The Beautiful Art Of Arcade Video Games

Since for most of arcade gaming's heyday graphics weren't exactly easy on the eye, to lure customers in companies often had to rely on artwork to make a sale.

The biggest, grandest works were reserved for the side of the cabinet, but since they usually weren't seen (with machines stacked side-by-side), it was the "marquee" that helped make a game stand out. And as you're about to see, that meant there was usually some badass art on the marquee.

The marquee was the piece of paper at the top of the cabinet that slid into the "hood" of an arcade machine, and would be backlit when the cabinet was powered up. On "themed" cabinets, as in ones that had custom-painted sides, that theme would carry on into the marquee, helping create one enormous piece of advertising and branding.

They were also useful, however, on cabinets that could have their games swapped out, as in those cases the art on the marquee was usually the only thing identifying the machine through the crowd of an arcade.

These illustrations, courtesy of the The Killer List of Video Games and emdkay (via sci-fi-o-rama), showcase some of the best in marquee art from the 1970's to the 1990's.

If any of it takes your fancy - and there's something wrong with you if at least one of them doesn't - emdkay sell a bunch of them.


Comments

    Galaxian is still one of my favs.

    WOO ZAXXON

    (When you're looking for nominees for Insightful Comment of The Year 2011 Mark, look no further than right here. You're welcome.)

    Sweet nostalgia.

    They don't make 'em like they used to.

    Too bad the majority of Aussie cabs just had generic artwork :/

    I AM SINISTAR!

    LAI did some great Australian Only artwork. Would be a great article if you could get someone into their office with a flatbed scanner. (If they didn't turf what they had 20 years ago already)

    I used to buy up pretty big on art whenever I went out to the warehouse near Breakfast Creek. Some games like "P.O.W. - Prisoners of War" LAI did really good work with the screenprinting - the "Metal Slug 2" artwork has to be their finest work though. Reused the elements of the NEO-GEO mini-marquee perfectly as is a much better marquee than the US versions.

    As for the generics, you need to remember Australia was neither trucking distance from the US or Japan, so most cabinets were made here, and only the PCBs freighted over.

    I work at LAI, might be able to find something.

    Out Run. nough' said.

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