This is the contract Syzygy had with Bally when they incorporated as Atari.
Note that this is actually between Nolan and Bally, not Syzygy and Bally.
Note also that it is only for two games (not three as some have reported). The pinball game was a three-level game with the levels based on heaven, earth, and hell (at least according to Nolan, who said it was called Transition - though another document refers to it as Fireball. This was the same as Bally's popular Fireball pin, which came out earlier).
Contrary to popular belief, after Bally turned down Pong, it did not cancel the contract. Nor did Bally license Pong to them in fulfillment of the contract (they did license Pong, but not to fulfill the contract).
The contract was actually fulfilled by Space Race, which Midway released as Asteroid. They also claimed that Atari was in breach of contract for having released Space Race on its own. IIRC the solution was that Atari agreed to forego the 3% royalty on Asteroid to make up for it.
Next time, I'll post the Pong licensing agreement, but for now, I thought I'd start posting some of the depositions I mentioned.
The first is from January 13 and 14, 1976. This is only about an eighth of it. If I decide to continue, it will take me a while to get through it. And if my OCR doesn't get a good portion of the text, I may end up dropping the whole thing (unless I get a lot of positive feedback).
I will add some notes at various points (marked "[NOTE - blah blah blah]").
For those who don't know, in April of 1974, Magnavox (manufacturer of the Odyssey) filed the first of its many lawsuits to protect the Sanders Associates/Ralph Baer patents on the Brown Box/Odyssey.
They started by bringing suit against Seeburg and Chicago coin, but eventually extended the suit to include Atari, Sears, Bally, and many more companies.
On to the deposition:
This part concerns Nolan's work history in college. Some will probably find it boring, but I found it kind of interesting. Part two will probably be of more interest.
Mr. Williams: Would you state your full name, please, Mr. Bushnell.
Q. What are your present duties as chairman of the board?
[Note - Nolan's advertising company was called the Campus Company. Three times a year, he made blotters for four different universities with a calendar of events in the center and advertising around the outside. He gave the blotters away and sold the advertising, supposedly making about $3,000 for each one (they cost about $500 to produce). Or so says Nolan.]
Q. Did you hold any other jobs while you were in college?
[NOTE - Litton Guidance and Control Systems was a division of Litton Industries. It made guidance systems for military aircraft. They had a huge facility in Salt Lake City (I think they still do). They are now known as Northrop Grumman Navigation Systems Division.
On a side note, the military actually had a strong presence in the area of Clearfield, Utah (Nolan’s hometown) at the time Nolan was born. Hill Air Field (later Hill Air Force Base) opened in 1940 and became an important supply depot during World War II. As did the Clearfield Naval Supply Depot, which opened in 1943. It might seem odd to have a military supply depot in the middle of Utah but they picked it for its dry climate, large local population, and security from enemy attack.]
|The Clearfield business district in 1941 (Two years before Nolan's birth|
A. I think it was ‘61 or--I think it was the summer of ‘62.
Q. Design of what?
[NOTE - Lagoon Amusement Park is located in Farmington and looks like it was a pretty cool place. It as built by future Utah governor Simon Bamberger in 1886 to draw customers to a railroad he was building between Salt Lake City and Ogden. It's still in existence. They almost tore it down after World War II, but didn't (if they had, video game history might be different). The Beach Boys even mentioned in in their song Salt Lake City.
|Yes, that's Janis Joplin riding the Flying Jets at Lagoon Amusement Park. You think maybe Nolan...Nah!|
|Holey Moley, that's Jimi Hendrix playing Lagoon Amusement Park in 1969. Maybe I should take back my earlier comment.|
Photos from http://brianrecord.com/2.html
Q. But there was not a period during that five-year when you weren't employed by Lagoon either on a fulltime or a part-time basis?
A. It was kind of a thing where I always knew the people and any time I wanted to work I could. It was hard to say, you know, when I was not employed and when I was with the relationship we had.
Q. Where you paid on an hourly basis or a salary basis?
[NOTE - Flukey Ball was the one where you tried to land a ball in a basket with a sloping board over it. I don't know if it was gaffed or not.
A. Lagoon Corporation. Amusement Services ran the food operations and the games. Lagoon Corporation owned all the heavy capital equipment, rides, everything with the exception of the roller coaster. I think the roller coaster as a separate corporation also and, again, I think it was from the liability standpoint.
Q. Did Lagoon Corporation have any arcades with coin-operated pinball machines and things such as that?
A. Yes, they did.
Q. Were the arcade located in the—
A. Well, that was Amusement Services again that had the arcades, not Lagoon Corporation, if we’re going to divide those.
Q. Were the arcades located in the park?
A. Yes, they were.
[NOTE I believe "Bingoring" is actually "Bingorino", a "rolldown" game made by Scientific Machine Company as a followup to their popular "Pokerino" (in which you made poker hands). I think the Broadway Arcade in New York had a row of these machines.
I didn't find a picture of Bingorino, but here's Pokerino]
Q. How long did you remain a manager of the Amusement Services Corporation?
[Note Barlow Furniture was actually owned by the husband of Nolan's second cousin. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/saltlaketribune/obituary.aspx?pid=147132265]
Q. But were you using your own equipment, your own television repair equipment?
[NOTE that Ted Dabney disputes this claim (Nolan fixing TVs when he was ten), as detailed here.
Q. Barlow was RCA?
Q. You mean they were an RCA dealer?
Q. So you did it until approximately the time you left Amusement Services?
Q. Would you describe what you mean by baseball machines?
Q. Any particular field of engineering?