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Willis Zoo Keeper cpo

I recently got a peek at Brian’s amazing, scratch built Zoo Keeper arcade cabinet, and it got me thinking about this under rated classic arcade game by Taito. Released back in 1982, it combines simple yet challenging game play, with full cabinet artwork. A welcome break from Taito’s typical cabinet scheme. Somewhere in my artwork stash, I knew I had one of these.

Zoo Keeper

This particular Willis replacement overlay does a good job at trying to keep the original feel of the game. With bright colors, fun character’s from the game, and the brick motif, it could actually be used as it was intended – to replace your worn out original overlay. NOS overlays are tough to find and reproduction cpo’s have long been sold out, so this replacement might be your only choice.

As a stand alone piece of arcade art the Willis Zoo Keeper is one of their better attempts. The eyes on the moose make the character look a little nutty, but perhaps the placement of the joystick has something to do with that. A little Disney-esque humor at Willis perhaps? Now when I see the Willis overlay applied to a control panel and put back on the game, I’m not so sure that I like it. I expect to see the original dark color scheme that worked so well, much better than the brightly contrasting light blue and yellow on the reproduction. I wonder if the artists working on these overlays were ever given a chance to look at an actual cabinet? I’m guessing no. While the Willis Zoo Keeper cpo isn’t perfect, when you have a torn up original, it just might have to do.

Now with every Willis overlay the production quality is excellent, and this overlay is no exception. 3M backer paper and adhesive, artwork screen printed on lexan, and die cut joystick and button holes. The replacement overlay was produced in 1983 by Willis and instead of a part number we get, Willis Replacement Overlay Zookeeper. This particular example still has all the die cut holes intact, which gives a better look at the complete artwork. A good one for the archive.

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