Review by Kevin Steele
As I've mentioned many times, the final touch in creating the "perfect" MAME arcade cabinet often comes down to the artwork. While you can try to whip something up using your home inkjet, there's just nothing like professionally done arcade artwork.
MAME Marquees offers a wide variety of artwork for MAME cabs, including sideart, control panel overlays, and marquees (of course!). Each of their products is created using a different production method, one that's best suited for the specific application in mind.
According to Scott Prior of MAME Marquees, all of their artwork is printed at a very high resolution, offering a noticable difference from other print processes that use print settings of 720dpi or lower. The printing is certainly top quality, as I could not find a trace of dottiness or jagged edges.
Control Panel Overlays
According to Scott of MAME Marquees, their control panel overlays are printed on outdoor adhesive backed vinyl, using 100yr Archival ink. The overlays are then laminated with a tough polycarbonate laminate (basically the same thing bulletproof glass is made of, in a much thinner form).
The surface has a nice texture to it, one that helps to hide fingerprints. The overlay is very thick feeling, and I have no doubt about the durability.
The marquees from MAME Marquees are a bit unique. As Scott puts it, "I tested a lot of materials, from Mylar to back lit films and everything either let too much light through or not enough or did not let me print at a high dpi. I finally came across the material I use which lets me print at a very high dpi and lets just enough light thru to make the colors come alive."
Scott's assessment is right on the money. The marquee is noticably darker than my current marquee, and yet it does provide enough light to make the colors "pop." The overall darkness of the marquee helps to highlight the white parts around the text, creating a nice "neon" effect.
It's a very nice look, and while it is definitely darker than the printing process used by my current marquee, it does produce a nice effect. The printing surface of the marquee feels a little bit "tacky," but since the marquee will be mounted between glass or plexiglass, it's not a major issue.
The sideart is printed using the same techniques as the control panel overlay, however a UV luster laminate is used instead. Once again, the end results are impressive, especially with the always incredible "PixelHugger" doing the artwork.
The finish on the sideart is somewhere between "semi-gloss" and "semi-flat," and feels quite durable. The vinyl is fairly thick, and the adhesive has a strong "tack" to it. The print job is very impressive, with smooth color graduations and not a trace of pixillation anywhere.
I have to say that I'm impressed with the artwork from MAME Marquees. Their printing techniques produce some very nice final products, and the laminates looks to keep the artwork looking nice even if an arcade cabinet gets a lot of use and abuse. The control panel overlay, in particular, seems well armored for encounters with the typical arcade player!
Their prices range according to the product and the size, from about $19.95 for a marquee all the way up to $62.95 for sideart. The prices are very reasonable for the quality of the product. MAME Marquees also has other cabinet art available, such as bezels, cocktail table art, and even coin door stickers.
MAME Marquees can also take your custom arcade artwork and print it, as well: "I get a lot of people who design their own artwork," says Scott. "I always print out a small version to make sure it looks good and backlights well, if it does not, I work with my customers to change the colors, darken it, or do what ever it takes to get it perfect. I profile my printers at least once a month so I can make sure the colors are just right for my customers."
Throw in a lifetime warranty on fading, and you've obviously got a company that cares about producing a top-notch product.