“Enviro-Graphics, an exciting new concept for the amusement industry. The Enviro-Graphics kit includes all the decorative treatment, signage, and support material required for your arcade, game room or game location. These products are designed and produced by the premier game art company in America – Willis Industries.” A bold statement from a company that the classic arcade collecting community tends to frown upon. But take a look at the brochure and you might think twice.
I had never heard of Enviro-graphics, or known about artwork packages that operators could use to decorate their arcade. I was too busy finding my next quarter for that new game, or waiting for the 6 tokens for $1 special at Aladdin’s Castle. Who paid attention to the décor? I vaguely recall the way my local arcade looked back in the day, with a simple neon exterior, lots of games inside and a pseudo space theme. The atmosphere did contribute to the overall memory, though my strongest memory seems to be of dark and smokey spaces, with lots of flashing lights and sounds! Even so, perhaps Willis had a good idea. Token signs, out of order signs, score boards, event schedules, specials, rules…all things the operator needed to communicate with his customers. The random space scene posters remind me more of the black light posters you’d find at Spencer’s gifts in the mall, along side the edible underwear. The brochure states that the posters were directly screened onto 1/8″ thick foam board, which made them more durable and easier to hang, but is also probably why so few (if any) survive today. Once they came off the wall if you couldn’t store them, they got tossed.
One thing I noticed is the apparent change in relationship between Willis and Wico around the time this stuff was being produced. If you recall my post about the partnership they shared, apparently it didn’t last or just wasn’t working out. Whatever the reasons, the brochure above is a lot different from the unopened one you see below. Dated September 10, 1982 it has the Wico name and distributor information prominently displayed. A few additional pieces of artwork can also be seen on the back. The almost identical brochure above has all traces of the Wico name removed and “Now operators can buy direct from Willis”. Interesting move and even before the industry crash really took hold. If you can shed any light on this relationship or if you have a Willis Enviro-Graphics poster you’d like to sell, let me know.