Tradewest was founded in 1986 by John Rowe
(former Executive Vice President, SNK Corp, Japan's U.S. subsidiary), Leland Cook
(banker and rancher) and his son Byron Cook
. Tradewest started out by manufacturing SNK's Ikari Warriors
arcade game in the United States. This would be one of the few arcade games to be released by Tradewest (along with Victory Road, Alpha Mission
and Redline Racer
) as the company would shift away from the coin-op business to concentrate on video games for home consoles.
In 1987, Tradewest purchased Cinematronics Inc.
of El Cajon, California and renamed it The Leland Corporation
. John Rowe was chosen to run the El Cajon office as he already had a successful history in video games as executive vice-president of SNK's Japans, U.S.(American) division.
Tradewest was acquired by WMS Industries
(the owners of the Williams and Midway brands) in 1994, and renamed Williams Entertainment, Inc.
, thus signalling the end of Tradewest as a company. Williams Entertainment became WMS's official division and entrance to the video game console market.
In 1996, WMS was losing interest in video games and, as such, Williams Entertainment was transferred to Midway who renamed the division Midway Home Entertainment, Inc.
Like was the case with WMS, the division served as Midway's foothold to the home console market, which could now develop and publish video games in-house without having to rely on other publishers. Both the Corsicana, Texas and a new R&D facility in San Diego remained opened within Midway and continued to employ Byron Cook
(who became president of Midway Home Entertainment) and John Rowe
(who became Vice-Chairman and Director of Product Development) developing and publishing games for Nintendo, Microsoft X Box, Sony Playstation and the PC. Both Byron Cook and John Rowe left Midway in 2001.
Some of the many award winning games developed and published by Tradewest and Midway Games includes, Ikari Warriors, John Elway's Quarterback, Magic Johnson's Fastbreak, Super Off-Road, Battletoads, Double Dragon, Mortal Kombat, NFL Blitz, NBA Showtime, Doom 64, Cruisin USA, Ready to Rumble and Hydro Thunder.
In 2009 the company came in the picture again when Spiess Media Holding, the company of Midway's former international executive vice president, announced to have acquired the brand. Since the main Midway
company had run into trouble and filed for bankruptcy in February 2009, Spiess Media Holding bought out the French and UK office Midway Games SAS
and Midway Games Ltd.
(completed on 20th August 2009) and rebranded them the day after using the Tradewest name, as Tradewest Games SAS and Tradewest Games Ltd. respectively.
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