Got an email from Dave Nutting a few days back

Back late last year I was really getting into tracking down old arcade game creators. It takes a good amount of time because, while there are many resources online, there is a ton of information to weed through to find the correct results. The goal was to find David Nutting, I did, had a short phone conversation with him and then I sent him a thank you letter in the mail. He eventually visited this website and dropped me a line via my form and this is what he had to say.

Nutting & Associates in Coin-Op History

It was just a little tid bit, but a personalized message from one of the most influential creators of the arcade era made for an awesome day for me. This is what he had to say;

Hi Jeff,
I was cleaning out some files and came across a note you wrote me back in Dec 08. I am now checking out your web site. Seeing a feature on Computer Space reminded me of an interesting event back at the introduction to the Coin Amusement of my brother’s first video game. At that time I was promoting my electromechanical game Red Baron. I was at Empire Distributing in Chicago meeting with Gill K. and Joe R. They had received their first Computer Space game and had every one at Empire play and make comments. When I walked into Gill’s office he had just spoke with my brother Bill. Bill had just stated that the new Video game concept will take over our industry and Pinballs will be history. Gill told me the conversation and then stated to me “No way–if that ever happens I will eat my hat”. HA HA

Regards, Dave Nutting

The rest, as they say, is history. Fun little snippet. Dave was really nice when I spoke briefly with him on the phone, even though I was calling him cold turkey. He went on to say that someone is writing a new Coin-Op book on the history of the industry and that individual has contacted him as well. So, I’ll be keeping my eye out for that one.

Thanks for dropping me a line Dave. I hope you found the site to be enjoyable.

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Very cool!!!

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Great anecdote, I love hearing little stories like that from back in the day.

I wonder how many of the old school arcade guys still work in the industry?

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The only guys I know that still work in the ‘industry’ are guys that started their own companies….that everyone knows about – Brian Colin, Eugene Jarvis, etc.

Seems like most of the guys that were graduating at that time when coin-op stuff was more of an industry used this as their first job that later launched programming careers…obviously you know that Owen Rubin is doing iPhone aps now, and John Carpenter works as a freelance software developer down in Florida.

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Except for,perhaps, iPhone Apps, the video game industry is so different now that I’m not sure the free spirits that roamed the halls of Nutting Associates could cope with the corporate environment.

But, the old school guys did inspire the kids that played their games to aspire to be game designers. Peyton Duncan, now at Electronic Arts Sports was one such kid. I think he was 10 years old or so when we’d send him pre-release Astrocade games to test. And, he was one tough tester!

So, while most of the original old school guys are doing other things, the people they inspired just keep on getting better and better at it. I can’t envision Jamie Fenton in a big corporation within a team of scores of developers. But, Peyton is doing so because Jamie’s work captured his imagination and propelled him forward.

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I too spoke with Dave Nutting many many years ago regarding the custom chipset used in the Midway/Nutting CCRS boards. I found them failing frequently and was fishing for technical information. He couldn’t help me there, but was nice about it and we chatted for a few minutes about the old days.

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