Bally Alley

Nitron Company Research

by Paul Thacker

(November 2022)

According to Bob Fabris in "An Introduction to the BPA," "In 1982, Nitron [was] the principal supplier of hardware to Astrocade." This compilation of information about Nitron first appeared in a thread on the Astrocade discussion group called "Five New Bally (Nitron) Documents Uploaded."

Not sure it adds a while lot, but I came across this contemporary research on the gaming market (see page 62 off the scan, page 58 by the document's numbering):

This article specially mentions Astrocade and Nitron as an example of the domino effect (one company fails, causing another to fail) (page 26):

It also references a Wall Street Journal story from Feb. 8, 1983, "Nitron Inc. defaults on most obligations, cites customer's woes". That might be available at a large library.

This talks about Nitron reorganizing its debt (page 30):

Not actually sure why this came up in my search, but someone should do an alternate history where Quaker Oats buys Astrocade (page 88):

This one's already on Bally Alley, but some business discussion in this article (page 10):

I don't know if this one is on the website already, but here are some legal arguments over whether Astrocade was primarily located on Ohio or California during bankruptcy proceedings:

Scandalous news that Nitron made misleading financial disclosures over its Astrocade investment (page 7):

This was later settled (page 2):

Anyone want to file a Freedom Of Information Act request?

Interesting article from the Manchester Herald (page 12 of newspaper):

Astrocade accounted for about half of Nitron's business, so no surprise they went down together.

I'm as little confused as to the exact arrangement between Astrocade and Nitron. "Bernstein Research - The Video Game Industry" by Christopher Kirby (Dec. 28, 1982) says Astrocade was recently acquired by Nitron. I think this might be an oversimplification. Arcadian volume 4 v 11 page 113 describes an odd arrangement where Nitron purchased inventory from Astrocade and would then use the inventory for manufacturing systems and cartridges to then sell back to Astrocade. Bob Fabris later described this as follows:

"Early in 1982, Nitron of Cupertino, California became another player in the Astrocade group. In June, it became the principal supplier of hardware to Astrocade. In a rather unusual arrangement, Nitron bought Astrocade's entire arcade, cartridge and component inventory, contracting to purchase component parts (the major chips were sole-sourced from American Microsystems). Nitron then assembled the gear and sold it back to Astrocade. The purchase gave Astrocade some needed cash but made it highly dependent on Nitron's performance. Some Bay Area subscribers and I visited the facility and were impressed to see that Nitron apparently had all of the necessary equipment and capabilities to complete all of the required work under one roof (although the Garner and Sacramento plants were to continue their efforts, with Nitron as overseer)."

The article in the Sept. 1983 issue of Semiconductor International says Nitron is "attempting to acquire" Astrocade.

Are there any other references to Nitron acquiring Astrocade?

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