Samuel F. Dabney, an electrical engineer who laid the groundwork for the modern video game industry as a co-founder of Atari and helped create the hit console game Pong, died on May 26 at his home in Clearlake, Calif.
The cause was esophageal cancer, his wife, Carolyn Dabney, said.
Mr. Dabney, known as Ted, brought arcade video games to the world with Atari, a start-up that he and a partner, Nolan Bushnell, founded in Sunnyvale, Calif., in the early 1970s.
At a time when computers — the main arena then for programmers working to build games — could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars apiece, Mr. Dabney spurned them altogether.
Instead he tinkered in a workshop he had set up in his daughter’s bedroom and used plywood and fake mahogany paneling to build Atari’s first consoles.
Mr. Dabney used cheap television components to create an interactive motion system and, in 1971, the world’s first commercial video game, Computer Space. »