Sunday, January 13, 2013

"Williams' Arcade's Greatest Hits", 1996.

In retrospect, this ad is tragic, without knowing why at the time.

Sorry... we're

Open All Night. No Quarters Needed.

Williams began as one of the big pinball companies in the '40s, consolidating its electromechanical domination when bought by a jukebox (!) company in the '60s then eventually, briefly, introducing a handful of classic early arcade games (see the box art for details) before ditching the sinking ships in favour of an industry with some serious profit potential for their gaming specialists -- video gambling terminals! So while it is dead to us, it did what it had to in order to evolve and surprise in a mercurial market. Still, it's a perhaps ironic fate for a company which saw its pinball business declared illegal in the US for decades due to its association with gambling.

Of course, the shift in gaming from arcades to homes was a big upheaval, but at the time of this ad the arcade industry wasn't as effectively defunct as it is now, 15 years later. How could they have known... the Funtime arcade wouldn't be re-opening, ever?