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Tradewest Founder Leland Cook Passes Away

Tradewest Founder Leland Cook Passes Away

November 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft

November 17, 2009 | By Kris Graft
More: Console/PC

Leland P. Cook Jr., who founded Ikari Warriors and Battletoads distributor Tradewest with his son Byron, died of a prolonged illness earlier this month at the age of 75.

The Corsicana Daily Sun reported that Cook, a life-long Texan, and his son founded Tradewest in 1985. The label got its start licensing and marketing coin-operated video games. The company was an early licensee of Nintendo, distributing NES games including Double Dragon and Battletoads.

Cook also appeared in video game form as Colonel Cook in the U.S. and European version of SNK-developed Ikari Warriors.

In the mid-90s, former Midway owner WMS purchased Tradewest and renamed it Williams Entertainment, a division that spearheaded Midway's move from arcades to home video game systems. The Tradewest brand has been dormant since the 1994 buyout.

Recently, however, in the aftermath of the Midway closure, former Midway Europe head Martin Speiss said he would lead a resurrection of the nostalgic Tradewest label.

The Daily Sun also said that Cook was an accomplished athlete, a rancher, a successful horse breeder, a churchgoer and a long time Little League coach.

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