(Topic ID: 183719)

What happened to Game Plan?


By ForceFlow

3 years ago



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  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by KenLayton
  • Topic is favorited by 11 Pinsiders

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#1 3 years ago

Most of us know probably the general story of the closure of Williams, Bally, and even Gottlieb to some degree.

However, I have not been able to find what happened to Game Plan other than that they "closed their doors" in 1985. Why did they close their doors? What happened to their assets and IP? We basically know what happened to the WMS/Bally, Gottlieb, and Stern/DE assets, but what happened to GamePlan's?

http://www.gameplanpinball.com/history.shtml

Game Plan was a subsidiary of AES Technology Systems, Inc in IL.

I did stumble upon a court filing from 1981 involving a complaint concerning SEC violations, based on misleading press releases for slot machine game sales.

http://law.justia.com/cases/federal/district-courts/FSupp/524/254/1430470/

Some AES/Game Plan patent activity in 1981 with slot machines:
https://www.google.com/patents/US4138114

Some AES patents having to do with folding/opening envelopes and removing staples from documents:

https://www.google.com/search?tbo=p&tbm=pts&hl=en&q=inassignee:%22AES+TECHNOLOGY+SYSTEMS,+INC%22

But that's it. Does anyone have any insight into what happened with Game Plan?

#2 3 years ago

Great topic, what made you want research it?
As a Gameplan fan myself , I'm eager to see what data may come in!

#3 3 years ago

Did NSM absorb them?

#4 3 years ago
Quoted from Atari_Daze:

Great topic, what made you want research it?

Parts availability, or lack thereof.

If we knew who held the rights and materials, there are several folks now who can produce backglasses and plastics. Then there was also an experiment with hard-top overlays for space shuttle--that could be an option for playfields that are commonly blown out. And of course, mechanical parts such as flipper assemblies and drop targets are unobtainable; maybe those could be reproduced if someone had the drawings and tooling for them.

[edit]: link to the overlay thread: https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/space-shuttle-new-prototype-playfield-product

-1
#5 3 years ago

That's easy!!! It is called High Speed. Game Plan could not compete
-- with Wiliams Electronics at the time. Williams was knocking off
-- all the competition. High Speed would hurt me in a way. Why you
-- say, well, do to advanced programming algorithm the game can
-- still function with busted broken switches as long as there was no
-- blown fuses. Thus operators got back into the pinball business;
-- where they otherwise would stay in the video game business.

#6 3 years ago
Quoted from vec-tor:

That's easy!!! It is called High Speed. Game Plan could not compete
-- with Wiliams Electronics at the time. Williams was knocking off
-- all the competition. High Speed would hurt me in a way. Why you
-- say, well, do to advanced programming algorithm the game can
-- still function with busted broken switches as long as there was no
-- blown fuses. Thus operators got back into the pinball business;
-- where they otherwise would stay in the video game business.

Did you write that, or copy it from somewhere? Game Plan closed in 1985, with Loch Ness Monster being built in November 1985. High Speed came out in January 1986--after Game Plan closed up, and before High Speed was ever on location.

http://www.ipdb.org/machine.cgi?id=1176

However, Williams did have Sorcerer in March 1985 and Comet in June 1985, the latter of which was very successful.

http://ipdb.org/search.pl?yr=1985&sortby=mfg&searchtype=advanced

So, I can understand Game Plan being an underdog, but they weren't that large of a manufacturer.

http://ipdb.org/search.pl?searchtype=advanced&mfgid=126

Unless they tried to rapidly expand after their success with sharpshooter, causing them to over extend themselves?

Was it a business decision to close the doors, or a forced closure?

What happened when the doors closed? Did they just padlock the doors and walk away? Throw everything out? Sell everything? Let stuff go up for tax auction?

#7 3 years ago

I dug this up on the game plan pinball site:

http://www.gameplanpinball.com/forum/index.php/topic,38.0.html

Someone sent this in to me. Don't know if it's true or not, but it seems credible. Very interesting.

