Below is a listing of SPI's 'top ten' bestsellers for each 2 month period in 1980. The number below is the issue of S&T where these were reported, and below that is a list of the games RELEASED by SPI in that same two month period.
RED: These are PREORDERS - the game has not been released at this
Sad to say, I have no further information. Clearly, SPI has only a year to go at this point. But there are another 30 games in that year. We can only assume Time Tripper, Across Suez, Hof Gap, Sword and the Stars, Jackson/Corinth, and Dawn of the Dead would have made this list in 1981.
And note something VERY different about this list vs. earlier years: NO BESTSELLERS in preorders! This had to be a VERY BIG SHIFT to the SPI guys, and might partially explain later events. Where all the previous years saw SPI collecting enough money BEFORE the game was printed to push the game to the top ten list, NO GAMES reached that status in 1980. So in business terms, gamers were no longer supporting the R&D time that SPI was underwriting.
Also note the general price of the games on this list: As we now know after the fact, the 1" games were making SPI no money by the end, no matter how many were sold. The cost of the box cost nearly as much as the list price.
And also realize by this point, SPI was far more heavily invested in retail, as opposed to mail order. Thus, where they pocketed 100% of a mail order exchange, they likely got only 50% of the retail transaction.
And when those retail stores and wholesalers went belly up in the 1981 - 82 resession, guess who didn't get paid? Ouch.
The fact that SPI survived at all in the terrible market conditions of the 1970s is a tribute to the quality of their product and their unique relationship with their customers.
This site was last updated 05/23/15