In 1931, the first coin-op pinball game, "Ballyhoo", was introduced. It was invented by Raymond Maloney, who, in 1932, founded Lion Manufacturing Co. in Chicago, IL. Seven months after the introduction of the game, 50,000 units had been sold - a record number of sales that would be unsurpassed by pinball games before World War II. A whole series of "Bally" games were made. The company would later change it's name to "Bally Manufacturing Corp.", partially in recognition of the popularity of those games.
1963 saw the introduction of "Money Money", the first electro-mechanical slot machine. Because of their close tie to gambling (many of Bally's early pinball games were "one-ball" gambling machines), they would continue to improve on these machines, which would become one of their flagship products.
In 1969, Bally went public. They were the first gaming company to be publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
One day, in 1972, someone presented a new idea to Bally. A man by the name of Nolan Bushnell presented this game to the company. It was called "Pong". He wanted Bally to produce and market this new type of game, one using a television screen to display images. Bally missed this chance to be at the forefront of the video game revolution, by telling Nolan they weren't interested.
By 1975, the video game market was taking off, without Bally. They decided to enter that market, but instead of producing games with the Bally name, they created a new division, which they called "Midway". The two names stuck together, however, with people often referring to them as "Bally/Midway". They also started up their own arcade chain, which in the next few years would come to be known as "Bally's Aladdin's Castle".
Midway's first release was "Gunfight", a western-themed game. This game was originally released in Japan by Taito. Gunfight was the first game to use a microprocessor, and was also the first game imported into the United States from another country.
In 1976, Bally released "Freedom", the first widely available pinball game using solid state electronics. (The true first, "Spirit of 76" by Micro, only had 100 made) They also noticed the home video game market growing, and decided to enter that market. That decision led to the eventual creation of the Bally Astrocade.
In 1979, Bally proceeded to spin off it's pinball division. This set the stage for 1988, when the Bally/Midway gaming division was sold off in it's entirety to Williams, who proceeded to continue making pinball games under the Bally name for a long time. Soon after, in 1989, Bally sold off the Aladdin's Castle arcade chain, exiting the gaming industry completely.
Today, Bally is known mainly for it's slot machines, and for the exercise chain that carries their name, "Bally's Total Fitness". A far cry from a company that got it's start with pinball games.
Complete Bally Pinball List:
They are listed in order of their introduction. Note that a large number of these games were one-ball gambling machines. (Most of these are as yet unnoded - if you wish to add a writeup, please examine the Ballyhoo writeup for a suggestion for format and information to include. Ones listed in bold print are known to be noded.)
A big thanks to the Internet Pinball Database (http://www.lysator.liu.se/pinball/IPD/) where this listing was generated from.