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Posts Tagged ‘control panel overlays’

Willis Pac-Man cocktail cpo

Monday, July 9th, 2012

The Willis replacement control panel overlays for Bally Midway’s Pac-Man leaves very little to the imagination. Not that it’s revealing, just that it is very obviously for pac-man. Even a non-arcade enthusiast could probably tell you that. There are slightly different overlays for player one and player two, but the pac-man character eating dots can’t be mistaken for much else. Pretty boring, just like the original control panel overlays. The Willis player one and player two men make a cameo appearance again, reuse that artwork! Not sure what could have been done to make pac cocktail overlays more interesting, maybe a maze, some wacky ghost images, something. A piece of history that I’ll stash in the Willis vault.

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If you have any information about Willis Industries or would just like to comment about the artwork they produced, drop me a line I’d love to talk Willis!

Willis Centipede CPO

Friday, September 30th, 2011

The Willis replacement control panel overlay for Atari Centipede is arguably one of the best CPO’s made by Willis. I’m not talking about finished product quality, as all Willis products had high production standards, I’m talking about the aesthetics. All too often Willis gets bashed for their “crappy” artwork, well this one does the game justice. Perhaps that’s why it’s so hard to find a Willis Centipede overlay that hasn’t already been applied to a control panel. The partnership breakup between Wico and Willis might also be a reason, check out the Wico Centipede overlay here.

Willis Centipede cpo

The artist that worked on this one made an effort to do some color and design matching for the layout so the cpo wouldn’t look out of place on the game. The artist even worked up a cool looking Centipede to add to the CPO, an element that was missing from the original design. Good color, cool Centipede, mushrooms and horizontal stripes. What else could you possibly need? 🙂 I’ve only been able to find a couple of hacked up versions of this overlay and I’m on the lookout for a nice example. Check out my Willis artwork page for more information about Willis and their history.

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I would like to add one of these overlays to the Willis artwork archive. If you have a nice example of this control panel overlay for sale or trade, drop me a line!

NOS Centipede CPO by Wico?

Thursday, September 29th, 2011

At first glance I thought this CPO was a Willis piece. It has an identifying part number listed in the lower right corner, a common characteristic of Willis overlays. The cpo has die-cuts and appears to be manufactured with a quality screen printing process. However, there is no Willis logo anywhere to be found, and the paper backing and adhesive isn’t by 3M. The part number sure does resemble other Willis part number formats, odd.

Wico? Centipede cpo

So I did some digging through my archives to figure this out. I re-read my 2009 post about The Wico Willis partnership. If you check out the catalog pages in the old post you’ll see another centipede overlay clearly listed, and it has the exact same part number. Well, minus the “00” at the end, but otherwise identical. So the same part number exists for two pieces of artwork, but why? Here are a couple examples I have of the overlay from the Wico Willis catalog. Some genius decided it was a good idea to trim off the top and bottom, so its impossible to read any identifying marks, but you get the idea. So what’s the scoop on these?

Willis CentipedeWillis Centipede

My guess is that sometime after the Wico Willis partnership dissolved, Wico decided to make their own control panel overlays (or maybe they had made them previously, I just don’t know). Wico would have used their own printing company, possibly a vendor they had been working with for awhile and that company just didn’t use 3M paper products. They whipped up their own artwork and just kept the catalog part number on the front. I mean if you’ve already sent out a couple thousand product catalogs with the numbers listed, why change them? Just replace the product with your own and keep selling. Seems reasonable to me.

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If you know anything about the relationship between Wico and Willis, or any information about either company, I’d love to learn more. This piece of arcade artwork gets added to the growing archive. Game on!

Willis Frogger cpo

Monday, January 25th, 2010

OK, simple frog pattern on the right to mimic the original tire tracks, pointing frogs around the joystick to indicate jump direction, got it. But what’s going on with that background? Is that supposed to be pavement or some kind of Rorschach test? I keep staring at it with my eyes a little squinted, hoping the secret message or shape might appear before my eyes.

It does bear the Willis name and even a part no, so there is no doubt that this version is the actual Willis Frogger reproduction overlay. It will hop on over to the archive. Enjoy!

Willis Tron cpo

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

The Tron control panel overlay by Willis was a decent attempt at capturing the feel of the original cabinet design in an aftermarket product. A step up from some of the random artwork jumbles commonly seen in bootleg artwork, this cpo was produced by Willis in 1983 with quality materials and an attention to detail. While the artwork is vaguely similar to the original overlay, there are some notable differences. (more…)

The Deep NOS control panel overlay

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Would I have walked up to a machine with this overlay proudly displayed, or just run away screaming? While sharks and explosions are enough to attract most pre-teen boys, I think even back in the 80’s I would have realized this was just plain awful. Quarters were precious back then and you had to choose your games wisely! (more…)

Ghosts ‘n Goblins bootleg cpo

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Showcasing that nice Ghosts ‘n Goblins bootleg bezel (here) got me thinking about the control panel overlay. I was pretty sure I had one, so I dug through my stash of artwork and pulled out this little gem, a bootleg Ghosts ‘n Goblins cpo. Not quite a matching set… (more…)

Willis Galaga CPO

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Of all the funky Willis control panel overlays that exist, this has got to be my all time favorite. The fabulous 70’s color scheme with swirls and patterns that jump right out of the famous sesame street 12345 song. You just can’t go wrong with this particular piece of arcade nostalgia. (more…)

Mad Planets control panel rebuild

Saturday, June 27th, 2009

During our very successful game party last year, my Mad Planets decided to malfunction. The fire button died and made the game impossible to play. I’ve been delaying the repairs because of my schedule (more…)

A little Willis history uncovered

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

I’m a big fan of Willis artwork and consider myself to be an arcade history buff too. Unfortunately because of collector attitude towards most things Willis, these two subjects rarely meet. I would like to change that just a little. A recent eBay win has shed some light on the history of Willis and that companies place in arcade history. While this information may be known to some of the die hard collectors out there, it was new information to me. My enlightenment started with this little piece of documentation:

willis catalog

A true piece of 80’s cheese, for sure, but if you can get past the airbrushed silkscreen fantasy cover, you will find a few nuggets of classic arcade history. (more…)