The British Academy of Film and Television Arts are to recognise the man who started the global video gaming craze, it has been announced.

Nolan Bushnell, the man that created Pong and founded Atari, will be awarded the Fellowship at this year's Video Game Baftas.

Pong was the first video game with widespread popularity; at one point it was accused of causing a coin shortage in the US due to the sheer amount of players playing the game in arcades. Bushnell was named one of Newsweek's '50 Men That Changed America.'

Chairman of the academy David Parfitt said: "The Fellowship is the highest accolade the academy can bestow on an individual for their creative work and we are very excited that Nolan is flying over to accept it at the awards.

"His contribution is nothing short of remarkable; he ushered in an era, the legacy of which is the vibrant, evolving industry we see before us today."

On being invited to receive the Fellowship, Bushnell commented: "I am humbled to be selected for this honour from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The British people are not only great game players but have historically been some of the best game creators.

"The pub culture and country house drawing room environments have been instrumental in spawning games and game players through the centuries."

He added: "I am very grateful to receive an award from the people with a history of creating and embracing this type of entertainment."

The Video Game Baftas will take place March 10th at London's Hilton Hotel on Park Lane.

29/01/2009 14:43:09