As an adult, many years later, one Hallowe'en, I needed a costume I could put together in a matter of a day or so, yet still meet my need for it to look like I put in an effort! The theme of the Hallowe'en party I was going to was "The 80's", so at first, I thought: "Pac-Man". But, then, the more silly side of me said: "No, Pac-Man MACHINE!".
While photos of much of the build are lost to history, I can take you through how the costume was made and with what materials.
Step 1: Building the Head Piece
I then went online and did a search for the Pac-Man arcade machine header (or marquee) and found several that I could print on photo paper with my colour printer. This would be glued to the front of the head piece.
(In a later generation of this head piece, I actually created a compartment behind the marquee where I put a small, battery-powered LED light bar I bought at a dollar store. I then cut a hole in the front of the box, leaving enough of a border of the Pac-Man sign to be glued to. The idea was to light up the marquee just like the actual machine marquee would have been.)
Inside the box, I simply used a cardboard ring to fit my head, glue it in place and it allowed the head piece to be worn like a hat. (I could have come up with something more elaborate like using a helmet or something, but this had the advantage of being free...)
I then added a quarter (remember that's how you let it be known that you were next to play the machine) to the marquee as an extra detail.
Step 2: The "Screen" and the Control Area
I purchased a special type of printable heat transfer that comes in 8.5 x 11" sizes and printed out that downloaded screen shot.
Once that was printed, I simply ironed on the printed screen onto the shirt.
As for the control area, that assembly was again simply made out of card board. I wanted the thing to be true to the original machines, so using some reference photos I was able to find online, I recreated the area around the joystick and printed out the graphics that would have adorned a machine like this.
For the player select buttons, I used water bottle caps and embedded them into the cardboard, gluing them in place. The joystick itself was simply a long carriage bolt screwed into a small, red rubber ball. It was held in place by a nut on top of the cardboard, but I left a little play in it so that when people played with my joystick (yes, that happened all night long), it wouldn't get ripped off. To that end, I reinforced the cardboard in that area as well so that it would last the night (which it did).
As you can see in the photo, I just used some cardboard as a belt and used some hook & loop straps attached the belt as a closure.
As an added detail, I also found some great images of a lit coin slot which I simply printed on glossy photo paper and taped to my jeans. It was just that little extra thing to tie the whole idea of the costume together.
Step 3: The Finished Product!
I can't even begin to estimate how many photos were taken with people playing with my joystick throughout the evening, but that was part of the whole gag with this costume. And, I won "best costume" at the party that night!
The best part is that it cost next to nothing in materials and I was able to make it in a little over a day's time.