Taken me longer than I thought, but I got through another vector piece of the oversize Jr. Pac-man marquee. I was going to go to the billboard behind Jr. Pac, but decided to Jr. himself.
The next piece of the vectorization process for the Jr. Pac-man marquee header will probably be the lamps, or something simple, like the blue ghost. The detail on Jr. was about what I figured, it wasn’t a breeze, but it wasn’t too hard to trace the lines either. It just took time.
I still hope to be the one person to have a whole set of artwork and produce it as a Jr. Pac-man kit to make your own machine, specifically for converting a Mappy into a Jr. Pac-man. But only time will tell.
The Jr. Pac-man marquee is much more than started, I am about three days worth of work in (Visit KLOV for my forum topic). I did the little ground hog first with the bird, then the paint cans and then the grass. I feel like I have done some of the more complicated stuff on the marquee first, or at least I hope so. This Jr. Pac-man piece of vector artwork has been a lot of work so far.
(This is the oversize marquee for the original game, like I have, not the condensed version that was in the conversion kits.)
The parts that have been a challenge so far has been, the color variations in the grass and the faded red on the paint bucket. My red was so faded that I could barely seen the manilla color differentiations on the white can. I did a best guess for now, and will check my work later. It is easy enough to change in this format.
I hope to do a little more later this week, but we’ll see. The end of the week is shaping up to be busy for a change.
I got my new Epson scanner (birthday present) last night, so I finished scanning in the Jr. Pac-man oversize marquee to start vectoring. I was missing a slice down the middle where my makeshift printer scanner was not cutting it.
The Jr. Pac-man marquee has pretty complex artwork, I realized last night. Lots of detail and it will take a lot of work. My scan of the marquee artwork is decent, but not great. I hope that the vector artwork turns out better than the scan looks. The Jr. Pac-man marquee scan doesn’t even look good enough to post a copy of it here.
I got my Jr. Pac-man game last week Thursday, and while I am waiting to pay and complete my transaction, I thought I would take the time to start scanning the marquee.
My scanner took a crap, so I had to scan the pieces of the Jr. Pac-man marquee that I could with the printer / scanner combo that a friend just gave us. But because of the control panel, I can’t scan all of the oversize marquee flat, so I will have to wait to get the middle sections scanned meaning I will have to wait to start the artwork vectorizing process.
I have made a reminder on my calendar to research into the Jr. Pac-man arcade game artist eventually, but right now I have so many arcade related projects to do that I keep waiting to do the research.
But yesterday I found the artist for the Baby Pac-man machine by Bally. Now, the Bally/Midway pinball division was probably totally separate from the video division, but they may have still had some cross over and members of the arcade game art direction units may have known each other. I may try to research the artist’s name some and see if they can help point me in the direction of eventually finding the Jr. Pac-man artist.
Even with the past successes of Pac-man and Ms. Pac-man, most sites will tell you that the downturn of the arcade industry in the early 80’s prevented Jr. Pac-man from obtaining worldwide success. As such, the production of dedicated machines were halted and a number of conversion kits were made available instead. One kit was for a Pac-man conversion, and one was for a Super Pac-man conversion.
Below is the back of one of the flyer’s from the game. You can find this at Arcadeflyers.com.
You can see that it lists what you get in your conversion, a Jr. Pac-man Logic Board, Header Glass, Monitor Overlay Glass, Control Panel Artwork Overlay, and Front Cabinet Artwork Overlay (kickplate). No mention of full size sideart.
Since most Jr. Pac-man’s were conversions it is quite a challenge to find the original game that was produced in the unique Mappy cabinet. I have heard rumors that only 500 total were ever produced. (Heck, Mappy is a hard enough game to come by, and those go for decent prices as well.)
The conversion kits didn’t come with a set of the original sticker Jr. Pac-man sideart, only the “text” sticker. There were two different versions of this text sticker (both with rounded edges). One that said “Jr. Pac-man” with Jr. riding his bike which was meant for a Pac-man conversion, and one that just had the “Jr. Pac-man” text in a curve that was meant for Super-Pac-man conversions. The curved text Jr. Pac-man sticker would fit at the space at the top of the cabinet just above Super Pac-man’s head.
