Jobs shuffled in barefoot, wearing a saffron robe and carrying a copy of
Be Here Now, which he handed to Alcorn and insisted he read.
“Can I have my job back?” he asked.
“He looked like a Hare Krishna guy, but it was great to see him,
” Alcorn recalled. “So I said, sure!”
Once again, for the sake of harmony, Jobs worked mostly at night.
Wozniak, who was living in an apartment nearby and working at
HP, would come by after dinner to hang out and play the video games.
He had become addicted to Pong at a Sunnyvale bowling alley,
and he was able to build a version that he hooked up to his home TV set.
One day in the late summer of 1975, Nolan Bushnell, defying the
prevailing wisdom that paddle games were over, decided to develop
a single-player version of Pong; instead of competing against an
opponent, the player would volley the ball into a wall that lost a brick
whenever it was hit. He called Jobs into his office, sketched it out
on his little blackboard, and asked him to design it. There would be
a bonus, Bushnell told him, for every chip fewer than fifty that he used.
Bushnell knew that Jobs was not a great engineer, but he assumed, correctly,
that he would recruit Wozniak, who was always hanging around.
“I looked at it as a two-for-one thing,” Bushnell recalled. “Woz was a better engineer.”
Wozniak was thrilled when Jobs asked him to help and proposed splitting the fee.
“This was the most wonderful offer in my life, to actually design a game
that people would use,” he recalled. Jobs said it had to be done in four days
and with the fewest chips possible. What he hid from Wozniak was that the
deadline was one that Jobs had imposed, because he needed to get to the
All One Farm to help prepare for the apple harvest. He also didn’t
mention that there
was a bonus tied to
the number of chips.