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Tailgunner arcade game

Contributed by Graham Toal on Feb 7th, 2021. Artwork published in .
    Tailgunner arcade game 1
    Source: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com Morphy Auctions. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Tailgunner is a monochrome vector arcade game. The single-player shooter game was designed by Dan Sunday and Larry Rosenthal at Vectorbeam and published by Cinematronics in 1979.

    The game logo on the front of the cabinet features a very rare typeface. It’s Vincent, here used with a hyper-extended g. The geometric typeface constructed from straights and quarter circles was drawn by Trevor Vincent, then a London-based freelance graphic designer, reflecting his interest in Art Deco. In 1973, the typeface was among the winners of a competition held by Letraset and produced for dry transfer lettering.

    The spaceship decal on the sides presents the name in another futuristic 1970s face. It’s the multiline Stack. Designed in 1969 by Les Lawrence, it was first released by Face Photosetting around 1979, and subsequently adopted by Photo-Lettering, Mecanorma, Letraset, and Chartpak. The same design also appears on a flyer and the manual.

    Tailgunner arcade game 2
    Source: https://auctions.morphyauctions.com Morphy Auctions. License: All Rights Reserved.
    Cover of the service manual, with a 1979 date inside. The Cinematronics Inc. logo uses . A pdf of the manual is available from Museum of the Game.
    Photo: Graham Toal. License: All Rights Reserved.

    Cover of the service manual, with a 1979 date inside. The Cinematronics Inc. logo uses Eurostile. A pdf of the manual is available from Museum of the Game.

    A colored version of the spaceship image as seen on a flyer. Secondary type in  Italic.
    Photo: Graham Toal. License: All Rights Reserved.

    A colored version of the spaceship image as seen on a flyer. Secondary type in Helvetica Italic.

    The back of the flyer lists the player and operator features and depicts the cabinet with the logo in Vincent.
    Source: https://flyers.arcade-museum.com The Arcade Flyer Archive. License: All Rights Reserved.

    The back of the flyer lists the player and operator features and depicts the cabinet with the logo in Vincent.

    Typefaces

    • Vincent
    • Stack
    • Eurostile
    • Helvetica

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    3 Comments on “Tailgunner arcade game”

    1. Thank you very much, Graham! This is the first period use of Vincent documented in our collection. Here are images of two Letragraphica sheets, for LG1624 Vincent (lowercase) 72pt 15.3mm and LG1625 Vincent (upper case and numerals) 60pt 12.8mm. To my knowledge, there’s no digital version of Vincent.

      Letragraphica sheets LG1624 and LG1625. Photos by hunting7on (edited).

    2. In 2019, on the 40th anniversary of Tailgunner, Norbert Kehrer ported the game to JavaScript “by using Graham Toal’s automatically translated machine language code and adding a JavaScript environment for the graphics and sound rendering.”

    3. I wonder whether the designers had seen the cover of “The Force” by French disco act Droïds from 1977.

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