It is with deep sadness that we report the death of industry veteran Frank Pellegrini from complications from Covid on Sunday, September 12. He had been hospitalized on August 26 at Rush Copley Hospital in Aurora, Ill.
Frank was 65, born on May 15, 1956. He is survived by his wife Sheri, in-laws and close friends Stan and Launa Jorgensen, nieces Kimberly and Brittany Pellegrini, and Eddie Pellegrini of Team Play who was saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of his brother.
Frank certainly left his mark in the industry. Most recently he was spending the majority of his time with his wife Sheri, a litigation attorney, with their horses and cats on their farm. He also had expanded into the casino gaming industry with his intellectual property licensing company, Dirty Dog Gaming, Inc. But for people in the coin machine industry, it’s his decades of work in amusements that are most significant, from his early days at Bally Midwest and Atari up through his 18 years at Team Play.
He sold his ownership interest in that game development powerhouse in 2019, but as part of the transaction, Team Play assigned to Frank exclusive rights to all of the company’s current and future games for licensing to makers of slot machines. Frank had already licensed the company’s popular Fishbowl Frenzy and Launch Code. It’s reported that Scientific Games will release the gaming version of Fishbowl Frenzy soon.
His industry resumé is extensive having gotten into video game sales with Bally Midwest and Atari fresh out of college (Northern University). With his employers’ blessing, he also operated three standalone arcades where he gained first-hand insight into the needs of operators. He went on to work for Konami USA, Electronic Arts, Sega Enterprises and TouchTunes as well. While working at Konami and with their okay, Frank and his brother Eddie founded the P&P Marketing, Inc. development company, releasing many popular arcade games such as Police Trainer, Pub Time Darts, Capcom Bowling, Bozo’s Buckets, and the Regatta CD jukebox.
Frank made his mark in many ways – game sales, character licensing, product development and company leadership – and also through technological innovation. On his company website, it’s reported that he envisioned, invented and patented (US Patent 4,575,622) the use of debit card systems in video arcades more than a decade before they became commonplace. Years later, he licensed the patent to a number of small and large companies including The Walt Disney Company, Dave & Buster’s, GameWorks, and American Express. (To read more about Frank’s extensive career, visit www.dirtydoggaming.com/meet-the-owner.html.)
RePlay’s Eddie Adlum said his favorite memory of Frank was this: “I trapped him in my car on Pico Boulevard in L.A. once until he gave me a Konami ad, forgetting that he was an amateur boxer like his brother Ed and could have punched my lights out. He gave me the ad and bunch more over the years, but he never hitched a ride with me again!”
Per Frank’s wishes, there will be no funeral service. He will be cremated, and his ashes will be spread on his farm. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Humane Society would be appreciated.