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);
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;
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;
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;
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.