Midway Games

From Sega Retro


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Midway Games
Founded: 1958 (as Midway Manufacturing)
Defunct: 2010-06-09
Merged with: Williams Entertainment (1996)
Merged into: Bally (1969)
10750 West Grand Avenue, Franklin Park, Illinois 60131, United States
3401 N. California Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 60618, United States[1]
10070 Mesa Rim Road, San Diego, California 92121, United States[2]

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Midway Games, Inc. was a video game developer and publisher.


Midway was founded in 1958 as Midway Manufacturing Co. as an independent manufacturer of amusement equipment. In 1969 it was acquired by Bally Manufacturing, which was a dominant force in the slot machine market, however the two continued to run as separate entities in the Bally family.

During the late 1960s to early 1970s, Midway produced electro-mechanical arcade machines. Their earliest interaction with Sega was in 1970, when Sega licensed their 1969 arcade hit Missile to Midway, who in 1970 released their own American version called S.A.M.I.[3] By 1973, the company was beginning to take an interest in the burgeoning video games market. Midway got its big break when it acquired the license to distribute Japanese arcade games from the likes of Namco and Taito in North America, including Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Midway would also produce its own video games, most notably the unauthroized modification to Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man.

In 1982, Midway became Bally Midway Manufacturing Co., Inc. (a subsidiary of Bally Manufacturing) after it was merged with Bally's pinball division. After the summer of 1983[4] Bally Midway purchased Sega Electronics (formerly Gremlin Industries) for an undisclosed price[5]. Bally Midway became the exclusive North American distributor of Sega arcade games for a short period because of this, before Sega re-entered the market in 1985 to distribute their games themselves.

Bally Manufacturing sold its Bally Midway division to WMS Industries in 1988[6], choosing instead to focus on their other ventures, such as casino games and fitness clubs. WMS changed the division's name back to "Midway Manufacturing Co.", however confusion would arise, as it would continue to use the Bally name for some pinball machines. The Midway brand would always be used for video games.

Midway would create Mortal Kombat, a video game that would become one of the main subjects of American congressional hearings on video games.

In 1996, WMS purchased Time Warner Interactive (which owned Atari Games). Time Warner Interactive was merged into Williams Entertainment which then became Midway Home Entertainment. Midway Games split from WMS Industries in 1998; Midway gained Williams' arcade game properties while Williams gained Midway's pinball properties.

Their output started to decline in the 2000s — and their bottom line plummeted, leading to their bankruptcy in 2009. Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment currently owns most of their IP assets.


Electro-mechanical arcade

LaserDisc hardware

System 1


Master System

Mega Drive

Game Gear





Atari 2600

Amstrad CPC

  • Tapper (1984) (as Bally Midway)

Apple II

Atari 8-bit family

BBC Micro

Commodore 64


ZX Spectrum