany for America just before World War II. Each man saw himself as the prime mover at the dawn of the video game, and in recounting their respective histories and the battle that raged between the two, this graphic narrative illuminates gaming culture and its origins.

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“This little book offers for the story of Pong what the coin-op did for games: the most dense, lucid, and delightful version of itself.”—Ian Bogost, game designer and author of PLAY ANYTHING
Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master tells the fascinating story of a network of entrepreneurs who created a universe of video games—from Pong to Atari and beyond—that reshaped modern times. This gripping graphic novel unearths a forgotten and bizarre history that produced a multi-billion-dollar industry. A great book for anyone interested in video games, or the history of contemporary times.”—Julian Zelizer, author of BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE

Easy to Learn, Difficult to Master brilliantly depicts the epic story behind video games, between two very different inventors who changed the world with virtual paddles. If this book were an arcade game, I’d lose all my quarters replaying it.”

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