Week 3: Practice makes perfect, or not.
At this point I felt that I had learned enough in G.I.M.P. to be able to make what I wanted. I went ahead and purchased the graphics kit which in return gave me the templates I needed to make my design. And for the design, I had landed on what I wanted to do… I asked myself, “What would it look like if Nintendo released a Zelda arcade cabinet back in the late 1980’s?”. I took inspiration from other Nintendo cabinets of the era; Donkey Kong, Super Mario, Play Choice 10, and went to work.
I used art mostly from the NES and Famicom versions of the original Legend of Zelda. The reason I say “mostly” is because I needed a few pieces that didn’t exist in the manuals. First there is the image of Gannon. His absence in the manual is something Nintendo did intentionally to create a sense of mystery in the game. He is mentioned in the manual, but no picture is found. The picture I used seemed to fit well with the Link and Zelda I used, so I went with it. I also used some fan made art for the enemies sprinkled throughout the design. This was done because the manual art for the enemies was different than what I wanted.
The lack of actual in-game images was done intentionally. This was common practice, as arcade cabinets are really nothing more than immobile salesmen, trying to sell you their product while the competition stands right next to them. If you saw what some games actually looked like, you would be less inclined to buy, even for 25 cents…
There were 2 things that I had originally wanted to do differently, but because of the shape and size of the cabinet I just couldn’t. The first would be a “How to Play” section on the control panel, but with 16 buttons and 2 joysticks on it, there just wasn’t enough room. The second was the side design. Nintendo cabinets of that time were squarer and had more surface space. Since tube monitors are no longer a thing, the bartop has more slanted sides, and less room.
The last thing worth mentioning are the colors I chose. Most of you will think of green and gold when I say Zelda, which also happens to be the colors of a certain football team. Needless to say, extra care was taken to make sure it would be recognized as a Zelda cabinet, and not a Packer cabinet.
When I finally had everything the way I wanted, (marquee, both sides, control panel, button panel, and bezel), I emailed my design to Ryan at Game Room Solutions. I received a response shortly after telling me the sides and the marquee would not work since the images were not layered. Awesome! The lesson to be learned here is that in order to print the designs the template must be removed. When I combined, or flattened all the layers, it made it impossible to this. So I went ahead and redid the three pieces, submitted them again, and this time everything was approved. At this point I had had enough graphic design for a while, and took a sigh of relief when the go ahead was given. I ordered the cabinet, and called it good for the week.
Time Spent This Week: 14 Hours (10 hours designing the graphics, 4 hours kicking myself and redesigning the graphics)
Total Time Spent: 27 Hours