Bootleg Arcade Artwork
Bootleg arcade game artwork is a term used to describe any artwork that was made without authorization, licensing or the necessary payments required to secure the rights for a particular video game. This might happen for any number of reasons, the primary one being operator profits. Factory replacement parts were expensive. Factory conversion kits were expensive. Even licensed replacement artwork (think Willis) could get pricey if you had to buy 20 or 30 pieces of art at a time. Why pay for licensed artwork when you can make your own for much less money? Who’s going to see the artwork anyway? Just the customers in your arcade! Importers, distributors, operators and even collectors have made a wide variety of bootleg artwork that can still be found today. The story behind each piece of artwork is a mystery, but with an understanding of the manufacturing process and a little observation, some educated guesses can be made.
Most bootleg artwork was produced with inferior methods, materials and production quality. The artwork lacks the details that today’s arcade collector typically associates with a quality piece of artwork. Bootleg’s were made with cheap paper and adhesives, rarely had die cuts, but might be hand cut, and the artwork was almost always bad. Much of the artwork is crudely drawn or done in a cut-and-paste style. Bootleg artwork is a fascinating glimpse of the arcade industry while it was prosperous.
Additional bootleg pieces will be added as they are found or acquired. If you have any information about the bootleg artwork shown or if you have any bootleg artwork you would like to sell, trade or donate, please contact me to discuss, thanks.