Ralph Coppola Gets HOF Legacy Induction


The late ICE founder Ralph Coppola was among the recent legacy inductees into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame. Coppola started ICE (Innovative Concepts in Entertainment) in 1982 with his original partner Jack Willert, and the company’s first game on the market was Chexx (Bubble Hockey). Chexx sold over 5,000 units in the machine’s first year, and 7,500 in the first 18 months.

The hockey games are still in production to this day and is now known as Super Chexx Pro. “The fact that 40 years later the game that started it all continues to be manufactured is something that is near and dear to the entire ICE family,” the company stated.

Under Ralph’s leadership, ICE continued their R&D efforts in the 1980s with notable games Kixx and Turbo Drive. ICE came out with Putting Challenge in the early 1990s and this new game was being built in their newly-relocated 22,000-sq.-ft. factory in Buffalo.

From there, ICE diversified their product offerings and introduced its first of many licensed games with the launch of Hungry Hungry Hippo from the makers of Hasbro/Milton Bradley and, shortly thereafter, had another title in Flintstone kiddie version pinball.

Cyclone, one of the most successful redemption games of its time, was introduced in 1995. Ralph was instrumental in bringing this concept to market after first seeing a capsule-based game in Japan. Coppola bought the license from the developer, and, after some serious restructuring, Cyclone became a staple in family entertainment centers worldwide. The company would go on to sell Cyclone for over 25 years.

In the late ‘90s, Coppola guided the company into manufacturing skill-based cranes with the introduction of both iconic claw games, the Plush Bus and Pinnacle. These cranes became staples in grocery stores, FECs and restaurants.

There was further expansion for the company throughout the 2000s and 2010s. In 2004, it secured the NBA license for its games (NBA Hoops is a staple product of theirs) and in 2008, they had their first coin pusher – The Price is Right.

Ralph oversaw the company’s iconic carnival series, which ICE first introduced to the market around 2014. It started with the highly successful Milk Jug Toss and has since included such successful titles as: Down the Clown, Bean Bag Toss, Hoopla and Snowball Toss.

“Today, Ralph’s vision and foresight are still very much visible in the business,” the company said. “With an unparalleled customer service team that Ralph instilled in the company from the beginning, is still to be found today, and for the future to come. Furthermore, ICE continues to offer parts for games from decades ago, even ones they are no longer are producing. Ralph’s belief about service and parts availability after the sale is still at the company’s core.”

At the time of his passing in 2019, Ralph was credited with being personally involved in bringing over 150 arcade games to market during his 36 years at the helm of the company.


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