A sign, erected outside various businesses to use as advertising. Churches have been known to use this space to put religious messages (i.e. Seven Days Without Prayer Makes One Weak), theaters advertise the latest movies, and grocery stores display that week's sale items. Rather useful, as it is free advertising space and will, supposedly, attract foot traffic, which is very important to businesses for hooking new customers.

In British English, a large tent, usually rented, used for special events - garden parties, exhibitions, wedding receptions, or to house the bar at outdoor events. The American meaning of a big sign with movable letters is unknown in the UK, making the naming of the <MARQUEE> HTML tag completely bewildering to Brits.

On an arcade game the marquee is the nameplate at the top of the cabinet (outside of the US, this part is sometimes called the header). They usually have light fixtures behind them to help call attention to the games title.

There are several different types of marquees available.

  • Glass marquee
    These are fairly rare. They are a sheet of glass with the graphics silk screened onto them. The industry pretty much stopped using these after about 1982 or so (but lots of early dedicated cabinets had them).
  • Plastic marquee
    These are a sheet of plastic with the graphics silk screened on. These are also fairly uncommon on modern machines (the only modern machine I can think of that has this kind is the Neo-Geo MVS which also has little slots cut out it for "mini marquees" that show the titles currently available on the machine).
  • Plexiglass marquee
    This is the most common type. The graphics are printed onto a thin sheet of plastic, which is then placed behind a sheet of plexiglass. Almost all modern games use this type of marquee. These come oversized, and are meant to be cut down to fit your machine.
  • Paper marquee
    This is as cheap as you can get. The graphics are printed onto thick paper, which is meant to be displayed behind plexiglass (fairly uncommon).
  • Sticker marquee
    Nintendo Vs. Unisystem games came with big stickers for marquees. They are installed over the prexisting marquee (these do not let a lot of light through).
  • Custom marquee
    A few games had odd marquee styles like Turbo (Oversized monitor bezel), Dragon's Lair (3 panels printed on plastic), solid plastic (made out of plastic with simple graphics, the colors actually go all the way through. These are very durable), and I even recall a machine with a neon marquee, but the title escapes me.

The silk screened marquees are very beautiful, but they are prone to heat damage (from having lights on inches behind them for years), and are easy to scratch from the backside.

The plastic, paper, and sticker style marquees fade very easily, but are often cheap to replace.

The odd styled marquees will often take the most abuse, especially the solid plastic style (you can scratch those to hell, and they still look good once you turn the light on behind them).

The silk screened style of marquee can be repaired fairly easily with those paint sticks that you can buy at art stores (that can fix scratches, but not heat damage). Other styles of marquees usually need to be replaced when they become damaged (easier said than done for some titles).

Marquees have become a kind of collectable item lately (there are a lot more marquees out there, than there are machines to install them into, due to conversions, and the longtime habit of stripping parts from old cabinets before they get junked). But rarity does not always equal value when it comes to marquees. The most common marquees (Ms. Pac-Man, Tempest, Joust, etc), usually command higher prices than those for the more obscure titles. The major exceptions to that are usually related to variations on the common titles (like the variant Q*Bert marquee that says "*@#!$" instead of "Q*Bert"). Most marquees are valued in the $10 - $25 range (more for glass ones), and they are readily available on eBay for most titles.

<marquee> is also a widely deprecated HTML tag found in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser. In many ways, it can be looked upon as the Microsoft equivalent of the blink tag, which has often been cited as the greatest abomination of a tag found in web design.

The effect of the <marquee> tag is to have text scroll across the screen in a most unsightly manner. Quite simply, this is the most distracting and annoying thing that you can ever see when trying to read a web page, and is a clear sign that the page's author is a newbie to all of this, as I have never seen the use of this tag in a serious web site, except in jest (see Jeff K.).

If there is such a thing as HTML hell, it is a blinking marquee tag. Our only salvation in all of this is that Internet Explorer does not support the blink tag, and Netscape Navigator does not support marquee, saving the world from this hideous fate.

Mar*quee" (?), n. [F. marquise, misunderstood as a plural; prob. orig., tent of the marchioness. See Marquis.]

A large field tent; esp., one adapted to the use of an officer of high rank.

[Written also markee.]


© Webster 1913.

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