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|Industry||Video games and casino gaming technology|
|Founder||Elaine Hodgson, President & CEO
Richard Ditton, Executive Vice President
|Headquarters||Vernon Hills, Illinois, United States|
|Products||Golden Tee, Silver Strike Bowling, video game software/hardware, Magic Touch casino gaming|
Number of employees
Incredible Technologies (IT), based in Vernon Hills, Illinois, is a US-based designer and manufacturer of coin-operated video games and Class III casino games, best known for the Golden Tee Golf series. The company employs over 100 people at its suburban Chicago campus.
Founded in July 1985 by Richard Ditton, a NASA software engineer, and Elaine Hodgson, a biochemist, IT began as a software design gaming firm. The company started in the basement of the owners’ home and focused on a wide variety of work-for-hire entertainment projects, including pinball hardware and game programming for Data East. In its early years, IT struggled to maintain profitability without a solid hit.
In 1988 IT developed hardware and software for its first coin-operated video game Capcom Bowling, which used a trackball to simulate the movement of a bowler’s toss. A dozen more titles followed in the 1990s under the brand name Strata Games: Strata Bowling, Arlington Horse Racing, Hot Shots Tennis, Peggle, Poker Dice, Rim Rockin’ Basketball, Ninja Clowns, Time Killers, Hard Yardage, Driver’s Edge, BloodStorm and Pairs.
In September 1989 at the Amusement and Music Operators Association (AMOA) International Expo the company launched a golf game titled Golden Tee Golf, which used a trackball much like the bowling game, this time to simulate a golfer’s swing. The game slowly built a following throughout the 1990s, and by 1996 IT was producing updates to the game every year. Golden Tee has seen three major hardware platform changes since its initial release: Golden Tee 3D Golf in 1995, Golden Tee Fore! in 2000 and the latest version launched in 2005 called Golden Tee LIVE, which gives players the chance to compete in online tournaments for cash and prizes with every game played. The game celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2009 and IT released a new high definition version of the game in a Showpiece cabinet.
Co-founder Elaine Hodgson has been President of the company and led it since its founding in the mid-eighties.
In the face of declining coin-operated video game sales, IT looked to diversify its product line. The company began researching the improvement of Electronic Gaming Machine (EGM) or Slot Machine technology, and in 2008 released the Magic Touch collection of video slot, poker and keno games. Initially not for sale in the United States, the casino games became available on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas.
Technological innovations at IT have included:
- ITNet server-based technology, employing CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access), compiles statistics such as player scores and tournament activity from online coin-operated machines without use of telephone lines or an Internet connection.
- Silent Partner route management tool, which was the first computer-based tool that coin-operated video game and vending machine operators had to electronically track and manage machine collections.
IT teamed with n-Space to create its first WiiWare title, Target Toss Pro: Bags, released on November 17, 2008, and followed up in the fall of 2009 with a retro return to a title from the 1990s: Carnival King.
Another Target Toss game entitled Target Toss Pro: Lawn Darts, was released on September 27, 2010. It features a Wi-Fi connection and online leaderboard, which will include games such as darts and poker, by throwing the lawn dart towards the target.
- "USATODAY.com - Video golf champ has a steady hand, 'Golden Tee'". www.usatoday.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- Hurley, Oliver (2008-02-06). "Game on again for coin-operated arcade titles". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- "Developing "Incredible" Slot Machines". brokopp.casinocitytimes.com. Retrieved 2016-02-02.
- Bernstein, David. “Can’t Get a Tee Time? Try the Corner Bar?”. New York Times, March 20, 2003. Retrieved December 15, 2009. https://www.nytimes.com/2003/03/20/technology/circuits/20golf.html