( Centuri Inc, Proton Engineering Inc)
Email Interview - 5th October 2006
Jon: Thanks again for contacting me back, my questions are as follows; I understand you worked for Taito America before joining Centuri alongside Ed Miller, What year did you start working for them and how were you or by whom were you introduced to the company ?
Bill: Taito aquired my company (American Digital) about 1978, and Miller and I were recruited by an Executive search person. My wife had recently died, and I had a 4yr old son that i thought needed a change of scenery, so Miller and I moved to Florida (then known as Allied Leisure) about 1980. We changed the name to "Centuri".
Jon: Who came up with the name Centuri and why?
Bill: The "Centuri" name was generated by the ad agency at that time, it was an effort to change the image of "Allied Leisure" which was terrible at the time.
Jon: What was your job at Centuri Inc?
Bill: Executive VP /Technology
Jon: At the time of your arrival what games were currently in production, and if you had a favorite what was it?.
Bill: Allied had just been aquired by a New York financial group that rescued it from bankruptcy. They were currently making a pin game named after some country musician (Can't recall the name) Allied was nearly deserted.
Jon: What level did you have to the input of design and manufacturing of a game? Were games only decided on how well they performed at test locations?
Bill: Most games built after we came to allied were licenced from japanese companies which Miller and I came to know while at Taito, All games produced were location tested, but that was no insurance for success.
Jon: Do you own any video games / Juke boxes of your own from any period of your time in the industry? If so what?
Bill: Currently I do not own any video games other than the microsoft pinball game in my computers. I do own a pioneer CD "jukebox" used in our sound system. My current interest is Proton Engineering Inc.
Jon: I have spoken to both Gene Lipkin & Joel Hochberg who have been very helpful, Who else did you work with at Centuri Inc?
Bill: Several other people Miller & I hired for various positions, in management and engineering. Hal Dean was one. Right now I can't recall many. Hal Dean was a game software designer that pursued mainly vector display projects.
Jon: Are you aware of a game called Aztarac designed by a guy called Tim Stryker, From research it appears there were very limited numbers of these machines made. Do you know anything about this game or the numbers of which it was produced?
Bill: All games in production at Allied were produced nearly on a custom basis, as the company was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Those were games produced before Miller and I went to Florida.Ron Halliburtin originally designed most of the Allied Electromechanical games. He left about the time Allied entered Bankruptcy. Targ and Ripoff were later games that appeared after my exit
Jon: Centuri made some excellent choices licensing games from Konami, were there any games, that never made it to production that you can recall?
Bill: Many games were prototyped and tested secretly , many did not make production. Konami and other small japanese design groups provided software (some were very "goofy" games)
Jon: I have seen photos of yourself and Ed Miller on many of the various advertising material produced by Centuri. What made you or the company take this approach of starring in your games flyers?
Bill: The new advertising agency seemed to think that news of a new company and new people would be a hit , ( and it was) Miller was known from "Taito" and I was known from "Universal Research Laboratories (URL)", a company I started. We appeared in "Billboard" , "Cashbox" and several other industry publications.
Jon: At what point did you leave Centuri? Or were you with the company when the demise of video gaming happened?
Bill: I left the company because of a dispute with the owners, - about 18 months before the coin-op game business "dissolved".
Jon: Finally, I am also trying to get in touch with other people who are linked to Allied Leisure / Centuri Inc, if you can remember anyone who would be happy to speak to me I would be grateful of there details.
Bill: I will search my files (and memory) for any info or names you may be interested in. - Best Regards, Bill Olliges .
(Id like to thank Bill for his additional information (not included in this interview) to help me continue my research further. )
I managed to find a few other people linked to Centuri, and you can view there interviews below.
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