Tradewest is a now-defunct American video game company based in Corsicana, Texas that produced numerous games in the 1980s and early 1990s. The company is best known as the publisher of the Battletoads and Double Dragon series in North America and the PAL region.
The Tradewest name was revived in August 2009 by Midway Games's former European subsidiaries which rebranded themselves as Tradewest Games. Midway Games had owned the Tradewest trademark since 1996.
Tradewest was founded in 1986 by John Rowe (former Executive Vice President, SNK Corp, Japan's U.S. subsidiary), Leland Cook (banker and rancher) and his son Byron Cook. Tradewest started out by manufacturing SNK's Ikari Warriors arcade game in the United States, along with "Victory Road, Alpha Mission and developed their own Redline Racer", John Elway's Quarterback and Ivan "ironman" Stewart's Super Off-Road, as the company would shift away from the coin-op arcade game business to concentrate on video games for home consoles.
In 1987, Tradewest purchased Cinematronics (video game developer and manufacturer) of El Cajon, California whose previous games included Dragon's Lair and Space Ace and renamed it The Leland Corporation. John Rowe was chosen to run the El Cajon office as he already had a successful history in video games as executive vice-president of SNK's Japans, U.S.(American) division.
Tradewest was acquired by WMS Industries (the owners of the Williams and Midway brands) in 1994, and renamed Williams Entertainment, Inc., thus signaling the end of Tradewest as a company. Williams Entertainment became WMS's official division and entrance to the video game console market. In 1996, WMS was losing interest in video games and, as such, Williams Entertainment was transferred to Midway who renamed the division Midway Home Entertainment, Inc.. Like it was the case with WMS, the division served as Midway's foothold to the home console market, who could now develop and publish video games in-house without having to rely on other publishers. Both the Corsicana, Texas and a new R&D facility in San Diego remained opened within Midway and continued to employ Byron Cook (who became president of Midway Home Entertainment) and John Rowe (who became Vice-Chairman and Director of Product Development) developing and publishing games for Nintendo Game Cube, Microsoft X Box, Sony Playstation and the PC.