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Original Berzerk Sideart Design via Alan McNeil

Today at Coinopspace.com, Alan McNeil (creator of both Berzerk and Frenzy) stopped by with members and chatted live, answering questions. During the course of the session, he shared a number of images from his personal collection pertaining to Berzerk, including what the original rendering of the Berzerk sideart looked like! Check it out, pretty amazing!

Berzerk prototype sideart / artwork rendering

Stern was always looking to cut costs. They were just entering the video game market with the purchase of a small outfit named URL. As they hired a young designer from Dave Nutting Associates by the name of Alan McNeil, they were looking to produce their first video game hit.

Alan wasn’t going to get the chance to develop his own game at DNA, so he hopped ship and in the process, started a chain of events on Stern’s most popular arcade game of all time.

Berzerk had some small road bumps (joystick, color gameplay), but sold nearly 50,000 units upon release. We all know and recognize the blue and red stenciled artwork, but what if the artwork looked like the original rendering! What artist rendering you ask? This one;

Berzerk Sideart Rendering - Rotheblog

Pretty awesome rendering. I love it. I am not crazy about the color palette, I do love the original blue and red, but how different would Berzerk have looked with this style of artwork on the sides of the cabinet and the bezel.

Thanks for sharing Alan! Check out Alan’s photo gallery at Coinopspace.com for a couple of other related images.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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Comments
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I’m glad they stuck with the Jack Kirby-esque artwork, and the minimal stencil sideart.

That picture oddly reminds me of the box art for Mega Man 1.

I bet it looks great under a blacklight, though…

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@Mike M.: It would have been nice to keep a consistent feel of the artwork throughout the cabinet though, and not a minimalist approach in red and blue for the stencil and then orange and green for the bezel. If Stern had gone with this artwork, it would have had more of an Atari feel.

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Berzerk was a menacing machine. To a 10 year old kid in 1980 that machine was flat out frightening. The icy vocalizations, the cold metal control panel, That weird joystick… I think the mismatch artwork added to the dystopian feel berzerk oozed.. I swear it used to feel like you were getting an electric shock whenever your player died! That machine just said, ‘C’mon, I Dare You’…I do agree that the alternate artwork would have made Berzerk look right at home next to a Centipede or an Asteroids Deluxe..

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@Chris Long: I love this comment. Descriptive, well spoken. Thanks for sharing your perceptions from your childhood.

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That side art would have been awesome, but there is something iconic about the red and blue stencil.

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@Spyridon: It is very iconic. Strength in its simplicity. Even a pattern incorporated with that stencil design would have made for a better bezel IMO.

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Yeah, that bezel really only makes sense on the cabaret version (which is pretty cool looking)

Berzerk Cabaret Photo

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Are there any actual photos of that cabaret cab? If that actually existed, it goes on my all time favorite cabarets list, pretty close to the top…

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@Chris, it exists. Todd Tuckey from TNT Amusements just sold his

Habos Arcade – Berzerk Cabaret

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I love the Berzerk Cabaret. I am a sucker for a full cabinet artwork package. Pretty sucky Todd had to sell such a one of a kind piece to make payroll.

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@Spyridon – Thanks for the link. Wow, I’m so jealous. I’m the type of person that always falls in love with something that there is only one of. Good taste I guess 🙂 I’d love to see that artwork reproduced. Theres as much of a chance of that as me finding a Zaccaria cabinet here in the states. I might even take a crack at it if I had Hi-rez pics. That and Zaxxon side art. but, I digress. @Jeff – My pleasure. I love your site.

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The original artwork is cool. It’s a sad story.
Thanks for the link, and the post.

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I never liked Berzerk. I don’t think it was scary to me. The cabaret artwork is way cool. The original upright artwork looks 30s or 50s sci-fi clunky. 80s-ify it, and it could’ve been rad.

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@ Mike M. Good eye, it reminded me of Jack Kirby as well. That’d be a sick a$$ tattoo. Thanks for the blogs Jeff Rohte.

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The original artwork is cool. I like the Berzerk Cabaret and it goes on my all time favorite cabarets. Are there any actual photos of that cabaret.?

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