Game & Stitch is a cross stitch pattern book by Japanese ‘manbroiderer’ Oozu Makoto featuring some our favorite vintage Namco arcade characters. The book includes charts for re-creating these classic images, project ideas and easy-to-follow stitch tutorials.
Some cross stitch projects are inspired by games that I’m familiar with and some games never became popular outside of Japan. There are tons of adorable sprites who I didn’t know so, as we take a peek at the pages, I’ll share information bits about the characters as we go along.
‘Pac Man’ is among the most famous and highest grossing arcade games of all time. The original name was ‘Pakku-man’ inspired by the Japanese onomatopoeic slang phrase paku-paku taberu where paku-paku describes the sound of the mouth when it opens widely and closes in succession (taberu meaning, to eat).
A perfect Pac Man score occurs when the player gets the highest score on the first 256 levels. There is an additional level, the Split Screen Level, which is considered to be unbeatable to this day.
‘Mappy’ is a 1983 game which was designed to run on the same hardware as Super Pac Man, Namco’s most popular game in the early 1980’s. Mappy is a police mouse who goes after criminal cats, Mewkies and their boss, Nyamco. Mappy’s name is likely derived from the slightly insulting Japanese slang term for a policeman, mappo where as Nyamco’s name is a mash-up of the company, Namco and the Japanese word for kitty, nyanko.
‘Xevious’ is Namco’s 1982 vertically scrolling shooter game made to run on ‘Galaga’ hardware. It was designed by Masanobu Endo who later created ‘The Tower of Druaga’. In 1983, ‘Xevious’ was the first arcade game to have a commercial aired for it in North America, branding it, “The arcade game you can’t play at home.” Although it never gained popularity in the U.S., it was a hit in Japan.
‘Valkyrie no Bouken: Toki no Kagi Densetsu’ (or ‘The Adventure of Valkyrie: The Legend of the Time Key’) was made in 1986 and combined the scrolling over-world of ‘Dragon Warrior’ with the real-time combat of ‘Legend of Zelda’. The story goes…A dark wizard escapes from the clock tower, from where he had been imprisoned since long ago, and wreaks havoc upon a peaceful village. Valkyrie descends from the heavens to protect the village and fights to seal away the evil wizard once and for all. This game was virtually unknown in North America but was wildly popular in Japan.
‘Dig Dug’ hailed from 1982 and also runs on ‘Galaga’ hardware. The objective of ‘Dig Dug’ is to defeat underground monsters by either inflating them with an air pump until they explode or by dropping rocks on them. Although Namco has officially given the character the name, Dig Dug, in other games where he makes an appearance he goes by the name Hori Taizo. He’s the father of Susumu Hori, the main character of the ‘Mr. Driller’ series and ex-husband of Toby “Kissy” Masuyo, the heroine of alien shooter game, ‘Baraduke’ (a.k.a. ‘Alien Sector’).
‘The Tower of Druaga’ was released in 1984, also runs on ‘Super Pac Man’ hardware and inspired the trend of role playing action games such as ‘Legend of Zelda’. The player’s goal is to rescue the maiden from the demon, Druaga, through 60 floors of a tower. Masanobu Endo, the designer, wanted to create a game that could be a ROM swap for ‘Mappy’ boards that were no longer earning money. It became so popular that Namco had to manufacture new arcade boards to keep up with demand.
‘Galaga’ set foot on the scene in 1981 and is considered the best shooter of it’s kind. It adds a twist to the ‘Space Invaders’ formula by allowing the enemy to capture your ship. The player is in control of a spacecraft which is situated at the bottom of the screen. Aliens swarm and descend upon the spacecraft in an effort to either shoot or to collide with it. ‘Galaga’ has shown up in pop culture by making brief appearances in movies such as ‘The Karate Kid’, ‘The Avengers’, and ‘Pixels’.
Next month I’ll be sharing a project using the tutorial and inspiration provided in the last half of the book.
If you want a copy of the book for yourself, get one on Etsy.
When she’s not gallivanting overseas (usually to Japan) Madeline is making things and staying sunny in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. You can keep up with Madeline’s endless fiber projects and find her travel blog at www.madelinewonderland.com