Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Ultimate (So Far) History of Cinematronics/Vectorbeam - Pt. 4


Frank Brunner's art for Warrior

            Cinematronics continued to release games under the Vectorbeam name in 1979. First came Tim Skelly’s Warrior in October, one of the most interesting games designed by the company (or any other). Warrior was one of the first two-player, one-on-one fighting games[1] (at one point it was called Knight Night). In Warrior, two sword-wielding knights squared off on a medieval playing field featuring two large pits. The idea was to kill the opposing knight an avoid falling into the deadly pits. The idea for a sword fighting game had come to Skelly while reading the fantasy novels of Michael Moorcock, in particular Stormbringer.

While the concept of a sword fighting game was somewhat unusual at the time, what really set Warrior apart from the competition was its display mechanism. The monitor was placed behind the machine’s coin door and was not visible to the player. The monitor image was reversed right-to-left and was reflected to the player via a two-way mirror set at a 45-degree angle. Behind the mirror, which was only half-silvered, was background art of a castle interior. The art was illuminated so that it could be seen through the mirror. The player could thus see the images of the knights “superimposed” over the background art. The effect was not new, it had been used by magicians for decades and other video games, including Midway’s Tornado Baseball, had used it prior to Warrior. Perhaps the most well-known application of the technique is in the Haunted Mansion at Disney World. The two pits in the game were created using cellophane overlays and the mirrored-in graphics allowed the designers to create the illusion of knights falling into them (an effect achieved by graphically making the knights get smaller and smaller).  While Skelly had done cabinet art for Sundance, he arranged for someone else to do the cabinet art for Warrior. Skelly had been a comic book fan since youth and figured that a comic book artist would be a perfect choice to do cabinet art for a video game. He called a friend who ran a comic shop in Kansas City, which led him to Frank Brunner, who ended up doing the cabinet art for Warrior. Brunner, a well-known comic book artist whose work included Dr. Strange and Howard the Duck, had left Marvel Comics due to disputes over character control and royalties. For his first video game work he created a beautiful drawing of a sword-wielding warrior. The sound for Warrior also added to the game’s appeal. Speakers were purposefully mounted at groin level and emitted a low hum that grew steadily as the game progressed. Another unusual feature of the game was that it strictly a two-player affair. The reason was technical – there simply wasn’t enough memory to create the AI required for a computer opponent.


Warrior wasn’t the only Cinematronics game to feature innovative new graphics techniques. Not long after Cinematronics had purchased Vectorbeam, a team of technicians, including Skelly, took trip to Union City to evaluate Vectorbeam’s software assets. While there, they got their first glimpse of a game that would become Cinematronics’ next hit -  Tailgunner (November 1979), designed by Larry Rosenthal and Dan Sunday. The game was one of the first 3D first-person games and the perspective was similar to Atari’s 1980 hits Battlezone and Red Baron (especially the latter). The player sat in the gun turret of a spaceship and destroyed a variety of enemy ships that approached in groups of three. The game’s name came courtesy of Tom Stroud Jr. (“Papa”s son), while he was watching a demo version of the game. Feeling the game needed a stronger sense of purpose, he suggested that the motion of the background stars be reversed, making you the first line of defense. Realzing that if a ship got by, your comrades could die made for a much different kind of game. Stroud's suggestion was taken, providing the game with its name and turning it from a kill-the-enemies game with the player on the offensive, to a defend-the-mothership game with the player in a defensive role (a feature that distinguished it from most other shooters). At one point, Rosenthal and Sunday added the background star field from Space War to the game and added Sunday's initials at the bottom of the screen, but the features had to be removed. Rosenthal's board had a watchdog circuit that had to be hit every fraction of a second to prevent the beam from scanning to the very edge of the monitor and it couldn't be hit while the game was drawing a line so anything that wasn't absolutely necessary to gameplay had to go. This included the star field and initials.

