GDC pulls Nolan Bushnell's Game Developers Choice Award after past sexual misconduct comes to the fore

GDC pulls Nolan Bushnell's Game Developers Choice Award after past sexual misconduct comes to the fore

Update: Nolan Bushnell has released a statement via Twitter about the move by GDC to rescind the award. 

He applauded GDC organisers for "ensuring that their institution reflects what is right, specifically with regards to how people should be treated in the workplace".

You can read the full statement in the embedded tweet below.

Original story: After controversy surrounded the decision to award Atari founder and the so-called father of the games industry Nolan Bushnell, GDC has pulled the prize.

In a statement on Twitter (below), the event organisers said that they feel the people they pick for such awards should be reflective of the times in which they are awarded.

"The Game Developers Choice Awards Advisory Committee, who vote on the Special Award winners for each show, have made the decision not to give out a Pioneer Award for this year’s event, following additional feedback from the community," the organisation said.

"They believe their picks should reflect the values of today’s game industry and will dedicate this year’s award to honour the pioneering and unheard of voices of the past."

Bushnell was one of three games industry members to receive special recognition at this year's Game Developers Choice Awards. The Atari vet was up for the Pioneer gong, while Tim Schafer of Double Fine fame is to be awarded the Lifetime Achievement prize and Vlambeer's Rami Ismail will be receiving the Ambassador Award.

The controversy kicked off after Bushnell's past remarks about women came to light. These had in fact been detailed extensively in books and interviews over almost forty years, which is pretty astonishing.

PCGamesInsider Contributing Editor

Alex Calvin is a freelance journalist who writes about the business of games. He started out at UK trade paper MCV in 2013 and left as deputy editor over three years later. In June 2017, he joined Steel Media as the editor for new site In October 2019 he left this full-time position at the company but still contributes to the site on a daily basis. He has also written for, VGC, Games London, The Observer/Guardian and Esquire UK.