=================

"Since you actually wrote to me, I should tell you that in the final hours of Game Plan, the CEO had left the country to avoid tax evasion charges and there were a huge amount of unfinished pins and slot machines in their factory. My friend tells me that some of the line managers decided to get together and commandeer one of the 40 ft tractor-trailers and backed it up to the loading dock after they paid of the security guards to look the other way... They then proceeded to grab anything they could and load the trailer. That included finished and unfinished pins, slots, test equipment, manufacturing equipment, and of course, the prototype machines... There was a few Mike Bossys, roughly five Global Warfares, and the Loch Ness Monster. Many people think that the LNM ended up in Ed Cebula's house, but he had no idea where it went.... The truck left just as a new shift of security guards was coming on duty... They drove the truck to a suburban home with a huge old bard behind it. The barn was to become the "new unofficial manufacturing facility" of Game Plan. These managers figured as the company was out of business and no one had a "golden parachute" or severance coming, they would get their money out of the machines. They proceeded to start operations on this limited scale.

That winter, there were some major snowstorms and snow piled up high on the barn roof (you're already starting to cringe!)... The barn collapsed under the weight of the snow, destroying the entire contents of the barn, including those few rare machines. Especially the Loch Ness Monster. It no longer exists, even though IPDB says that it does. The thing about this story is that the contents of that truck belonged to the Illinois Bankruptcy Court for disposition and taking it was a serious crime. No one involved will ever admit it. My friend, like I had said, was a game tester and was asked to assist them in the loading, unloading, and setting up the tech assembly area in the barn.

Was it worth typing all of this?

It's not one of those "friend of a friend of a friend" passed on stories...
This friend of mine was in the barn on multiple occasions and even has photos of him, the other guys, and all of the stuff... I have another friend (John Trudeau) that went off to design for Gottlieb while the final days were happening... He wasn't part of the barn guys, but he verifies some of the other details leading to this whole thing... It definitely was for love of the game.. If you ever need assist on your GP machines (or maybe even spare NOS parts), give a shout and I'll check with my friend here..."

=================

#8 3 years ago

Very interesting. Would the CEO still be alive? If so, I doubt he is hiding anymore and might be easy to track down.

#9 3 years ago

Does anyone know who the CEO was at the time?

#10 3 years ago

But doesn't someone out in California own the LNM?

#11 3 years ago

Looks like this came from a Cash Box article in June, 21 1980:

The man in charge at that time appears to be Lee Goldboss, not Leo, as stated in the John Trudeau interview.

42

Cash Box/June 21, 1980

IVMCHIN

‘Lizard

‘Tora, Tora’

LAS VEGAS — More than 125 people
representing prominent distributors and
operators within the coin machine industry
attended Game Plan’s lavish product show-
ing June 6-8 at The Dunes Hotel in Las
Vegas. The two-year-old Chicago-based
manufacturer debuted its “Tora Tora"
video and “Lizard” pinball game, and
representatives from the slot machine
community were given a chance to view the
company’s new microprocessor slot,
“Money Machine.”

Game Plan hosted the weekend that
featured a welcoming cocktail party (June
6), an all-day showing and buffet (June 7)

and a farewell brunch (June 8). Game
Plan/AES executives Lee Goldboss, Wen-
dell McAdams and Ken Anderson were
also on hand to answer questions about the
new amusement games.

“There have been several rumors in the
industry that Game Plan was going out of
the pinball manufacturing business," said
Anderson, Game Plan's marketing
manager, “But there’s never any reason to
denounce a rumor verbally. You have to
show people. And that’s what we've done
by holding this showing.”

Anderson went on to say that he was very

(continued on page 44)

Game Plan Hosts Distributor Meet In Vegas

(continued from page 43)

pleased with the attendance, as the com-
pany sent out 60 invitations ten days prior to
the event, and more than 75% of the
manufacturer’s distributors were represen-
ted at the Las Vegas showing. “We didn't
want to hold the showing on such short
notice,” said Anderson, “but we felt it was
mandatory. With the flipper market bad the
way it is, the first thing people think when
you slow down on pins is that you are going
out of business. We're a publicly owned
company, so we certainly have the
resources, but we also like this business
and plan to stay.”

Game Plan's latest entry into the pinball
market is “Lizard,” which is currently being
sample shipped to distributors throughout
the country. The game features an in-
novative sound theme that includes a drum
beat and simulations of a breathing lizard,
rocks falling into water and pterodactyl
screams. The game, which features the
backglass motif of a gigantic lizard attack-
ing a voluptuous cave woman, is also
heightened by an action-packed playfield
that consists of a spinner target, a kick out
hole on top, a 50,000 point bonus target on
the left hand side, four drop targets halfway
up the game, and three drop targets on top.

