That “M” stands for Midway Games, and though you might only know them because of NBA Jam and the early Mortal Kombat titles, the company is hugely responsible for the proliferation of arcades in America. They’ve either developed or licensed the ones that started it all -- the original Space Invaders, Tapper, Galaga, Tron, Spy Hunter, Ms. Pac-Man, and countless other classics. And that all happened right here in Chicago.
Midway got its big break with Space Invaders, buying the rights to distribute it nationwide to pizza shops, bowling alleys, and anywhere else a video game cabinet might call home. They repeated this process with other titles (like Galaga, for instance) that had been created elsewhere, licensing them for Midway’s own use, and this is all in addition to the pinball tables they had been cranking out under their Bally and Williams brands. Soon, they started making video games of their own as well. Spy Hunter, Tron, and other classics helped build Midway’s brand, so that by the time the late ‘90s rolled around, Midway was the unquestioned king of of the arcade. By that point, they had released the Cruis’n series, NFL Blitz, multiple Mortal Kombat entries, NBA Jam, and even a weird shooter called Revolution X where you fire CDs at ninjas to rescue Aerosmith.