OverviewBally is one of the most well-known names in arcade history as manufacturers of coin-operated videogames and pinball machines.
It all began in 1932 under the name of Bally Manufacturing Corporation, founded by Raymond Moloney in Chicago, Illinois. The primary focus was the making of coin-op pinball games, but the company dabbled in other ventures including the manufacture of gambling equipment and vending machines. After the death of its founder in 1958, private investors purchased the company in 1963. It was during this time that the Bally owners became interested in casino gaming, and in 1964 their first electromechanical slot machine, Money Honey, was released.
In 1969 Bally Manufacturing Corp. acquired Midway Manufacturing Co., one of their major competitors in the pinball machine market. The Midway team designed a video game console and simple computer which was released under the Bally name in 1978 - the Bally Professional Arcade (eventually renamed Bally Computer System and then Bally Astrocade). Using a custom video display chip, this 8-bit console had 4k of RAM, a keyboard, and used cassette-sized cartridges known as Videocades. Users could also do minimal programming with the BASIC program included. About 45 games were released for this console.
The Bally/Midway combination was a good fit, and the two companies worked side-by-side for many years on pinball machine manufacture. In 1983 Bally merged its pinball division with Midway forming Bally Midway Manufacturing Co., Inc. That same year an important acquisition took place when Bally Midway purchased the American coin-operated assets of Sega Enterprises.
In 1988, the $8 million purchase of Bally Midway Manufacturing Co. by pinball competitor Williams Electronic Games took the industry by storm. The Bally portion was merged into Williams' existing pinball divisions and Midway was incorporated as a separate entity. A few years later, Williams bought the Bally name for exclusive use on its pinball machines.
As late as 1990 the name Bally Midway Mfg. Co., Inc. was printed on game covers. It appears that, although Midway probably had a hand in the development of those games, they were based on arcade games developed cooperatively by the two companies when they were one entity and licensed by them.
Bally is no longer in the videogame business and is instead the manufacturer of a wide range of casino gambling machines. The most current name is Bally Technologies (as of 2006), owned by parent company Alliance Gaming Corp. Their headquarters is located in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Contributed by Brian Hirt (10017) on Mar 01, 1999. [revised by : Jeanne (75624)].