"We've also put extra power into the sling
shot and flippers on ‘Lizard,’ ” explained
Anderson, “and the sound system and well-
laid-out playfield make it high scoring and
exciting.”

Game Plan also bowed its new “Tora
Tora” video at the event. The black and
white color overiayed game has an air-sea
battle theme.

In “Tora Tora,” the player must fire the
guns from his fleet of ships at' the

squadrons of airplanes that are descending
and dropping bombs. The squadrons come
down in series of two, three and four air-
planes at a time. Once a squadron has been
shot down, a new squadron assembles.
There are four different sequences featur-
ing four fleets and four squadrons in all.
However, if the squadron hits all of the
ships, the game is over. Each successive
sequence becomes increasingly more dif-
ficult. In addition, the game also features a
random kamikaze plane that dive bombs
on the fleets.

“We feel that 'Tora Tora' represents a

new image for video in that it doesn't have a
space theme.” said Anderson. He also ex-
plained that the game is in black & white
with color overlays, and that although it
wasn't ready for the Vegas showing, it
would eventually be put out in color.

Anderson also mentioned the
enthusiastic turn out for the showing
proved the young manufacturer is
respected by its distributors, and that they
had a lot of confidence in the new product.
“When you get this many distributors in one
place with ten days notice, you can't help
but be encouraged," Anderson added.

#12 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

But doesn't someone out in California own the LNM?

It has changed hands a few times over the years, but did surface on ebay in 2010 where it fetched a substantial sum, if I remember right.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/buy-a-prototype-loch-ness-monster-gameplan

#13 3 years ago

Some more possible clues:

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/why-am-i-obsessed-with-gameplan#post-1073249

Quoted from viperrwk:

As the story is told, Game Plan was started by Wendell McAdams (of Chicago Coin), Lee Goldboss and Mike Abrams. The company did eight cocktail pins before doing it's first conventional game - Sharpshooter. Roger Sharpe was brought in as an outside consultant and he drew up the design of Sharpshooter at the request of Goldboss. Sharpe says the layout was a modification of Gottlieb's Sky Jump with the bottom bumpers inspired from Williams' Satin Doll. McAdams said it would be too expensive to build but Goldboss green-lighted the project anyway.

Quoted from SpOoKyRiDeS:

I think I remember the crew loaded a tractor trailer with what they could before the law got there to shut it all down. Its a shame though as the "Loc Ness" pin would have been a winner!~SpOoKy

Quoted from viperrwk:

I read this as well and that the parts were loaded into a barn outside Chicago where the roof collapsed after a snowfall and the contents were lost.
viperrwk

And a video with Lee Goldboss at Amusement Expo 2013:

#14 3 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

It has changed hands a few times over the years, but did surface on ebay in 2010 where it fetched a substantial sum, if I remember right.

That story doesn't really add up then...

#15 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

That story doesn't really add up then...

Maybe not all of the details, no. However--I did read a rumor about a second game, but there's no way to confirm that.

#16 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

But doesn't someone out in California own the LNM?

Yes, it was definitely in California as of 2014/2015? in a private collection as I played it at the time amongst a number of other rare one off/low production titles such as an original Capcom Kingpin, Data East King Kong, Krull, a Wizard Blocks and Python Anghelo's prototype Zingy Bingy amongst others.

I'll see if I can find the pics I took of it at the time.

#17 3 years ago
Quoted from zacaj:

But doesn't someone out in California own the LNM?

Yes! I did some work on it back in 1995. The game went from white
rubber rings to black rubber rings: yuck!
Note: there a thing called operator game show were the
companies show their latest games for sale/presale.
Game Plan was at the show with Andromeda: nobody cared.
High Speed, on the other hand, everybody loved.

#18 3 years ago

Looks like I may have stumbled upon the tax issue that was referenced. The case starts 1/4 the way down on page 5 in the PDF:

[edit]: re-uploaded since the last few pages got cut off.

volume50.pdf

#19 3 years ago

So now that you know the owners, you would need to look in federal bankruptcy court filings for a disposition. If you have an account set up with PACER, you can research the federal court cases, but it would depend on how far back the online cases go in Illinois. I know the courts have been trying to get all of the old cases into the electronic system, but sadly the emphasis is different in each district, so it is a crap shoot as to whether it will be there. I can try and look tomorrow if you so desire.