Gameplay was simple. As with Starhawk, the player used a joystick to control an onscreen gunsight. The object was to prevent the enemy ships from getting past you - if ten ships succeeded, the mothership was destroyed and the game ended. In addition to the fire button, a second button activated the ship’s shields, causing enemy ships to bounce back and destroying them. Like Sundance, Tailgunner featured a “color” vector display (in this case blue) created with a cellophane overlay. Like Warrior it featured cabinet art by a Marvel comic book artist, this time Rick Bryant. Less known, however, is the alternate side art that had been designed by Frank Brunner and which featured a helmeted barbarian riding on the back of a pterodactyl. Brunner’s cabinet work was featured on a one-of-a-kind prototype that came courtesy of Tom Stroud Jr. (Tommy had aspirations to be a game designer himself and would later write a video game column for Replay). In addition to Brunner’s cabinet art, the game featured a half-silvered mirror, behind which was a “galaxy” composed of a cluster of multicolored Styrofoam balls and gaudy paint. The “art” was lit by a backlight and had been designed by Tom Jr. When the designers got a look at Tom’s creation, they decorated it with toy dinosaurs, pink cloth, and dingle-balls and dubbed it Tijuana Tailgunner. Cinematronics wisely decided to stick with the original cabinet.

While Tailgunner was quite popular, it didn’t perform as well as it could have, largely due to a joystick that was prone to malfunction. Unlike earlier joysticks, which used wires and brushes as contacts, the ones used for Tailgunner used a conductive plastic. While the joysticks held up fine during testing, after extended play the plastic would lose its conductivity (so the game's popularity actually worked against it in a way).
Exidy II's Tail Gunner 2

One company that saw great potential in the game was Exidy, who thought a cockpit version would be a natural follow-up to their 1978 hit Star Fire. In November of 1979, Exidy purchased Vectorbeam and renamed the division Exidy II (though they continued to produce Warrior under the Vectorbeam name). In early 1980, Exidy II released its cockpit version of Tailgunner called Tailgunner 2 (using conventional joysticks).

Rip Off


            While some of the games produced in 1979 had seen a measure of success, none had done as well as Space Wars. All that changed in 1980 when the company produced two games that are among the classics of the era. First, in April, came Rip Off - perhaps Tim Skelly’s finest work at Cinematronics. The game started when Skelly had an idea for a game where two players would cooperate (rather than compete) with one another to protect a group of assets. Inspiration for the cooperative element had come, in part, from an unlikely source. Skelly’s girlfriend at the time was a Kansas City disk jockey. Her station received occasional corporate reports on the state of the country’s youth and one of these reports had mentioned that, while they were frustrated and wanted to lash out, they also wanted to team up with their peers. Hearing the report, Skelly decided to make a game where two people could play at once but couldn’t destroy each other. He soon came up with the idea of two ships that would protect a field of watermelons.

The player controlled their ship via 4 buttons - left and right rotate, thrust, and fire. In the center of the screen were 16 triangular fuel pods (the watermelons had been dropped early on). The object was to protect the pods from capture by a variety of computer enemies who would emerge from the screen’s edge - first in groups of two, and later in larger groups. If the ships were not destroyed, they latched onto a fuel pod and carted it off the screen. When all of the fuel pods were gone, the game was over. A unique feature of the game was there was no limit on the number of ships the player could lose. The player’s ship could be destroyed any number of times as long as fuel cells remained. During play-testing, some players would simply sit on top of a fuel pod, preventing its capture. To prevent this tactic, Skelly added a feature where the pods would periodically vibrate, causing any ship sitting on top of them to change position slightly and throwing off its shots. As the game progressed, tension mounted as the enemies increased in number and moved faster and faster and the background sounds began to rise in pitch. The ever-increasing pace and pulsing sound effects made for an intense gaming experience. While a number of cooperative games would follow in Rip Off’s wake, many still consider it the finest two-player cooperative game ever created. The game was one of the company’s biggest hits, rising to #4 in Replay’s Player’s Choice charts in June and July of 1980. Cabinet art for the game was once again courtesy of Frank Brunner. Centuri released a cocktail version of the game in 1981.      


Pictured above is a Cinematronics CCPU Exorciser, a system that allowed technicans to quickly troubleshoot and repair Cinematornics games without having to connect them to a monitor.
The CCPU (Cinematronics Central Processing Unit) was the hardware used in all of the games in this post, as well as Space Wars and Starhawk.

Star Castle


            Cinematronics' other 1980 release proved even more popular than Rip Off and was another all-time classic - Star Castle (released in September). The idea for the game had come to Skelly even before he started working on Rip Off. During Skelllys 1979 visit to the defunct Vectorbeam, Dan Sunday had shown him a demo of a new game they’d been working on in which a Space Wars type ship was surrounded by rotating rings of blocks. The player controlled the ship and tried to protect himself from giant snowflake-like enemies who attacked his fortress in increasing numbers. According to Sunday, the origin of the game had actually gone back farther than that. It had started when Larry Rosenthal got the idea for a “birth control” game called Oops!

