January 17, 2013 AT 6:11 am

For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade

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For Amusement Only: the life and death of the American arcade @ The Verge.

The arcade has always been aligned with the coin-operated amusements industry, and — since the birth of pinball — with youth. By definition, an “amusement arcade” is a place that houses coin-operated machines, and for the first half of the 20th century, that meant pinball. The first successful coin-operated game was called Baffle Ball, created by David Gottlieb in 1931. Gottlieb and Co. was founded in 1927 in Chicago, where most of the big amusements companies were based: ABT Manufacturing was founded there in 1924, Bally in 1932, Williams in 1943, and Midway in 1958. Bally and others originally made much of their money manufacturing slot machines. The coin-operated amusements industry, which developed jukeboxes, pinball machines, slots, gumball machines, and later video game cabinets, had its roots in gambling, a controversial industry in America.

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