Arcade Game Keychains Update

The classic arcade keychains are ready to roll. Brian Jones finished up a couple of his first samples, Dig Dug and Zookeeper and the detail is phenomenal. I was really amazed at how well the keychains represent the actual cabinets and the fine detail Brian was able to achieve.

Here is the original announcement post for this arcade cabinet artwork themed project and here are couple of photos of the cabinet artwork for your viewing pleasure.

A blank keychain in the jig, ready to be etched with the laser.

Blank Keychain in the Jig

First, Brian sprays the aluminum blank with a laser reactive chemical that turns the blank a tan color (as you can see above). The laser then burns the sprayed on coating, which in turn has a permanent reaction and marking effect on the metal that leaves a dark grey etch behind.

Laser etching a Zookeeper keychain.

Zookeeper Arcade Cabinet Keychain

The Zookeeper in particular will be a sight to see. The laser can etch down to 1 micron, which is the width of the beam itself, meaning the detail is so fine that you will be able to see the whisker’s on the lion’s nose. The one thing you won’t have to worry about is the day to day abuse this little buddy will take. Brian said when he made one mistake, it took a 220 grit sandpaper and elbow grease to return it to a blank aluminum.

And the laser etching a Dig Dug keychain

Dig Dug Cabinet Keychain

A photo of Brian washing the reactive chemical off the keychain after being etched. This photo really gives you an idea of how big these arcade cabinet keychains actually are.

Blank Keychain in the Jig

The final keychain product.

Blank Keychain in the Jig

When I first saw the photos, I was really blown away by the solid colors for the artwork. I was essentially picturing a fine line outline of the artwork that would emulate the artwork but not so closely portray the original cabinet. I did not think there would be such great contrast, but that is what can be achieved when combining the laser with the chemical. But you do notice, that the artwork is represented using negative and positive space resolved by the artist – something Brian had to do in each of the vector files. As an example, here is what the artwork looks like for the Centipede keychain;

Dig Dug Cabinet Keychain

So, instead of the mushrooms having yellow around them, there could have been a white outline, or it could be a black outline, and that is a artistic decision the editor has to make to make sure the imagry is preserved and iconic, but also a combination of the two spaces that translates and contrasts best onto the blank keychain. That may mean making some fills a little larger, some strokes thinner or thicker, or maybe even dropping some piece of the artwork altogether.

Arcade Keychain Pricing

He’s ready to sell the Dig Dug and Zookeeper keychain designs, and more are to come. The price hasn’t been fixed yet, but it won’t be more than $12.99 per piece, and will probably range anywhere from $9.99 to $12.99. If the $10 price is offered, is will probably be given as an incentive for advanced orders.

Email Brian directly through Gamestencils.com to let him know you want one. You might be able to make requests if the artwork you are interested in is for an Atari, Taito, or Williams cabinet. I am sure this is also limited to what vector artwork is already available for input into the laser, but it is worth checking out with Brian himself to be sure.

Check back soon, I should have a link soon to a page for ordering in Brian’s website.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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These look great! I wasn’t sure what they would look like by seeing the blanks from your other post, but now I definitely want one. I’ll probably hold off for a Centipede if he does do those.

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I know, these keychains rock. I dropped a solider when I saw the price. Here I thought…the price for these keychains would make them a total arcade novelty item, but $13 tops is really cheap. You can’t beat an engraved arcade keychain, with a ton of options for artwork, for just over $10. I would guess, if you can get a preorder in and you don’t care about matching art with a cabinet, you could just retrofit some favorite piece of art to fit on the most generic of cab designs, like the Taito. Like, if you wanted to do Baby Pacman or something….

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I think I’m going to wait a bit and see what other ones he makes. If I had tools like that I’d be engraving everything in the house. 🙂

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Hiya.. just so everyone knows what’s in the works…

The short list
Centipede, Robotron and Taito (frontline style)

Medium list
Moon Patrol, Sinistar, Food Fight

Long list
Midway cab styles, Arabian, Kangaroo

Pedes are actually available now, I just don’t have any of them pre engraved at this point. Same for Moon patrol.

These came out pretty cool, been working on them for a few months to perfect everything. it’s a long process including someone willing to let me rent laser time for metal cutting (runs 7 cents a SECOND cost wise). Hopefully people like em 🙂


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As more are made, I know I’d want a Tron, Pac-Man, Joust, Donkey Kong…

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@For all replies:

When I posted about these arcade keychains, I had meant to report and to compliment Brian on his work. Brian planned wisely and from scratch developed a really awesome product. He chose three of the most popular arcade cabinet shapes that allowed him the most flexibility for producing arcade cabinet artwork and I think that decision is worth supporting in a financial fashion, whether these are absolute personal favorite games or not. Granted, I have my favorite arcade games, but I dreamed within the bounds he chose and hopefully we can all think that way too. Let’s get excited about the keychain options we have for Atari, Williams and Taito cabinets (because there are plenty) and not what we don’t have available and hope that Brian doesn’t feel like we discounted his efforts in any way by second guessing his planning.

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