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A field guide to classic arcade design

Komboh Field Guide

The traditional American arcade may have died out, but two designers have paid homage to a vital part of video game history through a series of illustrations. Michael Mateyko and Hans Thiessen are collectively Komboh, a design and illustration firm based in Calgary, Canada. In addition to "paying the bills" with work for publications and companies, Komboh also creates and sells artworks on its site.

The Amusement Field Identification Kit is a fun series of annotated diagrams of iconic cabinets. Classics like Donkey Kong, Pong, Ms. Pac-Man, and SNK's Neo-Geo MVS are all faithfully reimagined in the style of a field manual. Similar to the guides for car enthusiasts and the military, each cabinet's outline is accurately portrayed, while annotations give details on the specs and key features.

The full set of illustrations is an arcade enthusiast's dream; if you'd like to purchase any of the prints they're available from Komboh's store in a variety of sizes, with prices ranging from $20 to $60.

  • 'Pong' and 'Space Invaders Part II'

    Atari's <i>Pong</i> and Taito's <i>Space Invaders</i> were two early arcade success stories. The cocktail table version of <i>Space Invaders</i> stands as one of the most iconic designs in the medium's short history.

    Atari's Pong and Taito's Space Invaders were two early arcade success stories. The cocktail table version of Space Invaders stands as one of the most iconic designs in the medium's short history.

  • 'Donkey Kong' and 'Robotron: 2084'

    Nintendo's <i>Donkey Kong</i> was the company's first major success, and thanks to its difficulty is <a href=still played by enthusiasts to this day. Robotron: 2084 is a fixed-perspective shooter that brought a number of innovations, including the use of twin control sticks — one for movement, and another for shooting." src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/entry_photo_images/9590303/donk_robo_1020_verge_super_wide.jpg" title="'Donkey Kong' and 'Robotron: 2084'">

    Nintendo's Donkey Kong was the company's first major success, and thanks to its difficulty is still played by enthusiasts to this day. Robotron: 2084 is a fixed-perspective shooter that brought a number of innovations, including the use of twin control sticks — one for movement, and another for shooting.

  • 'Ms. Pac-Man' and Nintendo Vs. System

    Midway's US-produced <i>Ms. Pac-Man</i> built on the success of Namco's original classic by adding a bow and some lipstick to the first game's hero to create his female doppelgänger. Nintendo's Vs. System was a two-player cabinet with dual screens. It played host to a number of NES ports, foreshadowing a shift in gaming, as play started to move from arcades to living rooms.

    Midway's US-produced Ms. Pac-Man built on the success of Namco's original classic by adding a bow and some lipstick to the first game's hero to create his female doppelgänger. Nintendo's Vs. System was a two-player cabinet with dual screens. It played host to a number of NES ports, foreshadowing a shift in gaming, as play started to move from arcades to living rooms.

  • SNK Neo-Geo MVS and Taito Vewlix L

    SNK's Neo-Geo MVS cabinet featured a slot that allowed arcades to switch in new games without replacing the cabinet. Taito's Vewlix system is one cabinet you'll still find in many arcades. It features standard PC parts inside and even runs Windows.

    SNK's Neo-Geo MVS cabinet featured a slot that allowed arcades to switch in new games without replacing the cabinet. Taito's Vewlix system is one cabinet you'll still find in many arcades. It features standard PC parts inside and even runs Windows.

All images copyright and published with the permission of Komboh. More examples of Komboh's work can be found on its website, and you can purchase each individual arcade cabinet print from the company's store.

Rich McCormick contributed to this article.


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