Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Way Back WhensDay: Pac-Man Fever

Pac-Man Fever!
By Kevin Hunsperger
@kevinhunsperger & @my123cents on Twitter

I remember the night my family bought the Pac-Man video game for our Atari.  I don't remember the exact date, but it wasn't long after it was released.  This odd game with a bright yellow pie man eating dots and avoiding four little ghosts captured my pre-teen imagination.  The sounds still echo in my memory bank as I remember mastering level after level, eating the power pellets and chasing after the Pinky, Blinky, Inky, and Clyde.  Of course, I had had practice playing the arcade version prior to owning the home copy.  Perhaps I picked up my love for fresh fruit and pretzels from playing Pac-Man.

Ms. Pac-Man
The thing I love about Pac-Man is that the video game was only the beginning.  There was a spin off featuring a female version, called Ms. Pac-Man.  A bow and lipstick helped players tell her and Pac-Man apart.  The two eventually got married and had Baby Pac-Man.  And like his famous parents, he too got his own game, but this time it was pinball game with video.

I wish I had this album still....
Just like today, anytime there is anything popular out there, we get lots of new products too.  There were stuffed toys, breakfast cereal, and a Saturday morning cartoon featuring the Pac-Man family and their ghostly enemies.  I collected Pac-Man trading cards and stickers and I had an awesome Pac-Man album with really cool artwork.  As much of a pack rat as I am, this item didn't get saved.  I'd love to have it again.

Through the years, just like everything else Pac-Man has evolved.  His look has changed, but his mission has remained the same, eat those pellets and power up! I'm still a fool for old school and like to play the original arcade version.  Dave & Buster's even has a giant screen version of it.  I had a chance to play it last summer.

Thanks to modern day technology, I don't have to drop quarter after quarter into the machine.  I can play the game on my phone and online.  I've promised myself if I ever win a large sum of money, I'll buy an arcade version because more than 30 years later, I still have Pac-Man fever.

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