[Dan Sunday]Part of its inspiration was that Larry was obsessed with a very attractive young lady… Oops! came out of this obsession. Larry had dreamed up this game where an egg was in the center of the screen, and sperm were coming on from all directions. One player controlled the sperm, and turning left caused them all to turn left, so the other player didn't really know which one you were steering. The other flew a syringe around which when fired would send out foam that killed sperm

Initial prototypes [demonstrated] that the syringe almost always won. So, we fixed the syringe in the center of the egg, and allowed the player to just rotate it. This was happening when Cinematronics bought Vectorbeam, and then Tom [Stroud] took over. They occupied the front office, and brought along two beautiful secretaries. After a few days, one of them came into our R&D lab (a small room), saw what was happening, and ran out exclaiming to the whole office: "they've got sperm on the TV monitor!" Everyone cracked up

Now, the game potential was clearly there, but marketing an adult game to arcades filled with minors was not a good idea. So, the sperm became space ships, and the egg became a Star Castle. This was how Star Castle was conceived. To balance the game difficulty, we came up with the idea of rotating rings of bricks that had to be blown away. We had this working when I left, but I didn't stay long enough to see Star Castle finished[2].

Despite Skelly’s efforts to get him to stay on at Cinematronics, Sunday quit the company after he and Larry Rosenthal finished their work on Tailgunner. Rosenthal would later create his own prototype of Oops! but it never made it into full production. He sold one game to his wife in Washington, who put it in an arcade so that Rosenthal could file a trademark on the name[2a]. Another game was installed in a Berkeley arcade, where it fared poorly.  (Rosenthal realized something was wrong when he watched a player put several quarters into the game then walk away before using up all his credits). . 

Back at Cinematronics, Dan Sunday may have been gone, but Skelly didn’t forget his idea. The demo game had been interesting but Skelly felt that the task of defending the castle was overwhelming. As he later put it "Death by attrition is not fun[3]." Eventually, he hit upon a solution – Instead of the player being inside the “fortress”, the enemy would be inside and the player would attack from the outside. The resulting game bore little resemblance to the demo that had inspired it (the two were so different that Skelly does not consider Oop! to be the "origin" of Star Castle). While Tim Skelly was the producer for Star Castle (and also named the game and designed the cabinet art[4]), the game was programmed by a young computer whiz named Scott Boden

[Scott Boden] I was basically a self-taught electronics nerd before Cinematronics. My college days were non-technical in architecture and astronomy (I did not graduate). I designed electronic stuff in my garage (literally) from age 15 on. I was hired to work on ECL mainframe computer hardware when I was 17 for National Semiconductor, but had to wait a week for my 18th birthday to start (no minors in the company policy). I was in fact the youngest employee at National Semiconductor that day. That was in 1978. I started at Cinematronics in 1979 at 18.

Boden started at Cinematronics as a service technician before being promoted to engineering, where he started talking to Skelly about programming (he had already done some assembly language programming. Skelly got Boden transferred to the game design department and he became a programmer. His first project was Clown Skeet, a game he worked on with Skelly just for fun that was never intended to be released. Star Castle was Boden’s first real project. In the game, you try to destroy the enemy ship that sits at the center of the screen protected by a series of 3 counter-rotating rings (which were different colors via cellophane overlays). In order to reach the ship, you had to carve a hole through the three rings then time your shot so that it traveled through the resulting gap. There were a couple of catches - for one thing, when all the segments of a particular ring were destroyed, the other rings expanded and a new inner ring was spawned. Second - the ship did not just sit there waiting for you to draw a bead on it - it rotated to face your ship and when a gap appeared, it fired too. In addition, 3 extremely determined and annoying sparks traveled on the outer ring and quickly left to make a bee-line for the player’s ship.

