Plan produced pinball machines, video games and slot machines from
Some key employees from Game Plan worked at Williams for many years.
Game Plan did produce a number of cocktail style pinball machines,
which were similar to cocktail video games in size.
John Trudeau Interview
I did receive some correspondence from a former Game Plan employee,
John Trudeau. He worked for GP from '79 to '82 in various capacities,
starting in the factory and ending in engineering. John has gone
on to design many excellent games for Gottlieb, and Williams. He
was kind enough to answer a few questions about Game Plan.
Any idea what employees ended up at Williams or other game manufacturers?
As far as I know, I was the only one to end up at WMS. Ed Cebula
(the guy who taught me the design end), head of engineering at GP,
went to Data East Pinball (now Stern). I'm not sure if he's still
there or not. One of the game programmers, Bob Wilson, went to Premier
when GP closed their doors. I was also working there at the time.
I do not know where he went when they shut their doors.
A tie in for #1, who was the founder of Game Plan, president, etc.
Also, who was AES? and how did Game Plan tie into all this?
The name Wendell McAdams comes to mind as the figurehead running
the GP end of the company. I believe GP was a wholly owned subsidiary
of AES. The parent company was located in Elk Grove Village, IL,
a couple of miles from the GP facility (which was located in Bensenville,
IL). I also believe the actual president/owner was a fellow named
Leo Goldboss (I may be wrong on the first name).
Can you sum up why they went out of business? (I understand you
didn't work there when they shutdown, though)
Any guess as to why they finally went out of business would be just
speculation. I really don't know any of the particulars.
What types of machines were produced? (what were their products
When I came on board their primary product was the cocktail pinball.
That later expanded to the full upright and then into video games
and slot machines.
How did you start out and get involved with Game Plan?
As for myself, I started working in the factory as a game tester.
Went on to become foreman of the testing line and then was recruited
over to the engineering department. What first interested engineering
was the artwork I had brought in to show another coworker in the
factory. They asked me to do the next game's artwork and I readily
agreed. That was "Global Warfare", GP's only venture into the wider
pin format. They only made ten prototypes and I was only able to
retain some copies of the blackline screens (the screens and separations
were done by Dick White, who's artwork graced a number of their
machines). After submitting some design ideas, Ed Cebula brought
me in full time to the design staff as an apprentice. I worked a
little on "Pinball Lizard" just tweaking the final layout. Then
I laid out "Attila the Hun" and a never produced cocktail machine
called "Kings of the Road" (a fast car theme). Right at that time,
however, GP decided to get out of the pinball business, and shelved
all pinball related items. I decided that, although I didn't want
to leave, I wanted to continue designing pins, if I got the opportunity.
Which I did when I took a designer position at D. Gottlieb in 1982.
One final question. Why were so many design layouts recycled? For
example, sharp shooter 1 & 2, and Coney Island have similar layouts
and so does Attila the Hun and Agents 777 (although you designed
one, and Ed Cebula the other). Naturally, it appears to be a way
to produce more different machines at a lower cost, or is this a
common practice among pinball manufacturers?
I believe you are partially right about this one. GamePlan didn't
have the resources to spend actually laying out many different designs.
"Mirroring" the first design was done as an economy measure to speed
the next machine to production. As for the rest of the pinball community,
I don't believe this was practiced at all. With all the different
designers being employed, no one wanted to be accused of copying
anyone else. And here (Gottlieb or WMS), there was time to do the
job right. As for Premier, I was the only one designing or engineering
in the beginning. Although the layouts weren't "mirrored" or copied
in any way, I didn't have the time to spend on each one like I would
have desired. And so the designs sometimes were pretty basic.
Thanks John. Your insight and knowledge is very much appreciated
and thanks for your contribution to the world of pinball.
Excerpt from Silverball News and Views
- November 1997 - The Flipper Age of Dinosaurs.
Written by Tim Ferrante, GameRoom
"The short-lived manufacturer Game Plan created LIZARD in
1980 and its titular beast looked more like a dinosaur than lizard
with its brontosaurus-like body and tail. Their 1985 LOCH NESS MONSTER,
illustrated by Seamus McLaughlin and designed by Sega Pinball's
Joe Kaminkow, was easily their most ambitious effort. McLaughlin's
rendering of the Scottish lake dweller is awesome; the massive creature
swims out of the darkness dwarfing the startled divers and their
submersibles. It's a horrific underwater scene, reminiscent of the
movie THE GIANT BEHEMOTH. Below the playfield resides a moving three-dimensional
model of Nessie viewable through a blue window. The monster roars
and flashing lights illuminate the swimming creature as players
try to escape silverball doom. It was unquestionably the finest
game they ever built. It was also their last; the company folded
as the game was being readied for production.While only one prototype
is verified to exist (you could actually play it at Herb Silvers'
1996 Las Vegas Pinball Fantasy show), you probably have a better
chance of seeing the real Nessie than the pinball machine built
in her honor."