I guess Pac-Land just came into my life at the right place and time. The former is especially relevant to this story, I think, considering the setting of my earliest memory of the game is a shopping-mall arcade that was located a few hours away from where I grew up.
I'm sad to say I can't remember exactly how old I was when I first encountered the Pac-Land cabinet in the aforementioned arcade, but I'm pretty sure I was in my early teens. Regardless, I distinctly remember my incredulous reaction to it. After all, this was a Pac-Man game that looked and played like the original Super Mario Bros.
And don't forget: this was back when the Internet was but a gleam in Al Gore's eye. If you didn't read gaming mags at that time, you often didn't know which quarter-munchers were being released or when until you walked into your local arcade, bar, bowling alley and the like.
All of the above should help explain why the piece of art that serves as the focus of this post resonated with me as much as it did when I first came across it late last week. Actually, I'm pretty sure it would have resonated with me even if I weren't an unabashed Pac-Land fan thanks to the unmistakable look of innocence and wonder that's splashed across Pac-Man's face.
Artist Pauli Kohberger, aka madamluna, is responsible for this winsome illustration, by the way. If you'd like to see more examples of her work--and, really, why wouldn't you?--head over to madamluna.deviantart.com at your earliest convenience.