In addition to the ship and walls, the game’s background featured a field of stars. Sharp-eyed players may have noticed that the star-pattern did not appear to be random. Only those with the keenest vision and a little imagination, however, could guess the source of the pattern. Boden had arranged them to form the outline of a nude woman based on a photograph from Oui magazine. The idea had come about when Skelly and Boden were working on the game late one night and were unable to get the desired effect by using a background of random stars. The idea of using real constellations had also been rejected because Larry Rosenthal had already used the concept in Space Wars. Remembering how Skelly had exaggerated the “penile” shape of Star Castle’s ship in order to play on some current theories about why boys played video games, Boden came up with the idea of the centerfold background. Making a quick trip to a local convenience store, he and Skelly purchased every adult magazine they carried then found a suitable picture, traced it, and threw the magazines away. When Cinematronics executives found out about the “feature” (after the game was already out the door) they almost stopped production but eventually cooler heads prevailed and the machines were released with the cheesecake background intact. Eventually, 14,000 units were produced, making it probably the company’s most successful vector game[5]. Since production facilities were limited at the time, Cinematronics only made one title at a time. For the release of Star Castle, they’d stopped production on Rip Off though they probably could have sold more units.  While Cinematronics marketed Star Castle in the United States, jukebox manufacturer Rock-Ola was licensed to manufacture the game for Canadian and foreign markets. In addition, Rock-Ola eventually licensed the company’s vector system for use in producing its own games.

            One interesting fact about Star Castle and Cinematronics’ other vector games is the frequency with which they appeared in movies. The games appeared in Tron, Ghostbusters, Maximum Overdrive and Fast Times At Ridgemont High among others and while the games were excellent, the reason for their inclusion is much more pragmatic. Because of the games’ high refresh rate, they could be filmed without the annoying flicker or rolling common to most raster games. In addition, Tim Skelly speculates that the games low intensity display prevented the image from washing out when filmed.

            Around this time, Cinematronics hired a new production manager who established a policy of giving cash bonuses. Skelly and Boden were quite pleased when they got theirs. Until they checked the books late one night and found that the new manager had only given them 10% of the amount authorized and kept the rest for himself.

Sidebar - Wynn Bailey

Mystery man Wynn Bailey

An article in the March 8, 1981 San Diego Union claims that Wynn Bailey was "key in the creation" of Rip Off, Tailgunner and Star Castle. This is the only known mention of Wynn Bailey, who isn't mentioned in any of the other accounts of Cinematronics. According to the article, Bailey had recently been fired - he says for "talking to a magazine reporter without authorization from company management." (though he also admits he was seeking employment with other companies and speculates that Cinematronics may have feared he was selling company secrets). Cinematronics denied the story, claiming that he just up and quit. Bailey also claimed an "executive level" salary with "free use of a company car."  The article further claims that Bailey developed a love for arcade games as a child when he lived next to an amusement park. After graduating with an engineering degree in the early '70s, he took a job with a Bay Area medical imaging company (NOTE - this was probably Ramtek, who did make medical imaging products). In 1976 he was transferred to the firm's small video game department, where he "specialized in idea and design work." In early 1980, Cinematronics allegedly bought the department ".including Bailey's services and his exclusive VectorBeam system".
            So who is "Wynn Bailey"? It's possible that it's a pseudonym, but for whom? Not Tim Skelly as neither the biographical details, nor the photo, match Skelly's. Larry Rosenthal? Perhaps, though again the photo looks nothing like him. Plus he had nothing to do with Rip Off. Dan Sunday? A better candidate but there are still issues (for one, he isn't known to have had anything to do with Rip Off either). Skelly's account of Cinematronics in Before the Fall offers another intriguing possibility. While discussing the unnamed bonus-withholding manager mentioned above he writes that in an article in Science 81 the manager claimed that "he had been one of the creators of Star Castle" and failed to mention Skelly at all. Could this be Bailey? (Skelly doesn't mention the manager being fired). Perhaps Bailey was a disgruntled former employee stretching the truth. We may never know.

Armor Attack


            In late 1981, Cinematronics released another Tim Skelly cooperative game, Armor Attack. The idea for the game originated when Skelly decided to create an updated version of the 1974 Atari/Kee classic Tank.  Originally, Armor Attack was to be another game utilizing the mirror techniques from Warrior – this time to create the game’s background graphics. The company’s money-conscious management, however, nixed the idea as too expensive. As Skelly started work on the game, he began hearing rumors that Atari was currently testing their own vector-graphics tank game. The trouble was, no one at Cinematronics knew where they were testing it. A concerned executive (using a phony hillbilly accent) soon began calling every arcade in the phone book until he located the correct one and a group of company employees immediately flew up to take a look. When they arrived, they were discovered that, unlike their game, the Atari game (which was called Battlezone) would feature a 3D, first-person perspective. Relieved, they decided to continue development on Armor Attack. As usual, Armor Attack used a color overlay, this one in olive drab green (games at the time used single-color overlays due to an unstated policy instituted by Jim Pierce in order to save money).

