The artcade.co.uk website will go live 48hrs after the Kickstarter campaign ends, where you'll still be able to back the project and get detailed updates about what's happening.
Here's the plan...
What I want to create is a beautiful hardcover book with 200+ pages absolutely full of the spectacular arcade machine artwork that was such an integral part of growing up in the 80s and early 90s. It'll be something to browse through and make discoveries, just like wandering around an arcade as a kid, never knowing what gem of a game you might find lurking around the corner. It'll be fairly unstructured, rather than a reference guide; full of familiar favourites and 'Wow, I'd forgotten all about that one!' moments.
It'll be a limited edition, first run and will have a bound-in page identifying it as such. Each one will be individually numbered and any future print runs will be easy to distinguish from these very special copies, made possible by some very special people.
This book just needs to exist and as the custodian of this archive of incredible images, I'm asking for your help to make it happen. I've tried to create rewards to suit as many potential backers as possible; from a basic digital download of the book, through to actively participating in curating the content and some advertising opportunities for businesses.
One of the important questions that often comes up is that of copyright and trademarks. Many of the companies that produced or originally licensed these games are sadly now gone, their trademarks expired. Others have been acquired, broken up or re-licensed multiple times and tracing the current legal owner has been a mammoth task. At this point, I either have written permission, a formal license or confirmation of trademark expiry for all of the images I intend to use. Technically, it's not necessary to obtain permission to use the images in an art book, but it seemed like the right thing to do.
One thing I'd love to be able to do is credit the original creator of each piece of work, but the vast majority were never signed, attributed or the name of the artist even recorded by the game manufacturer. The best I can do is try to get their work out into the world, where it can be seen and appreciated by as many people as possible. To that end, I've already applied for a small publishers ISBN registration and I'll provide a free copy of the book to any public library that requests one.
Here's the story...
A few years ago I acquired a massive archive of original arcade game artwork, collected by a Hollywood movie props company over the last 40 years. They were closing their doors permanently and the collection was in danger of being lost forever.
I couldn't let that happen.
So, I sold off a whole bunch of stuff (including my arcade machines) and raised the cash required to buy the archive. It was very expensive but turned out to be a worthwhile sacrifice.
Most of the 4,000+ images on the drives are high resolution, multi-part scans of the artwork taken from original arcade game cabinets and as you can probably imagine, many of those machines weren't in the best condition after years of abuse in arcades across America. I'd previously bought another archive of arcade artwork (from a restoration workshop) that I shared with the retro gaming community, but these images far exceed the quality and range of that collection. I've spent well over a thousand hours reassembling, restoring and preparing the marquee, bezel, control panel and side art images for printing.
I've had some fun creating cool framed artwork using some of the marquee scans and they're one of the rewards available to backers.
When the idea to put them in a book hit me, having backed a few projects in the past, Kickstarter was the obvious choice to turn the idea into a reality.
I'm into classic arcade gaming, pop art and comic book art and my hope is that this book will appeal to gamers, pop culture vultures and art fans alike. These amazing images have been overlooked for too long; they should be considered as art in their own right and that's why this project exists.
When I was a kid, I didn't have a lot of cash and that meant I spent more time wandering around the arcades looking at the machines than I did playing the games. Maybe that's why this artwork means so much to me.
Here's where I am...
Right now, I have final quotes and timescales for the printing and finishing of the books, samples of the printers' output, the vast majority of the images in a ready-to-print format and some layout ideas for the pages...
I'm happy to say that I have a small band of willing helpers to assist with the packaging and shipping of the book in Europe and a reliable distribution partner in the USA, ready to take care of shipping the books out to backers over there. I'll ship to anyone, anywhere on the planet!
Here's what I need...
This project is ready to go - it just needs your support!
Want a custom sign for the wall of your games room or office? Check out the new reward :-)
Here's an example of one I made for the guys at GamesYouLoved.com
This is something a bit special...
It's a professionally framed art print of the Star Wars arcade cockpit backglass and an ORIGINAL production-used storyboard page from Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (from my personal collection)
You get the arcade art AND a piece of movie history in one amazing package!
