The Amusement Network was created by Steph Norbury, who has worked in the amusement and gaming industries for over 20 years. Steph has edited many of the leading trade publications, including AB Europe, Euroslot and InterGame. Steph created and edited Coin-op Community, an industry newsletter and website, for over 13 years. Steph also looks after the marketing and PR for a number of companies within the sector.
One of the main reasons why Steph decided to create The Amusement Network was in order to feature the wonderful archive of photographs left behind by Norman Leftly, who sadly passed away in 2022. This archive was kindly gifted to the industry by Norman's widow Ruth and his children Nikki and Toby. Norman is sadly missed by all.
Norman, who was one of the industry’s most well-loved characters, was latterly known as THE industry photographer and no event was complete without his lanky frame, big grin and long lens. However, Norman had previously held many jobs within the amusement industry, starting as a teenager in the 1960s working for Jukebox Distributors Ltd in Soho’s Wardour Street. JBD, as it was known, was later sold to Phonographic which later became Associated Leisure. During these corporate changes Norman stayed with Phonographic Hire and Associated Leisure.
It was at Associated Leisure Norman met his beloved wife Ruth and the couple had two children Toby and Nicki. Norman went on to work for Japanese giant Taito, which had just released the hit game Space Invaders. During his time at Taito, Norman travelled all over the world and enjoyed some of the most exciting years of the rapidly growing amusement industry. He met everyone and became lifelong friends with many.
Norman always was a visionary, and the advent of the video promos for led him to V.I. Leisure, and the video jukebox. After V.I. Leisure he ran his own venture, the Technical Dream Company, assisting companies like Konami and Jaleco with their marketing and promotional work. This, his wide industry knowledge and contacts, then led to him joining another Japanese video game company, Jaleco.
Norman also built up a fantastic knowledge base about engineering and the technology of the machines themselves. He put this expertise to good use when he wrote a regular column for Euroslot magazine in the 1990s.
Norman was always fascinated by tech and loved gadgets. He was instantly aware of how the internet would transform life and business and was active on social media right up to his death. For the last few decades, Norman pursued his passion for photography more actively, through his company The Party Photos. This allowed him to stay close to his industry friends, in his role as event photographer for the major trade shows like EAG, ACOS; and the social events which go hand in hand with these events.
Norman also photographed product launches and carried out celebrity and model shoots. He raised eyebrows and smiles with some of his cheeky boudoir shots and made great friends in the photographic world as well. He had a great way of putting people at ease when he took photos, which was evident in the quality of the shots he achieved. Norm was also extremely knowledgeable about Apple Mac computers and accessories and had several clients for whom he would set up and maintain equipment, as well as doing regular advertising design work for his friends at Electrocoin and Genesis Games Ltd.
Norman was always interested in everyone he met and everything new that he discovered in life. This along with his kindness and good nature made him wonderful company to be around.
Norman adored his family and he and Ruth had long talked about moving to Canada to be nearer their son Toby. They spent several months with him this year, despite Norman’s failing health and Norm even learned to fly and film with a drone while he was there!
Norman’s death will be very tough for many people in the industry with whom he was close. He not only often attended their weddings, he attended their children’s weddings too – sometimes as the photographer and always as a dear friend. He will be sorely missed.