The Art of the Arcade Machine Marquee (1)

The Art of the Arcade Machine Marquee (1)

Alien Syndrome Marquee

Sinistar Marquee

Commando Marquee

Asteroids Marquee

Tempest Marquee

Crystal Castles

Zaxxon Marquee

Galaxian Marquee

Galaga Marquee

Bosconian Marquee

Rastan Marquee

A selection of Coin-Op/Arcade Machine “Marquees” beaming gloriously in brash 80’s technicolor… Marquees (in case you didn’t know) are used to illuminate the name of an arcade game at the top of its cabinet.

Stopping with a friend recently I was reminded with just how amazing this art is as he has a small selection of these marquees as fridge magnets! and I haven’t featured any Coin Op / Pinball design for a while, so figured it was about time to run an update…

So what makes this Art so cool? for me it’s the punchy low palettes & comic-type colouring, mix this up with super striking Logotypes and the fact of course that the whole thing is designed to be backlit! It’s actually worth pointing out that I worked in a seaside arcade as a 16 year old, in retrospect it’s obviously mcuh more than just the game themselves that made a major impact me… My Favourite ever Coin-Op’s ? Turbo Out Run, Aliens, Rolling Thunder and Special Criminal Investigation aaah, things were simpler back then!

So a bit more more about the samples collected here:

Top: “Alien Syndrome” – A top down Commando/Gauntlet-esque shooter dating from 1986, designed and manufactured by Sega, it’s one I missed in the Arcade, though played it on the 8-bit home systems of the day, decent game! Here’s a video

2nd Top: “Sinistar” – By Williams in 1982, this an evolution of Asteroids, and is similar to Bosconion embarrassingly I’d never even heard of Sinistar before researching this post! I’m still not sure how I’ve missed it! Check the freaky Sinistar Sample too:

3rd Top: “Commando” – From Nihon Bussan/AV Japan released 1985. Another genre-defining rock solid classic, I’m more familiar with the Speccy version where you had to rotate the joystick 360 degrees to lob a grenade (very difficult).

4th Top: “Asteroids” – By Atari 1979. One of the most popular arcade games of all time, this marquee featuring an obvious Battlestar Galactica reference. You must of seen Asteroids, so here’s a clip of Atari’s lesser known 1987 sequal “Blasteroids

5th Top: “Tempest” – By Atari, released 1987. The wireframe vector graphic legend that’s been recyclced many times,

6th Top: “Crystal Castles” – Another Atari title, this time from 1983 – this is an Isometric platform/maze/puzzler which utilises a bizarre collection of sprites, a game I loved as a kid, and like most games I’m still completely useless at it…

7th Top:”Zaxxon” – More isometric viewpoint action, this one from Sega and dating from 1982. Supremely ambitious for it’s time, in many ways this still looks great

8th / 9th Top: “Galaga” and “Galaxian” – These classic precursor’s to the Vertical Shoot-em-up both hail released from the Namco stable, appearing 1979 and 1981 respectively. Just in case you forgot how Galaxian plays:

10th Top: “Bosconian” – The original 8 way shooter from Midway, released 1981. Again this is one I remember from the 8-bit systems rather than in the arcade itself, here’s a video:

Bottom: “Rastan” – A left scrolling fantasy platform fighter from Taito released in 1987. If the throttled Lizard-Man hasn’t jogged your memory, here’s a clip:

All games referenced via KLOV “The Killer List of Video Games” AKA
a superb reference site…

Images collected from various sources via The Google.

17 thoughts on “The Art of the Arcade Machine Marquee (1)”

  1. Nice post on these lovely 80s backlit logotypes. It’s interesting to think of these as direct and highly focused descendants of backlit pinball panels. There are some interesting evolutionary intermediate forms from the 70s like Exidy’s Death Race, etc.

  2. Cheers for the comments :)

    they really look great together…. And yeah I thinknext I’ll go back and have a look at the Pinball Art again – thanks for reminding me Bob!

  3. i loved alien syndrome! i forgot what the cabinet art looked like
    the galaxian logo always reminds me of roger dean

    i love your blog .. thanks for one of the joys in my day!

  4. Cheers for the comment Travis :)

    yeah I’ve just been playing Alien Syndrome on Mame, cool game – pretty hard though! Yeah the Galaxian Logo is very Roger Dean I agree :)

  5. I had totally forgotten about Sinistar! That game was awesome, but hard as hell. Once the Sinistar dude started after you, your ass was toast! And he yelled.

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