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Bristow (Steve) papers
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Access to Collection
  • Publication Rights
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Scope and Contents

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Steve Bristow papers
    creator: Bristow, Steve, 1950-2015
    Identifier/Call Number: M1887
    Physical Description: 12.25 Linear Feet (23 boxes)
    Date (inclusive): 1969-1996
    Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36 hours in advance. For more information on paging collections, see the department's website: http://library.stanford.edu/depts/spc/spc.html.

    Access to Collection

    The materials are open for research use. Audio-visual materials are not available in original format, and must be reformatted to a digital use copy.

    Publication Rights

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.
    Restrictions also apply to digital representations of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Acquisition Information

    This collection given by Steve Bristow to Stanford University, Special Collections in April, 2012.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Steve Bristow papers (M1887). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Biographical / Historical

    Steve Bristow (1950-2015) was a video game pioneer known especially for his work on arcade games at Atari. Bristow was born in California and lived there his entire life. In 1971, while studying at University of California-Berkeley and interning at Ampex under the supervision of Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney, Bristow worked on circuitry for Computer Space, the first commercially sold coin-operated video game. After Ampex decided not to pursue the video game market, Bushnell left for Nutting Associates, and Bristow followed in March 1972, creating a two-person version of Computer Space with his wife, among other games. Around this time the Bristows also maintained and collected money from arcade machines in Berkeley as a sideline.
    After graduation, Barstow went straight to Bushnell’s new company, known as Atari. As head of Coin Engineering he helped develop multi-user versions of Pong, Indy 800 (one of the first arcade racing games), as well as the company-saving Tank and Breakout. Among his various roles, he was involved with the Electronic Board Game Division and was Plant Manager of Pinball Production. Bristow was more or less in charge of Atari's arcade division until 1979 when he transitioned to the Consumer and Computer Group, where he helped put Atari’s home computer line into production. Not long after a management decision to bring out a successor to the 2600 rather than license Nintendo’s new game system, Bristow left Atari and worked as an electrical engineer. He passed away in February 2015 at the age of 65.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of business papers such as reports, legal & patent documents, and sales & trade show material; notebooks; service manuals & user guides; schematics; advertisements;, articles and photographs. Most of the papers concern Bristow's career at Atari.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Video games.
    Coin-operated machines
    Video game design
    Video arcades
    Bristow, Steve, 1950-2015
    Atari, Inc.