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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MsZ0g6HE684

2nd Top: “Sinistar” – By Williams in 1982, this an evolution of Asteroids, and is similar to Bosconion http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcyBtVwAsfg 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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-XEINagmaU

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).  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qctKI_t5eY

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 “Blasteroidshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFmhK3VM3Ng

5th Top: “Tempest” – By Atari, released 1987. The wireframe vector graphic legend that’s been recyclced many times, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vxIquJIRZHU&feature=related

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… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f01M2l9oGJI

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 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cHORFz6ZCC0&feature=related

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GzitZv8Enmc

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nC5_RYXmfsc

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: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvn2pPsaE4I

All games referenced via KLOV “The Killer List of Video Games” AKA http://www.arcade-museum.com
a superb reference site…

Images collected from various sources via The Google.

Paul Faris – Xenon

Xenon - Pinball Flyer

A Disco-esque Sci-fi flyer produced for the 1980 Bally Midway Pinball Machine “Xenon”.  See The Internet Pinball Database for more info and a full gallery of this machine in all it’s glitzy glory.

Artwork Sourced from The Internet Pinball Database, excellent resource for Data mining absolutely anything related to all things Pinball. http://www.ipdb.org/

Addendum: July 2009

See how Suzanne Ciani designed the games audio – an Omni Special via Youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yC8O5HPvfsg
many thanks for the link there Karl.

“Xevious” Arcade Machine Flyer

Xevious - Arcade Machine Flyer

Atari’s Vertical Scrolling Arcade Shooter “Xevious” from 1981.

Wedge shaped spacecraft flying in and out of frame, a limited colour palette, and heavy black outline, a really good example of early 80′s arcade cabinet art. In retrospect these cabinets are much more exciting than the games themselves especially when measured by todays standards. Xevious was a vertical scrolling shooter, as opposed to the horizontal – not sure which is better as I’ve always been shit at both.

Solar Fox

Solar Fox - Flyer - 1982

Solar Fox - Marquee

Now this is the shit, a Sexy Star-Fighter Pilot and 80′s Arcade graphics, again its the detailing that makes this Battle-of-the-Planets type image so great – love that sinister fox motif on the helmet.

The top image is a flyer advertising the arcade machine and the lower underneath graphic is the marquee – thats the bit at the top of the cabinet. This image has come form klov.com (Killer List of Videogames) again another excellent resource run by proper fans keeping the memory of all this art alive.

Anway Solar Fox was made in 1981 by Bally Midway (US manufacturer) read more about it here.