In the game, the player (or players) controlled a jeep that traveled among a group of buildings trying to destroy enemy tanks and helicopters. Buildings were strewn about the playfield and the player had to maneuver around them. Tanks required two shots to destroy - the first shot only disabled it but left its gun turret functional. Helicopters were tough foes since, unlike the player, they could ignore the buildings by shooting or firing over them. The buildings in Armor Attack were created with cellophane monitor overlays. The reason for this unusual arrangement was once again (ala Tailgunner) Larry Rosenthal's watchdog circuit:
[Tim Skelly] Larry Rosenthal built a safeguard into the board. There was a watchdog bit that had to be hit every 1/60th of a second of the system reset to the top of the program.  If the program went wacky and didn’t hit the bit, BOOM back to the top and, in theory, the beam would again be under control. This alternative was better than frying the system, but resetting the game was a bad thing.  Whoever was playing lost their game and any credits they may have had. The short version of this (and it gets a little technical) is that if I didn’t finish drawing everything on the screen in that 1/60th of a second, the system reset. That meant no skipping frames, no cheats. I had just so much time to draw lines. So, on Armor Attack, when faced with all the drawing time the buildings would take, I chose to use the overlay instead

 As with the background stars in Star Castle, Armor Attack featured an unusual hidden feature. During the game’s development, the government had re-instituted draft registration. Skelly, a longtime opponent of the draft, was incensed. In addition, he had heard rumors that Atari had sold a version of its Battlezone to the army for use in training. The inventive Skelly soon found a way to voice his pacifist opinions. One of Armor Attack’s features was to be Morse-code sound effects. Skelly actually knew Morse code from his days as a boy scout and decided to include a real message. Attentive players of the games would discover the Morse-code sound effects steadily beeping out the words “don’t register”.

Solar Quest

            1981’s Solar Quest was the last black-and-white vector game that Cinematronics released in any numbers. It was originally slated to be Cinematronics’ first color vector game, but the technology just wasn’t there and it was changed to a black and white game at the last minute. The game came about when Cinematronics reps were headed to the AMOA show with only Boxing Bugs and needed another game, so Scott Boden promised to develop one in just 90 days, going without sleep if necessary. Programmed by Boden, Solar Quest was reminiscent of Atari’s Asteroids. Like Sundance it featured a display capable of generating multiple levels of intensity. The player maneuvered his ship around the screen destroying enemies while avoiding the deadly central sun (no gravity in this game). After an enemy was destroyed, it left behind a colonist that could be shot or rescued for bonus points. In addition to the standard rotate, thrust, fire, and hyperspace controls each game also featured a limited number of “Nova” weapons. Pressing the “Nova” button one time launched the weapon and pushing it a second time caused the weapon to detonate destroying everything in its immediate vicinity.

By the end of 1981, Cinematronics seemed to be sitting on top of the world. In the previous three years they had placed five different games in Replay's top ten (not even counting Space Wars).

They were in the process of moving into an ultramodern, multi-million-dollar, 78,000 sq. ft. facility at 1841 Friendship Drive. The new plant, which replaced two smaller ones, had the capacity to produce 400 games a day with facilities for almost every aspect of game production.

[Bob Skinner] …there was a giant wave solder machine that gave the circuit boards a ride up a ramp and then over molten solder, perfectly drawing the ideal amount of the mercurial adhesive into the holes....The wave solder machine would instantly seal the 100+ components on the XY board. After cooling off, they would go to burn-in, where they would have to last on a rack running diagnostics. The wave solder machine cost at least a million and a half, and it would eventually be retrieved from the building and sold. It was one of the many signs that Cinematronics was built to be a vertical, game-spewing powerhouse.
The new factory even included a cafeteria for the company's 300+ employees. With a new factory and their first color vector game in the works, Cinematronics seemed poised to join Atari and Midway (or at least Williams and Sega) as a major video game manufacturer. All of that was about to change, however, and fast.

Replay magazine, January, 181 (sorry for the black and white)
Pictured are Debbie Stroud, Jim Pierce, Tom Stroud (Sr.)
Tommy Sroud, Dave Stroud

[1] Sega's Heavyweight Champ, released in 1976, was the probably first fighting game but had little influence.
While some see Warrior as the direct ancestor to later games like Data East’s Karate Champ and Capcom’s enormously popular Street Fighter series, the gameplay was quite different from those games.
[2] Email from Dan Sunday to Zonn Moore, October 1998. Posted at

[2a] Rosenthal filed for a trademark on November 3, 1980. According to the trademark application, the first use in commerce for the game was September 30, 1980.
[3] Tim Skelly, The Rise and Fall of Cinematronics
[4] Though Rick Bryant was the actual artist.
[5] Unless the higher sales figures for Space Wars are correct.


