Exidy was a developer and manufacturer of coin-operated amusements. The company was founded by H.R. "Pete" Kauffman and Samuel Hawes in 1973. The name "Exidy" was a portmanteau of the words "Excellence in Dynamics".
Pete Kauffman was a marketing executive at Ramtek in 1972 and was one of several employees of the company who played the original Atari Pong prototype at Andy Capps Tavern in Sunnyvale, California. Believing coin-operated video games would become a major business, he left Ramtek in late 1973 to establish Exidy with Ampex engineer Samuel Hawes.
Exidy found competing with larger video game companies such as Atari, Inc. difficult. The company's Lila Zinter claimed in 1983 that "Exidy is an innovator, but ... we have a hard time breaking through the politics of getting a game a fair chance."
One of Exidy's efforts aimed at trivia lovers during the 1980s was the quiz game Fax, a multi-level game housed in a large wooden cabinet that stood about 4 feet high and looked nothing like other video games of the time period. The players were shown a series of questions with four possible answers. A point value "clock" ran down to zero after answers were shown, meaning players answering quicker earned more points for their correct answers (Incorrect answers incurred no penalty).
Beginning in 1983, Exidy released a series of light gun games, the first and most well known of which was Crossbow. These presented an unusual twist to the light gun genre: the goal is to protect characters walking through the screen by shooting things which are trying to kill the characters. These games were also the first to feature fully digitized sound for all sound effects and music. Other "C" series games include Cheyenne, Combat, Crackshot, Clay Pigeon and Chiller. Chief designer for these games was Larry Hutcherson. Exidy also made two rarely seen motion cabinet games with vector graphics called Vertigo and Top Gunner. Chief game designer for this game was Vic Tolomei.
Another somewhat successful game from Exidy was a driving game named Top Secret. This game featured a spy car with advanced weaponry on a mission inside the Soviet Union to destroy a heavily guarded Top Secret super weapon. Game designers for this game were Vic Tolomei, Larry Hutcherson and Ken Nicholson.
In 2015, CollectorVision Games registered the unused trademark rights to the Exidy name and logo.
The Exidy SorcererEdit
The Sorcerer was a modified S-100 bus based machine, but lacked the internal expansion system common to other S-100 systems. It made do with an S-100 expansion card-edge that could connect to an external S-100 expansion cage. The Sorcerer also featured an advanced (for the era) text display that was capable of 64 characters per line, when most systems supported only 40 characters. The Sorcerer did not support sound, color, or in some respects, graphics, which seems at odds with the company's video game background; however, the characters it displayed were programmable by the user. The system was never very popular in North America, but found a following in Australia and Europe, notably Belgium. Exidy licensed the Sorcerer computer and its software to a Texas-based startup called Dynasty Computer Corporation in 1979. It was relabeled and sold by Dynasty as the Dynasty Smart-Alec.
|TV Pinball||1975||License of Ramtek's Knockout. The cocktail version is called Table Pinball.|
|Table Foosballer||1975||Licensed from Ramtek.|
|Old Time Basketball||1975||Mechanical basketball game.|
|Death Race||April 1, 1976||During development, this game was known as Death Race 98.|
|Super Death Chase||1977|
|Bandido||January 1980||Originally developed and released by Nintendo in 1979 as Sheriff|
|Tail Gunner 2||1980||Purchased from Cinematronics|
|Victory||1982||Exidy also produced a graphics hack of this game called Victor Banana.|
|Hard Hat||1982||Limited release|
|Whirly Bucket||1983||A twist on the Skee-Ball concept. Unlike that game, the balls curve around a loop, hopefully falling into a hole. Just under the holes, there is a moving puppet, which can be struck with the ball for double points.|
|Tidal Wave||1983||A twist on the Skee-Ball concept. Unlike that game, the balls curve around a loop, hopefully falling into a hole.|
|Top Secret||1986||During development, this game was called 0077. The title was changed to Top Secret possibly due to copyright issues, since the title is similar to the movie series 007. When the game was changed to Top Secret, 50 levels were added and the controls were changed to a steering wheel.|
|Hit 'n Miss||1987|
|Twister||1989||A take on the Skee-Ball concept.|
|Turbo Ticket||1996||A take on the ticket grabber concept.|
First Star Software gamesEdit
These were licensed from First Star Software in 1984 for use with the Max-A-Flex arcade system.
- Kreepy Krawlers (1979)
- Teeter Torture (1982)
- Snapper (1982)
- Critter (1995, mechanical gun game)
- Hot Shot (1995, mechanical gun game)
- Troll (1995, mechanical gun game)
Free titles via MAMEEdit
In 2007, the MAME website announced that H.R. Kauffman had released the first of what would become a sizable group of Exidy games downloadable for free, non-commercial use, adding Circus to the already-released Teeter Torture. By 2011, with the help of Reinhard Stompe, the list of ROM images included Circus, Robot Bowl, Car Polo, Side Trak, Ripcord, Fire One, Crash, Star Fire and its unreleased upgrade Star Fire II, Targ, Spectar, Hard Hat, Victory, Teeter Torture, Fax and Top Gunner.
The ROM images may be freely downloaded from the MAME website after the user acknowledges the terms of usage.
- "Obituary: Exidy founder Pete Kauffman". Gamasutra. 2015-07-06. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
- "Pete Kauffman Dies; Created Arcade Games Under Exidy Brand". Vending Times. 2015-07-27. Retrieved 2018-07-24.
- Smith, Alexander (2019). They Create Worlds: The Story of the People and Companies That Shaped the Video Game Industry, Volume I. CRC Press. p. 201. ISBN 9781138389908.
- Pearl, Rick (June 1983). "Closet Classics". Electronic Games. p. 82. Retrieved 6 January 2015.
- Flippers Web Site image of FAX game.
- James Hague, "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers: Hutcherson, Larry W. Sr.", 24 January 2010
- Mean Hamster Software
- CollectorVision Games
- Obsolete Technology Website
- MAME | Multiple Arcade machine Emulator "New ROMs and Wiki Content", February 27, 2007, accessed June 15, 2011.
- MAME | Star Fire (Exidy, 1979) Undated; images last modified October 26, 2010, accessed June 15, 2011.
- MAME | Multiple Arcade machine Emulator "New Free ROMs Posted", January 25, 2011, accessed June 15, 2011.
- The Dot Eaters Article featuring a history of Death Race and Exidy