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Creator / Williams Electronics

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Williams Electronics is an American manufacturing company once famous for their arcade Pinball and Video Game machines. The company was started in 1943 by famed pinball engineer Harry Williams as a manufacturer of novelty machines and pinball tables. Though the company fared well in The '50s and The '60s, Williams rode the transition to solid-state to become the world leader in pinballs for over twenty years.

Williams' earliest games were a fortune-telling game called Select-A-Scope, a shooting game called Periscope, and Sunny, a flipper pinball game. Their games were modest successes through The '60s, though Gottlieb dominated the pinball industry. Their first video game was Paddle-Ball, a forgettable copy of Atari's Pong. They struck gold with their second original game, a space-shooter by Eugene Jarvis called Defender. Williams soon followed that with Joust, Stargate, Sinistar, and Robotron: 2084, building a reputation for no-holds-barred action titles. At the same time, their pinball division transferred over to solid-state electronic pinball machines with great success; through the eighties, Williams released numerous innovative pinball games, such as Firepower, Black Knight, Comet, Pin*Bot, and F-14 Tomcat.

Although arcade gaming declined in the mid-80s, Williams remained viable due to the strength of their releases. As WMS Industries, the company went public in 1987, and acquired competitor Bally/Midway a year later. For the next ten years, the company used the Midway label for video games, while it continued to manufacture pinball machines under the Williams and Bally brands.

In 1991, Williams entered the gambling and video lottery markets, a field which rapidly overshadowed their pinball and video gaming divisions. In 1998, shareholder pressure led Williams to spin off the arcade division as Midway Games. Their pinball business hung on a little longer, until the lackluster sales of Star Wars Episode I prompted the closure of the pinball division so Williams could focus solely on slot machines; the circumstances were later documented in Tilt: The Battle to Save Pinball.

Today, as WMS Gaming, the company deals exclusively in online gambling and manufacturing slot machines and is wholly owned by casino equipment company Light & Wonder (which also owns the descendent of Bally's slot machine making division). Pinball enthusiasts and video gamers, however, will long remember them for their arcade machines. Their pinball games are currently licensed out by L&W. Their video game library, meanwhile, rests in the hands of Warner Bros., the current owner of Midway's video game assets.

Pinball machines released as Williams include:

Williams pinball machines released under the name "Bally" include:

Video games published by Williams Electronics: