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Creator / Gottlieb

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Amusement Pinballs as American as Baseball and Hot Dogs

Gottlieb was an American company once famous for their arcade Pinball machines. Established by David Gottlieb in 1927 (as "D. Gottlieb & Co."), the company started off producing pinball machines, but later expanded into bowling games, bat-and-balls, and other Arcade Games.

Gottlieb will forever be associated with pinball history for two significant contributions: Baffle Ball (1931), the first successful coin-operated pinball game, and Humpty Dumpty (1947), the first pinball game to use electro-mechanical flippers. Despite this, the company was overall actually fairly conservative; the company was one of the last to abandon "wedgehead" designs, was late to multiplayer games, did not switch to solid state electronics until the late 1970s, and switched to dot matrix displays in 1992, one year after they were introduced.

As with other arcade game makers, Gottlieb attempted to break into the field of Video Games. Their first title was 1980's New York! New York!, a lackluster vertical shooter licensed from Sigma Enterprises. Their second game was Q*bert, a puzzle-jumping game that rode the popularity of Pac-Man to fame and fortune. Unfortunately, Gottlieb could not capitalize on the success of Q*Bert, and their other video games — including Reactor, Q*Bert Qubes, Mad Planets, M.A.C.H. 3, and Krull — were lost in the crowd.

In 1983, the Coca-Cola Company purchased Gottlieb's parent company, Columbia Pictures, and transferred their pinball assets to a new subsidiary, Mylstar Electronics. After the video-game shakedown of the eighties, a management group continued manufacturing pinball machines as Premier Technology, then as Gottlieb once again. In 1987, The Coca-Cola Company spun-off Gottlieb's parent company, Columbia Pictures, as Columbia Pictures Entertainment (after the failure of Ishtar). In 1991, CPE, along with its Gottlieb/Mylstar/Premiere assets, was purchased by Sony, thus renaming it Sony Pictures (the Q*Bert franchise is currently owned by Sony Pictures Consumer Products, which explains why Columbia's credited for Q-Bert's appearance in Wreck-It Ralph).

After the release of Barb Wire in early 1996, Gottlieb finally closed its doors, a victim of the overall decline in arcade gaming.

See also Microsoft Pinball Arcade, which had seven digitally-recreated Gottlieb pinball machines.

Pinball machines produced by Gottlieb (under the Gottlieb, Mylstar, and Premier labels) include:

Video games produced by Gottlieb include:

  • Exterminator
  • Krull
  • New York! New York!
  • M.A.C.H. 3 (laserdisc game)
  • Mad Planets
  • Q*bert
    • Q*bert Qubes
    • Faster, Harder, More Challenging Q*Bert (unreleased)
  • Reactor
  • The Three Stooges In Brides Is Brides

Alternative Title(s): Mylstar, Premier