Sunday, February 10, 2013

Updates/Odds and Ends

I have found more information on two posts I made earlier.
Both posts have been updated with the new info, but I'll give a summary here.

Simutron Tournament Center

First is this post on the Simutron Tournament Center:

I found two articles in Play Meter about the project. It even made the cover of the April 1, 1983 issue.

You can read the details in the previous post, but among the new things I discovered:
  • The company that came up with the initial idea and funded the project was Simutron, Inc. (incorporated in Escondido on November 24, 1981)
  • Perceptronics was originally to deliver the final product on June 30, 1982 - well before Astron Belt or Dragon's Lair (recall that the first Simutron game used laser disc technology).
  • Other Torunament Centers were slated to be opened and players from different locations would be able to play one another live.
  • A library of games was planned and would be delivered over phone lines.
  • The project was cancelled around October of 1983.
  • A demo scheduled for May 1, 1982 had been delayed. A year later negotiations to salvage the project broke down.
  • Simutron claims the delays were because Perceptronics didn't have the technology they claimed to have. Perceptronics says it was due to changes in scope.
  • Perceptronics launched a suit against Simutron for $150,000 (they had been paid $315,000).
  • Simutron countersued for $48 million charging breach of contract and fraud (and claiming that Perceptronics had violated a non-compete agreement by working on NFL Football)
Here's another version of the above photo showing mutliple players playing at once:

Atari Tournament Fiasco

The Febuary 1, 1982 issue of Play Meter had another very long article on this torunament that revealed a number of additional details. Again, the full details are in the post, but here are new facts I added.
  • Tournament Soccer Inc actually sold the other games in the tournament (besides Centipede): Tournament Soccer, Tournament Mark Darts, Tournament Eight Ball, and Tournament Table Hockey. The last three were manufactured by Arachnid, U.S. Billiards, and Sutra.
  • Lee Peppard claimst that each of these companies agreed to pay him $20,000 and didn't. At least two of them claim they never promised anything.
  • Peppard claims that Atari wrote him a $40,000 purchase order to pay for the decorator. Atari says he refused the order and they told him to rip it up.
  • Peppard claims that the original contract called for Atari to pay hi $240,000 but this was reduced to $100,000 when he was forced to renegotiate.
  • Atari paid him the $100,000 but Peppard appartenly thought that their final $20,000 payment was actually "confidence money" and that the final payment would come in the form of 184 blank checks for prize money.
  • Peppard claim that Atari failed to help him market the tournament kits. He was projected to sell 5,000 at $5 but only sold 600.
  • An unapproved (by Atari) ad gave them impression that they were cosponsoring the entire event (rather than just the video game portion). Here is the ad:

Finally, here are a few other interesting photos I came across in Play Meter:

First is one from the August 15, 1981 issue. It doesn't name the programmer but surely that's Dona Bailey working on Centipede (look at the screen shot). I don't know if I've seen a photo of her before.

Speaking of the Simutron Tournament Center, here's a similar idea from the Starcade arcade in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. I don't know when the photo was taken (the arcade was there when Tomorrowland opened in 1977). One interesting fact in the article from which this was taken is that the first video game at Disneyland was Atari's  Indy 800.

A photo of Exidy's Vertigo. I've seen this one before but don't remember where.

Lastly. Here are some more photos of games that either are not in TAFA/Arcade History or that are listed but don't have cabinet photos

From SamyRa


From New Technology Computer Inventions
It appears that this was not a game but rather a cabinet with 30 existing games

PGD's Progressive Music Trivia


  1. Yep.. that's Dona Bailey with Lyle Rains. You may this video interesting; there are quotes from Don Osbourne, Owen Rubin, and Dona, as well as a shot of one of the Atari coinop labs:

  2. By the way, there's another photo of Dona Bailey, seen and explained here.

  3. Disneyland opened in 1955, and Tomorrowland was one of their opening-year lands. 1977 is when they added the California version of the Space Mountain roller coaster.

    I had never ran across anything about this Tomorrowland arcade racing game, but I know Disney modified games in the past. They had mechanical fortune tellers rethemed for the parks, as well as coin-operated marionette dancing ones (Pinoochio, and a County Bears one). Some of these are still in Disneyland. I have even read a reference to a flying mechanical game (probably something like Stunt Pilot) with a Disney theme on it.

    But, as a kid visiting in the 1970s, I remember seeing a black and white video game that involved a ghost flying over tombstones or something. If you run across this somewhere, let me know. I have yet to find any Disney resource that references it.

    Also, Disney apparently re-skinned all their arcade games since, I am told, they didn't want non-Disney cartoons/artwork in the park. Thus, all the old arcade machines had wood grain siding or solid colors rather than the original artwork. As recently as 1994, Disney was still retheming things. When the Indiana Jones Adventure opened in 1994, they installed an Indy pinball game nearby. It was decorated to look as if it was made out of a wooden crate and bamboo. It was still in the park the last time I visited (though that's been five years).

    Since Disney has also experimented with modern video games (Disney VR, displayed as a show/demo at Epcot in 1994-5 before moving to Disneyland around 96 then ultimately ending up at DisneyQuest in Florida a few years later), it seems their history of custom video games was not a one-off.