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8:05 AM on 12.02.2008

Pop-Monkey's Classic Arcade Fan-Art: "Pac-Samurai" (Pac-Man)

I loved the "ancient Pac-Man" concept so much, I was inspired to do another piece. This one is an attempt to merge my style with an old Japanese print style complete with faux-antique paper. Took me a bit longer to finish than I thought it would. Even though the color scheme is very flat, achieving that authentic old and worn look to it was a real bear. It's not a technique I'm used to utilizing in my work, and it's much more complicated than scanning in an old beat-up piece of paper and converting the artwork to "multiply" on top of it.

Er... what I meant to say is -- here's a recently discovered rare Japanese print which is rumored to have contributed to Toru Iwatani's inspiration for the genesis of Pac-Man. It was a print that had been in his family for generations, but had been lost in a warehouse shortly after his tragic suicide.

This piece, too, was featured in the "Big Trouble in Little Gainesville" show at GORILLA RIOT'S STORE 101 on June 6th 2008, and got a fair bit of attention by being featured on Boing Boing's blog and's blog.

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE!! $15 (free US shipping), 11"X 17" 100# cover stock paper. EMAIL ME FOR MORE INFO!!   read

10:09 AM on 12.01.2008

Pop-Monkey's Classic Arcade Fan-art: Pac-Man (Pakku-Man)

In 1979, Japanese citizen/artist Toru Iwatani, wanted to make amends to the United States on behalf of Japan for the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. His initial thought was to create another statue-like monument in the tradition of the Statue of Liberty. After several months of futile efforts hacking and carving away at a great slab of rare yellow marble, Toru came to the cold realization that he was not, in fact, a sculptor by any stretch of the imagination. In a fit of rage and frustration before he sulked off to commit seppuku, he knocked the head off his prototype "monument", sending it crashing to the ground, where it broke into pieces upon impact. Searching for an implement sharp enough to carve his own guts out into a steaming heap on the floor, Toru noticed that the once rounded head-shape now seemed to be gaping at him with an open, hungry mouth, due to the wedge that had been chipped free during his fit. Suddenly, inspiration struck, sending Toru scrabbling for his drawing pad. There, Toru sketched out the basic outline for what would become the greatest video game in human history (suck it, Grand Theft Auto!), which made much more sense than the whole statue thing, since he happened to work for the electronics company Namco.

The technology of the times, however, proved to be extremely limiting for poor Toru. As a result, the finished product was a far cry from the expansive and imaginative fantasy epic Toru called "Paku-Paku Taberu". All he could manage with the creative electronic tools at his disposal was a shamefully simplified, flat chase game with simple colors, sounds, and objectives. The noble yellow hero he spent days sketching was reduced to a flat gobbling pie. His ever-pursuing enemies, the dreaded Oni of Japanese mythology, became simple cookie-cutter, dead-eyed "ghost monsters". The game's title was changed to Pakku-Man, which became "Pac-Man" in the United States, and quickly ascended to it's rightful position as the greatest and most popular video game phenomenon in history. Tragically, Toru would never live to see the success of his creation, as he buckled under the shame and dishonor from what he perceived as a "pathetic failure destined to bring misfortune upon Japan". Toru took his own life even as the first Pac-Man game cabinets made their way to US shores.

This is my version of the original concept for Pakku-Man, based on Toru's original sketches. Pakku-Man is chased across the Japanese landscape by the evil oni Oikake, Machibuse, Kimagure, and Otoboki.

Pen & Ink, colored in Photoshop.

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE!! $15 (free US shipping), 11"X 17" 100# cover stock paper. EMAIL ME FOR MORE INFO!!   read

1:09 PM on 11.30.2008

Pop-Monkey's classic arcade fan-art: Q*BERT!

Hello! Pop-Monkey here. I'm new to the Destructoid community, and this is my first blog post. Most of what I have to offer here will be art-related and probably skew more retro -- I hope there's enough retro fans out there to make this worthwhile. My first posting concerns my most recent bit of retro fan-art based on a redesign of Q*BERT and his menagerie of foes.

Q*Bert, in it's original arcade manifestation, was one of those fixtures of childhood whose memory is tinged with equal parts joy and frustration. I recall fondly the infrequent trips to the local mall, which meant at least three things: browsing at the toy store, having a rainbow sherbet cone melt all over my hand while I furiously licked away at it, and getting to take another crack or two at Q*bert at the arcade. I was never any good at Q*bert. I never had enough quarters at a time to gain any sort of mastery over it, and my height combined with the awkward diagonal joystick control (which completely clashed with my strict horizontal and vertical instinctive movements cemented by Pac-Man, Donkey Kong and Frogger) left me helpless and frustrated in the shadow of Q*Bert's towering yellow arcade cabinet and alien foul language.

I've had a few occasions over the years to take additional cracks at the game, hoping that coming at it from a more seasoned gamer's level of experience would aid in my quest to help the poor orange fellow finally change the colors on all those doggone pyramids! My skill has vastly improved, but I'm still no expert. My love for the game and its mix of a simple goal, challenging tactics and bizarre creatures persists, however. I hope to one day own the arcade cabinet so I can perfect my game. I know there have been several console ports and flash adaptations of the game, but I don't recall any of them being exact reproductions of the arcade, and that's what I truly want.

Anyway, here's the final colored version of my Q*BERT piece. I've retooled Q*Bert, Coily, Sam, Slick, Ugg and Wrong-Way to bring them out of the 80's and more into the Pop-Monkey camp. And, yes, I turned Slick and Sam into pineapples with hands-for-feet. It just made sense to me.

Special thanks to Warren Davis, Jeff Lee and David Thiel, the co-creators of Q*BERT!
Check this site for a nice article on the history of Q*Bert:

PRINTS OF THIS PIECE ARE AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER! Just drop me a line for more info. To see more of my work and preliminary work for this piece, check my blog at

Q*Bert is copyright Sony Pictures   read

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