#20 3 years ago

Unfortunately, I do not have a PACER account.

#21 3 years ago

SEC news digests from 1984 and 1986 that list Lee Goldboss and Martin Abrams purchased shares (page 5) of AES Technology Systems, and Lee Goldboss buying additional shares in 1986 (page 4).

It looks like in 1984, Goldboss held 16.2% of the shares, and in 1986, he held 29.6% of the shares of AES.

dig120784.pdf
dig052786.pdf

#22 3 years ago

According to this 1981 article in Inc Magazine, it also looks like AES manufactured copier equipment as well as slot machines, and Lee Goldboss was the president of AES.

http://www.inc.com/magazine/19810701/9082.html

AES Technology

Elk Grove Village, IL

Mfr. copying equip

135 employees

Martin T. Abrams, CHMN/VP/TREAS

Lee A. Goldboss, PRES

#23 3 years ago

They had very weak solenoid power, & flipper power. That is why they failed in my opinion.

#24 3 years ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

They had very weak solenoid power, & flipper power.

Ah, but did you play Andromeda? Game Plan had a neat trick
--- up there sleeves they tripled the wires to the flipper coils
--- and flipper switches that ended up punching the juice up
--- on the flipper assemblies while keeping the voltage at 25/28
--- volts. I added extra wires once to a Williams Flash and
--- SHAZAM! power flippers. The flippers ended up snapping
--- the spinner assembly off the playfield. Oh, those where
--- good times.
Note of interest: back in 1986 I was offered a chance
--- to buy the last stock of Lady Sharpshooters. They had
--- twenty or so left that they wanted to get rid of. I just did not
--- have the money nor space to pick up the lot. I did, however,
--- have enuff money to buy Andromeda at closeout. $400.00
--- floor model with water damaged; in front of the cabinet.

#25 3 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Unfortunately, I do not have a PACER account.

All it takes is a credit card...lol... I will take a look today

I could swear AES existed in the slot machine market past the time of Game Plan closing, so maybe it was purchased by someone else.

#26 3 years ago

Maybe the barn collapse was a ruse, or maybe it happened very conveniently to convince creditors not to bother looking for the contents. It seems weird that there are auctions and pics of a unique machine that was supposed to have been destroyed in the collapse.

#27 3 years ago

No bankruptcy in the electronic database for Goldboss or Game Plan for that matter, so maybe AES paid off the creditors? I can't imagine someone not going after the assets that were supposedly pilfered, but I guess it was a different time. That whole story sounds pretty much like an urban legend, and I doubt it is true. Most likely, management was taking assets out of the building before operations were shut down.

I did see where AES filed Bankruptcy in 1988 and the case was settled in 1991, but the records are not electronic. So assuming AES still owned the IP to GamePlan, that disposition might be the key. But as I said, the records are not electronic and would have to be researched by hand at the Federal Building in Chicago.

There was also a federal civil suit filed against Goldboss and several other defendants in 1991 under the Securities and Exchange Act, but that shows a disposition of "Dismissed/Settled", and the records are too old to be pulled up as well.

I assume you already saw this thread from 3 years ago?

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/why-am-i-obsessed-with-gameplan

You will notice PinDoctor sold Goldboss a bunch of boards for machines he was restoring, so maybe he still has some stuff?

#28 3 years ago

Roger Sharpe is still a licensing guru, maybe he would have an idea about who to ask about reproducing Gameplan parts? ifpapinball

#29 3 years ago
Quoted from Manimal:

No bankruptcy in the electronic database for Goldboss or Game Plan for that matter, so if it happened, it was back in the paper era.

Thanks for checking into it.

Quoted from Manimal:

You will notice PinDoctor sold him a bunch of boards for machines he was restoring, so maybe he still has some stuff?

For ease of reading for everyone, here's the quote in question:

Quoted from PiNDoCToR:

The Bally "mafia" shut down Game Plan. No joke. Goldboss will tell you if you ever speak to him. I did earlier this year when he bought all my Gameplan parts to restore some of his games that had the boards stolen out of them.

Quoted from Manimal:

So unless AES was a parent to Game Plan, they would have no bearing on the IP for Game Plan.

