Local Arcade Pac-man Sideart Illustrator File Inaccurate

Brian Jones at Oleszak Creative picked up on my post the other day on the small inaccuracies in the Pengo Marquee vector artwork available on Local Arcade. As most classic arcade collectors already know, the Ms. Pac-man and Pac-man sideart Illustrator files available for download are also inaccurate, but until today I hadn’t dug any deeper to identify the inaccuracies of the artwork.

Brian sent me a Photoshop file showing just one small piece of the Pac-man sideart that is so wrong, I feel embarassed for tbombaci who originally traced it. A baby jacked up on meth could have done a better job.

The Pac-man artwork area in question is circled here (click on the image for a larger view);

Pac-man Sideart File on Local Arcade

The circled piece of detailed artwork is right below the curving “N” in Pac-man, where there are some black shapes that have the appearance of brush strokes. (You can download the Pac-man sideart Illustrator file here) The Local Arcade Pac-man file looks like this;

ac-man Sideart Vector File Detail

At first glance, any artist with a sense of detail should run screaming. If you are considering whether or not to take the Pac-man Side Art file from Local Arcade and print it, or makes stencils from it for your own project, this post is for you. Unless you want to throw the potential resale value of your machine into the toliet, listen up. Here is a detailed scan of that same area on the Pac-man sideart and I have also provided a photo of the same section from my own machine (just in case your a “Doubting Thomas” on the accuracy;

Pac-man Sideart Scan DetailPac-man Sideart Photo Detail

Wow! Seriously. I have frequented the BYOAC and Mame forums, and tbombaci (Tom) is actually very good at tracing classic arcade sideart, so, I don’t know what happened with this particular file. It was uploaded in 2004, so maybe this was one of Tom’s first forays into tracing sideart, maybe he didn’t have an accurate scan to work from, or maybe he just provided an auto trace version quickie for the Mame guys who didn’t really care how true this artwork was to the original Midway Pac-man. But if this single portion was so lazily reproduced, you can just imagine how wrong the rest of the Pac-man artwork is.

I don’t know the original circumstances, hopefully Tom will find this and fill us in. (I just wish that Local Arcade had more of a community, with collectors rating and commenting on the artwork. The usability of that site, including the search, is horrendous. Thank you to Mahuti for starting it, but we as a collecting community need to get more involved to make it a better resource. But that is another topic entirely.)

Here is a good vector trace of the same artwork, and you can see the richer detail that is more true to the original Pac-man artwork;

Pac-man Sideart Detail Trace

Like I mentioned in the Pengo marquee post, there is some line irregularity that makes any arcade artwork more interesting.

The point of my post is not a new one, do your research before using any of the artwork on Local Arcade. But in the case of the more popular arcade artwork files, there are no short cuts. You are better to start from scratch and know it is accurate than to take any shortcuts.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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in Tom Bombaci’s defense, I think the original pac sideart came from a guy that made a website called ‘pacanac’ that was sent a C&D by Namco. That art was modified/cleaned up a bit and added to localarcade.. not sure Tom himself actually drew any of it. That being said, localarcade is neat and all, but the vast majority of the art there is completely inaccurate. The stuff by some such as Tom, Zorg and a few others are quite nice tho.

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This is the sort of history on the sideart that I was looking for. So Tom more than likely didn’t do much on the vectoring of the Pac-man artwork….apparently that pacanac website is long gone.

Jamie over at Noiseland Arcade worked on vectoring the Pac-man sideart as well.

The files were done in raster format though, not vector, so as far as I know in my network, there may only be one or two people that would have a useable version of this artwork.

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Here’s an archive of the original pacanac site circa 2001:



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Thanks for the resource. I had never been to Pacanac before, and wouldn’t have found this site. I forget sometime how old this hobby is, and that six years ago this website had every piece of artwork for restoring a Pac-man machine and it was taken down in response to Namco. Six years, and nothing has changed….

On a interesting related note, on Noiseland Arcade, there is a link to making your own silkscreen at home like a true amateur. That would be an interesting topic to demonstrate, would you help me if I tried to gather some information? Or do you already have a ton of links to sites that have a good demo for home silkscreening.

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Hi, Ok, i hold my hands up! It was me who redrew the PacMan side art. You are correct in saying it is inaccurate and looking at the actual side-art images you posted i can clearly see why. The Side-art was drawn completely from hand by using the best photo i could find anywhere on the internet at the time and having said that, the photo i was supplied was an abismal 300 x 200 image that i had to blow up and redraw all the lines again. The detail was completely lost in the photo so i had to heavily ‘ad-lib’ in areas like you mention. I figured that as so many websites were commenting on the enormous price of getting silk-screen reprints then i would be helping anyone out who did not want to pay out a fortune for the artwork and wanted a ‘budget job’. Due to my website being taken down, i had no way of adding comments on my site clearing up the issue of the inacuracies an as my life was already busy, i just left it to continue other things.

Like i said, the artwork was not intended to be a copy of the original but as a means of replacing old and worn out artwork for those who could not afford the genuine article. To the untrained eye, no-one would know any different. I apologise if there has been any confusion surrounding this and should have included a comment in some white area at the bottom of the image that would go wherever the images goes.

I still have all the artwork i produced if anyone needs it but if anyone has taken a rip of the pacanac website before closure then it will no doubt be available somewhere else too.

Altho i was informed by Namco Japan that what i was doing was infringing their copyright as they still produced Pacman games, it was a guy called Bob Sokol who actually got me to close the site as he was selling the licensed artwork that i was basically giving away free. To avoid the threat of legal action I decided to shut-shop.

I hope this helps anyone who was wondering. If anyone needs further information, you can contact leave a reply to this entry.


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Thanks for filling us in on how this version of the vector Pac-man sideart came into existence. This history of the creation of the sideart file gives me some insight into why it was incorrect. A cheap substitute for those that didn’t want to spend a ton of money having actual reproductions done, I could see the purpose of this file.

When you say you drew this by hand, what do you mean? You drew it by eye comparison in Illustrator with a printed photo? Did you not overlay it in Illustrator? Or did you actually draw it by hand, scan it in, and then vectorize it? And do you know Tom Bombaci? Did he just have a copy of the file from your Pacanac website that he uploaded to Localarcade?

I didn’t mean to bash your work, I just wasn’t around at the time so I wasn’t familiar with the circumstances. All things considered, depending on how you created it (questions above) and the Pac-man photo you had to work with, you are right, you did a pretty good job and the general Joe wouldn’t even know.

Thanks for the comment.

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i actually found an original pac man machine and am considering making an offer on it to the owner of $200.00 USD after looking at the art i can now say this one is original and his pic is accurate from the side of his machine thanks for the alsome art for i will be restoring it and may resell it

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That is a great price for a Pac-man, of course depending on condition.

Good luck!

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