Seated at an Indian Gaming Tradeshow & Convention at the Phoenix Convention Center back in the spring of 2013 are, Rick Dyer, Don Bluth & Gary Goldman reviewing the debut of Dragon’s Lair : The Shot Machine created and manufactured by Cadillac Jack, a slot machine company based near Atlanta, Georgia. This photo was taken for the use in publicity and promotion at the Phoenix tradeshow and the Las Vegas gaming tradeshow in October of the same year.
None of us knew much about slot machines, however we had been informed that the players around the world are mostly women aged from 45 to 65, a demographic that fits the age of a lot of people who were wowed by the Dragon’s Lair arcade game 30 years before. And, the Cadillac Jack company leaders thought the Dragon’s Lair slot machine would find a high place in the slot machine gaming industry. One thing that may have thwarted their concept is that it had absolutely no real publicity or promotion anywhere except in the gaming trade magazines. Reminding us of the days before the Chicago Arcade Game convention in March of 1983 when Dragon’s Lair : the Arcade Game was debuted with just the “attract mode” and 3 rooms of game play. We had our publicist, Kim Coy, take the concept to the press with a story, photos, and character images, just like she would promote and publicize an animated movie. She was a veteran film publicist for years at Walt Disney Productions and she knew what it took to get people into the theaters. Her approach brought millions of young teenagers to the already popular arcades and appeal of the game actually boosted the arcade industry.
This became an issue with our distributor because they were just going to do promotion via Trade magazines and their own way of getting word to the arcade owners to get sales. All the while Kim was actually reaching the public, which was creating excitement and driving gamers to the arcades. At the end of the Chicago Arcade Trade Show Dragon’s Lair was the hit of the show with classical feature-length animation quality that wowed the entire Arcade Trade Convention attendees; and because of the pre-promotion and the short presentation, Cinematronics was able to pre-sell an extraordinary number of the high-cost arcade games to arcade owners at the event.
Kim sent out promotional stories and photos to all of her list of entertainment news professionals throughout north America from TV reporters, major and minor newspapers, and top arcade gaming magazines causing many TV and magazine reporters to ask for interviews with Don. Rick Dyer, our partner, did the same from his computer company which had developed the game and did the final programming for the game. There was a sustaining blitz of promotion and publicity for months after, giving Dragon’s Lair a huge boost and the title became a household name. It goes to show what good publicity can do.