Everything I read about it has been saying game plan was a subsidiary of AES, but it could also be the case that they were simply two separate entities being operated or owned by the same person.

Quoted from Manimal:

There is also the possibility that maybe the company just ceased to exist? I can't imagine creditors not going after them, but it was a different time, and maybe they just ate the losses, given the employees had pilfered all of the assets and it was such a small company?

I'm was wondering if that was the case too.

I poked around in the copyright office and trademark office search pages, but neither of them appear to have any game plan materials on file.

http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4805:r2z65k.4.1

http://cocatalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&PAGE=First

#30 3 years ago

Yea, I revised my statement after I went back and read what you said about AES being a parent. I also sent you a PM. I can send you contact info for the law firm that handled the case if you want to call them.

#31 3 years ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Roger Sharpe is still a licensing guru, maybe he would have an idea about who to ask about reproducing Gameplan parts? ifpapinball

I was thinking about that, but wasn't sure if I should even bother him unless I am or someone else is 100% serious about reproducing something.

#32 3 years ago

how have you not brought in TheBlackKnight?

Surely he can correct all of you...

#33 3 years ago

All I know is, the batteries in their MPUs are notorious for leaking. -Kicks Foxy Lady that has never worked, spits in frustration-

#34 3 years ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

how have you not brought in TheBlackKnight?
Surely he can correct all of you...

We are saving that for a last resort. We do not want to abuse the power! lol

#35 3 years ago

Some snapshot info of AES: https://ecorp.sos.ga.gov/BusinessSearch/BusinessInformation?businessId=564446&businessType=

pasted_image (resized).png

Bankruptcy case summary, minus the lawyer's contact info.

pasted_image (resized).png

#36 3 years ago

https://www.ilsos.gov/corporatellc/CorporateLlcController

I'm not entirely sure if this is the business record for the game plan I'm looking for, but the dates seem about right. It's interesting that the status is "revoked", rather than "dissolved", and also occurred just after the AES bankruptcy was filed.

pasted_image (resized).png

#37 3 years ago

According to other states' pages on the revoked status (since I didn't find it on the Illinois site yet, and assuming Illinois is similar):

Businesses that fail to file annual reports for two consecutive years may have their charter voided or authority to do business in New Jersey revoked. Similarly, corporations that fail to file corporation business taxes may be voided or revoked.

http://www.state.nj.us/treasury/revenue/reinstate.shtml

https://www.commerce.alaska.gov/web/cbpl/Corporations/Revoked.aspx

So, the timeline seems to fit that if the corporate license was revoked in August 1988, game plan didn't file anything in the two years prior, which lines up with a late 1985 or early 1986 closing, since I'm guessing the latest filing would have needed to be done in early 1986.

That also brings up the question, since it appears game plan was not properly dissolved, were taxes were still owed, and if so, was anything was seized by the state and sold at public auction?

#38 3 years ago

Does anyone know what the street address was for Game Plan? Was it the same as the AES street address? I'd be interested to see what the county property records show for it.

#39 3 years ago

As far as parts go, Data East is basically Game Plan.
The parts are slightly modified to make them their
own. Also, early Stern parts are Game Plan parts.

#40 3 years ago

Game Plan was at 1515 W Fullerton Ave., Addison, IL, per the Andromeda flyer.

#41 3 years ago
Quoted from westofrome:

Game Plan was at 1515 W Fullerton Ave., Addison, IL, per the Andromeda flyer.

Rats, no records for anything beyond the current owner.

https://www.dupageco.org/PropertyInfo/PropertyLookup.aspx

https://www.dupageco.org/PropertyInformation.aspx?PIN=kZxBRX452baP3GCY7zjMDRVe75HoT5FenNOmgptDh3Q%3d

https://www.dupageco.org/PropertyInformation.aspx?PIN=gYuxuK%2bbY2WeOv%2fu2Zirsxs4gW3uBSMT%2f39%2bk5tPwUo%3d

http://www.addisontownship.com/webdb/sd/addison/assessordb/search.aspx

pasted_image (resized).png

[edit]: Did some more digging, however, there's nothing before 2000. This is the earliest record available online:

https://recorderbeta.dupageco.org/Search.aspx

pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

1 year later
#42 1 year ago

Neat thread!

#43 1 year ago

Yes indeed! Very interesting. Hopefully this helps to find the rights owners and get parts remade.

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