The frame is anodised aluminium, the CNC-cut double mount boards are conservation quality and the whole thing is mounted behind invisible gallery/museum quality UV protective glass. It really is a one-of-a-kind piece and comes with a Certificate of Authenticity from a reputable prop supplier.
You'll also get 2 copies of the book with your name in it, the signed CD from The British IBM and the exclusive 'I made it happen!' t-shirt.
Even if it's not for you, maybe you know a hardcore Star Wars fan who'd like it?
It's available as a one-off reward NOW!
Reward Power-Up: The EXCLUSIVE Artcade T-Shirt!
So many people have asked about t-shirts that I felt compelled to do something about it so, thanks to the brilliant Zombie Media, here they are!
Here's the deal:
Every existing backer at the £40 level and above will get a shirt added to their existing reward (just like a stretch goal). I've created a new reward level that includes the exclusive t-shirt and a copy of the book with your name in it at £40. If you've backed the project at the £25 level and want the shirt, you can upgrade your pledge and select the new reward level to get one too. In essence, I've added a t-shirt to the £40+ levels but Kickstarter doesn't allow changes to existing rewards so, this is my way of doing it!
The shirt will come in the two colours shown above and will only ever be made available to you guys. Nobody else gets one. That's why it says:
I MADE IT HAPPEN!
Free bonus CD!
Now that the total backing for the project has hit £12,000, every copy of the book will come with a specially produced and signed CD copy of The British IBM's acclaimed debut album!
This album has pretty much been the unofficial soundtrack to the whole project, right from the very beginning. Every time I sit down in front of my Mac to do more work restoring the artwork for the book, The British IBM is on 'shuffle/repeat' :-) I find it inspiring, uplifting and it helps me to focus on getting stuff done. You can hear some of the tracks by clicking on the album cover below:
Aidy, David and Paul's unique blend of vintage-computing inspired indie rock is something that I really want to share with you all, and the boys have really committed to the project by offering their music as part of this stretch goal - thank you very, very much gentlemen.
A selection of the games (and there's more!) I have print-ready artwork for are:
- 1943: The Battle of Midway
- Alien vs Predator
- Altered Beast
- Area 51
- Asteroids Deluxe
- Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja
- Black Tiger
- Bomb Jack
- Bubble Bobble
- Burger Time
- Captain America and The Avengers
- Cruisin' USA
- Crystal Castles
- Daytona USA
- Death Race
- Defender Prototype
- Dig Dug
- Discs of Tron
- Donkey Kong
- Donkey Kong Jr.
- Double Dragon
- Dragon's Lair
- Elevator Action
- Empire Strikes Back
- Final Fight
- Ghosts n Goblins
- Ghouls n Ghosts
- Golden Axe
- Lethal Enforcers
- Major Havoc
- Mario Brothers
- Missile Command
- Moon Cresta
- Moon Patrol
- Mortal Kombat
- Mr Do
- Ms. Pac-Man
- NBA Jam
- NFL Blitz
- Out Run
- Paper Boy
- Pole Position
- Primal Rage
- Punch Out
- Rally X
- Road Blasters
- Robotron 2084
- Smash TV
- Space Ace
- Space Duel
- Space Invaders
- Spy Hunter
- Star Wars
- Street Fighter
- Street Fighter II
- Super Cobra
- Terminator 2: Judgement Day
- Time Pilot
- Tin Star
- Track and Field
- Warp Warp
- Wizard of Wor
Feel free to get in touch and let me know what else should be on the list!
Risks and challenges
Having already acquired the images and prepared most of them for printing, agreed pricing with printers (and with backup printers, just in case!) and garnered the support of the license holders where appropriate, this project is looking like quite a low risk venture right now :-)
Distribution of the books is the only real challenge. If the support for the project is significantly greater than expected, it may make sense to split the distribution between the US and the UK, to reduce the burden and ecological impact of shipping individual books across 3,500 miles of ocean!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (29 days)