  1. Wow, I will never look at Star Castle the same way again. I wonder if anything remains of the original prototype, or of Rosenthal's later prototype. That's crazy they even began developing it, as there's no way arcades would've bought it. But maybe they thought they could get enough bars (and maybe even adult stores?) to buy it.

    It's a strange coincidence hearing this because I just found out that Nintendo made an arcade game in 1974 where you shot the clothes off of a woman.

    "In 1974, Wild Gunman, the first game of its kind, was released. Alongside Wild Gunman, Nintendo designed an adult version of the game titled Fascination; instead of cowboys, the game featured a Swedish woman in an evening dress who would dance around on the projection. Then, when the women struck a pose, players would shoot off key parts of her clothing until she was completely nude. However, the game was never released to the general public."

  2. Thanks. I should probably mention (and I added a note to the story to this effect) that while Skelly admits he saw the Oops! demo he does not consider it the "origin" of Star Castle since the games were so different. He just borrowed the idea of the rotating rings to create a completely new game.

  3. A couple of other comments.
    If you think Fascination was odd, check out these links:

    They are about someone named Peter Claudisu who, circa 1976-1978, created "...several coin-operated sex machines using holographic imagery."

    As for the Oops demo, I wish I had more devinitive info. As I mentioned earlier, several years back I actually dropped the book entirely with no plans to pick it back up, so I tossed out my original interview tapes. I had already transcribed what I wanted and taken notes on the rest (most of my interviews were done via e-mail and I still have those). THe Rosenthal tape is the one tape I wish I would have kept.

    Unfotunately, I lost the Rosenthal notes. I had already added the transriptions and information from the notes to the book, but it would be nice if I could go back and double-check exactly what he said.

    So I can't swear that he even remembered Oops but I don't know where else I would have gotten the information about the demo version other than from him. I do remember that I asked about one game and he said "Yeah, I'm looking at a prototype for it right now." but I don't know if it was Oops (my memory is that it was not).

  4. Wynn Bailey is not a myth, nor a pseudonym.

    He was real and had a significant role in Cinematronics when Vectorbeam was acquired. And yes, he was from Ramtek.. I remember hearing a number of Ramtek stories from Wynn during his tenure with Cinematronics.

    Wynn was actually Production Manager at Vectorbeam at the time it was acquired by Cinematronics. There some interesting drama surrounding Tim Skelly and Wynn Bailey at the time Cinematronics was acquiring Vectorbeam and it's assets (including the patents). Which is probably why the history about Wynn is clouded.

    When Vectorbeam was acquired by Cinematronics and shutdown (Jim and Tom really only wanted control of the patents), Wynn talked Jim Price into a job as General Manager at Cinematronics in El Cajon. As I recall, he held that position until he was fired by Jim and Tom about a year, maybe a year and a half later.

    Tim Skelly by the way.. was fired by Wynn (against the wishes of Jim and Tom) and this is actually how Tim ended up over at Gremlin. I'm not sure exactly how Wynn, Jim, and Tom resolved the dispute over Tim's termination, I only know that Tim did not get his job back. Wynn was of the opinion that while Tim was a creative game designer, he was a complete hack at programming (an assessment I agree with by the way). Scott Boden and Rob Patton were excellent software coders, but Tim was the primary creative force behind the early vector games. However, both Wynn and Jim fancied themselves as great "game idea" people and with Scott and Rob to code... they felt Tim was more trouble then benefit.

    So Wynn was a real person and he did play prominently in Cinematronics History at the time Vectorbeam was acquired and for about a year afterwards.

    - Ex Cinematronics Engineering Staffer

    1. Wow. Thanks for the info. Good to know the real story. So, did he have any role in the design of Star Castle, Rip Off, or Tailgunner?
      There's actually an earlier post I did that was specifically on Wynn Bailey and it includes the full newspaper article.

      I tried to track him down, but was never able to.
      I also tried to recontact Tim Skelly, but never heard back (it's been almost 15 years since I talked to him the first time).

      On, and if you're interested in talking about your experiences at Cinematronics, send me an e-mail.