Cat Trial 9: Pac-Man behind the scenes
Cat Trial 9: Pac-Man behind the scenes

Gaming Enthusiast Leads Caterpillar's PAC-MAN(TM) Project


By Edgar Sandoval, Contributor | Posted: November 11 , 2020 | Revised: April 26, 2022

Remember that thing you loved when you were little? That something fun that made your childhood special; the thing you look back on that feels like home? From the time he was a kid, Lance Endres was passionate about PAC-MAN™.

“It felt like you were playing a cartoon,” said Endres. “For that time, the characters were highly animated and with a limited amount of change in my pocket, I wanted to get the biggest bang for my buck. If I knew I had an hour to burn at the arcade, I was going to play PAC-MAN™.”

Bringing PAC-MAN™ to Life

Endres was the senior art director for the newest Cat Trial #9: PAC-MAN™, a larger than life sized, live-action version of PAC-MAN™ — one of hundreds of Caterpillar and Cat® dealer employees who worked on the project. But it was Endres’ passion for the iconic video game that led the way.

“As basic as the game is, there’s still a lot of information, a lot of detail,” Endres said. “There is such fine minutia in the game you commonly wouldn’t think about. The game mechanics, the glitches and video game physics versus real world physics.”

A-Mazing Detail

Endres’ goal was to make it as realistic as possible. His early work on the project consisted of educating the team on the nuances of the game, and making sure the operators were able to build, to scale, an authentic maze.

He worked closely with PAC-MAN™ creator Bandai-Namco and Caterpillar editor Jeff McAllister on the 3D versions of the characters, as well as “Easter eggs” like the “coffee break” portion of the video – a nod to an area in the maze that if PAC-MAN™ enters without being seen by a ghost, he will be able to sit in that spot and remain invisible. Gamers famously use that time to grab a coffee, or a snack or take a bathroom break. And Endres says recreating the “Level 256” glitch – where the right side of the screen becomes a chaotic mess of letters and numbers – was a blast for everyone involved.

“I knew a lot of retro gaming enthusiasts would be looking at this and scrutinizing it—looking at all the details, and I just wanted to do it justice,” said Endres. “I wanted to show the authenticity of game play, even though it wouldn’t be an exact representation — capture the true spirit of the game, the fun and simplicity of game play. That was a driving factor to make sure I had every detail correct.”

That attention to detail extended to the ad campaign to promote the video. Endres took great care to blend the brands, making sure one didn’t overshadow the other. He found a lot of inspiration in the 80’s trading cards he saved.

“Our machines and services had to be the focus of the game itself,” Endres said. “But I think we were able to take two iconic brands that have their own DNA, their own personality and bring them together to where they not only supported, but pushed each other forward.”

For the Love of the Game

Endres’ passion for video games didn’t stop when he was a kid. Before coming to Caterpillar, he did a lot of 2D and 3D animation for a video production company in Wisconsin. He designed, built and eventually sold his own gaming interface that allows you to play over 40 different game systems through one set of controls. And for more than a decade, he’s been restoring old arcade games. But for him, working on this project has been the pinnacle of his career.

“Nearly 40 years ago, I was sitting at a grade school just two miles away from the Maze construction site with all of my PAC-MAN™ stuff on me – the PAC-MAN™ watch, the lunch box, t-shirt and hat,” Endres said. “At home there were the toys and the board game, the trading cards, the cereal… it was ridiculous. So, to be part of this project some 40 years later – it was surreal.”

Lance Endres
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Caterpillar Art Director Lance Endres took on his dream project when he joined the team responsible for bringing The Cat Trial 9: PAC-MAN™ to life.

Young Lance
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Proudly wearing PAC-MAN™ at one of his birthday parties.

Pac-Man behind the Scenes
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Participants on their way to bringing Lance’s vision to life.

Lance doing detail work
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No detail was too small for Lance.

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Hear Lance and other Caterpillar experts talk about what it took to recreate the iconic gameboard in the dirt.

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Watch The Cat Trial 9: PAC-MAN™.

Lance Endres
Young Lance
Pac-Man behind the Scenes
Lance doing detail work
Pac-Man Behind the Scenes
Cat Trial 9: Pac-Man

Cat Trials

The Cat Trials video series puts our products, services and technology to the test in ways you could only imagine.

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Cat Trials
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Edgar Sandoval

Contributor

When he’s not creating content to highlight our sponsorship partners, Edgar Sandoval is coaching soccer or telling jokes at comedy clubs around the country. He started here after spending time in Hollywood and working for four network television affiliates. Edgar loves telling stories about the people, products and services that make Caterpillar great!

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