So with potentially only 500 dedicated style Jr. Pac-man’s ever sold, and counting the possible number of those destroyed or converted or whatever else, that makes the original sideart sticker on a Mappy cabinet pretty hard to come by. Hell, I wouldn’t have even known it existed if I hadn’t seen a photo of this Jr. Pac-man machine on the KLOV site (Image to the right). I would have thought that there was only the conversion artwork available.
Why I like the artwork for Jr. Pac-man
The Jr. Pac-man sideart has been a piece of artwork that I have known about for awhile, but in late 2006 through early 2007 I developed a true fascination for it. The reason I am facinated with the artwork is that I love the Pac-man character / history, I love the gameplay for this particular game and the tweaks they did to make it a new twist, and the fact that the Jr. Pac-man is really rare to find in it’s entirety with little damage (Most commonly in rips to the sideart) also makes it desirable.
Check out the image below. What I really loved about the original sideart on any games is that it was a composition with the
shape of the cabinet, and some of the coolest artwork was stenciled on the cabinets. (Now, in this case, Jr. Pac-man is a little different because the original sideart is a sticker that was applied to a Mappy cabinet, sometimes right over top of the Mappy sideart sticker. When there are rips in the sideart, you can see the original Mappy sticker underneath.)
Early on I got a large format digital .jpg image of the Jr. Pac-man “text” sticker meant for a Pac-man conversion. Since it held little value to me I checked one of the larger websites for arcade art, Localarcade, and they didn’t have a source to trace this artwork yet. So I sent the guy this Jr. Pac-man text image and have been working with him to produce a nice piece of digital vector art.
Looking for an original Jr. Pac-man
As of late 2006 I know of two original Jr. Pac-man’s that are within a reasonable driving distance of me. One I have seen in person, and another one I have only seen in photos, but both have the sides painted over in black. This makes my drive that much stronger, being frustrated that there are two Jr. Pac-man’s in Mappy cabinets that are so close to me, but either have no sideart, or it is painted over and if potentially uncovered would have tears anyway.
I went back and forth on what to do. The painting on these two Jr. Pac-man machines was all over the game, even the top sides of the marquee header. I know what a pain paint can be to remove from a machine from experience. And even then, there are no guarantees on how it would look. So, I decided that I would start to look for images of the Jr. Pac-man sideart that I could trace and potentially have to reproduce if I ever figured I wanted either one of these two, or if I wanted to buy a Mappy and convert it.
I had spent a lot of time searching online for photos of the cabinet sides, but with little luck. Then in early 2007 I found a website that had photos of the game with sideart that were a little bit bigger in resolution than the photo on KLOV. Nonetheless, both of these sets of images were still too small to even think about reproducing the artwork in vector format by tracing. (On the left is one of the images I found.) With such little luck I just figured there was no way I was going to find enough instances of the Jr. Pac-man machines and collectors with them to get some photos to work from.
But then, I found a listing on GGDB of a collector who had a really nice looking Jr. Pac-man, and a photo of it in a line of other arcade machines showing that it had great sideart. Finally! Someone I could contact for help. (It wasn’t until later that I figured out later he was the same individual who had submitted the first photo I saw on Klov. I used the network of collectors I have been building to get an email address, because at the time I didn’t know his profiles on the Arcade forum websites, and started a line of communication to get the Jr. Pac-man artwork reproduced.
Jr. Pac-man Registry
I have started a registry for all of the dedicated Jr. Pac-man owners that still exist. There aren’t many, and its hard to confirm the real ones because of the shared Mappy cabinet. So, this list also considers whether the cabinet has the original dedicated sideart or not. Check out the Jr. Pac-man Arcade Game Registry.
Talked with Rick last night, told him the only artwork piece I told have for a Jr. Pac-man machine is the original oversize, or small sized version, marquee. Hopefully he can take some photos of that with the flash off and I can see if I can trace it.
During the last month I have been debating about tracking down the original creators of the Jr. Pac-man artwork who would have worked for Bally. Joe said that after about 1984, most games had credits, so that is a great place to start. However, in the limited searching I have done so far, I haven’t been able to find credits for the Jr. Pac-man game. I don’t know if there is an arcade site out there that collects this information or not, it would be a good site for sure, but if anyone has any information about this please shoot me an email.