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Posts Tagged ‘video game artwork’

Q*bert bootleg artwork added, only took two years!

Friday, July 20th, 2012

One thing I’ve learned in this hobby is that patience really pays off in the long run. Sometimes a new or interesting piece of arcade artwork will pop up for sale on eBay and you just-gotta-have-it! Letting your emotions control your buying decisions can be an expensive proposition, so I like to evaluate the piece and determine the maximum I’ll spend. Then I set my snipe software and walk away. If I win great, if not I’ve learned that there is a good chance a similar item will show up for sale. I’ll wait it out. OF course this technique won’t work with any rare NOS artwork, so don’t let that stuff slip away :-)

Q*bert cpo

Take this little gem for example. Pretty easy to recognize, it’s Q*bert! At least I think so… The nose isn’t quite right, those feet are too long, the swearing balloon text is all mixed up and the other characters have issues as well. Insert token to continue…

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.

Wico? CentipedeWico? CentipedeWico? CentipedeWico? CentipedeWico? CentipedeWico? Centipede

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 Asteroids UR cpo

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Way back in 1979, Atari released the soon-to-be-a-hit game Asteroids to the coin-operated world. I love its simple yet addictive game play, beautiful side art and huge, easy to use control panel. Big enough to set a drink on if you dared. This popular, money making game took lots of abuse on location. Worn, crappy looking games didn’t make as much money as newer looking ones, so what did operators do? When the artwork has been worn away by scores of eager gamers, it’s time to paint or replace.

Asteroids cpo

Operators were notorious tight wads and didn’t like to spend money on OEM parts, often turning to Willis for their more cost effective products. While not always the best looking, they were better than a worn or ratty original (in the ops eyes at least). So here we have the Willis Asteroids cpo, released in 1981, and measuring in at a whopping 26-1/4″ x 23-1/3″. This thing will completely cover the original metal control panel.

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 button holes. This particular example still has the majority of the die cut outs in place. My favorite little Willis men adorn the p1 and p2 buttons, but there isn’t much more to say about this one. Very simplistic, kinda boring, and lacking in color variety. I’ll add it to the archive anyway.

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NOS Champion Boxing cpo

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

This NOS overlay came with the batch of donated artwork from a fellow collector, check out the original post if you missed it. At first I wasn’t sure what game this cpo was for as I couldn’t find any information about Video Ware, Inc., at the usual sources. I posted a few online inquiries and quickly had an answer.

boxing cpo

The control panel overlay is for Champion Boxing by Video Ware, Inc., licensed by Sega. This game was released in 1983 by Sega, likely in kit form only for conversions. I don’t recall seeing the game on location and considering that Nintendo’s Punch Out was released less than a year later, I imagine Champion Boxing did poorly. (more…)

Bootleg Elevator Action cpo

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Another collector tipped me off about a Willis Elevator Action overlay for sale at the Eldorado Games website. I bought it because I had never seen the Willis version before, only the bootleg Spy Agent version. Well, I still haven’t seen one because this overlay is a bootleg.

EA cpo

How do I know? There are lots of reasons, the first one is that Willis never copied existing work. (more…)

NOS space theme cpo

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Not the most exciting piece, but even boring control panel overlays have a place in arcade history. If you hung out at the arcade back in the late 80′s or early 90′s, you probably saw more than your fair share of generic control panel overlays.

space cpo

This one is a standard space theme overlay, meant to be used with any number of space conversion kits or simply as a cheaper alternative to the pricey OEM* replacement parts. (more…)

Willis Popeye cpo

Sunday, February 28th, 2010

If you haven’t seen it before, this is the Willis version of the Nintendo Popeye control panel overlay. Produced using high quality 3M paper with die cut holes and four or more colors in the silk screening, it was certainly a quality product.

popeye cpo

However, the original was reversed screened on lexan and the artwork was a little more refined than the Willis attempt. I keep thinking about prismacolor markers when I look at the details. (more…)

Galaga reproduction cpo

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Not too exciting I suppose, but Galaga is a true classic and worthy of recognition, even if it’s just about the cpo. This is one of the Namco reproduction overlays that I picked up awhile back to use in my Gaplus project. I have a Galaga UR and wanted to add Gaplus to the cab. I figured I could just install one of the double jamma adapters from Mikes Arcade and have both games in my Galaga cabinet. Gaplus uses an 8-way joystick and I wasn’t about to hack up my nice Galaga panel, so I picked up a crappy one and cut a hole for the 8-way joystick. (see that post here) This overlay is destined for that panel, if I ever get around to finishing the project!

Willis Scramble cpo

Saturday, January 2nd, 2010

Stern did a nice job with the artwork on Scramble, a fun scrolling horizontal shooter. The stainless steel panel, the partially suggestive bezel, stenciled side art and the marquee blend to give the bright yellow cabinet a unified look. While the artists at Willis tried, I think they missed the boat on this replacement overlay. Using the stylized “worms” from the marquee isn’t very original and gives the cpo a flat and boring appearance. Great game, not so great overlay. At least the piece is in excellent shape and will make a good addition to the archive.