Growing up during Pac-Man Mania

Pac-Man Mania gave me Pac-Man Fever

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When it all started

Oh how I remember those days back in the early 80s when I was a kid in elementary school and Pac-Man hit the Arcade scene. I pretty much grew up in the arcade and when Pac-Man came out, I was instantly hooked just like the rest of the world that had the pleasure of playing with the little yellow dot. Just like it happened with every new arcade machine that would pop up in my local arcade back then, I walk in that week and I usually would check for commotion or a tiny group gathered around an arcade cabinet. I saw it and when I finally got my turn, I was instantly hooked. Everywhere I got a chance to play, whether it was a grocery store, arcade, restaurant or wherever I found a Pac-Man unit, I begged for some quarters.

The Merchandise

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It didn’t take long for Pac-Man mania to sweep the nation. Eventually, the Pac-Man licensed products where everywhere. There was so much Pac-Man merchandise out there and I had plenty of it. Pac-Man Bed Sheets, a Pac-Man Wallet, Pac-Man Cereal, a Pac-man Game Watch, the little Table Top Game, clothes, books, etc! They even had a Pac-Man player/operator’s license card & I used to have one too!

I especially loved collecting the sticker bubble gum packs. They contained these little scratch off Pac-Man maze games and stickers too. It was great.

The Song

Then, the Pac-Man Fever song came out. That was just too good to be true for me at the time.

I drove my parents crazy every time they played that song on the radio.

The Trauma of the first console port

Then of course, Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 came out and I begged my mom to buy it for me. I made sure to stay on my best behavior so that I could have my dream (at that time) to be able to play with that beloved yellow dot munching fiend anytime I wanted in the comfort of my own underoos. When that day finally arrived, I felt like the luckiest kid on the planet…just only to be completely and utterly disappointed by the poor excuse of a port that I got stuck with. “What the heck was this!?! This wasn’t Pac-Man!”

I thought to myself, “He’s eatin’ wafers!?! Wafers!?! WTH!?! What happened to the dots? The Power Pellets? The colors for God’s sake! Plus that damn annoying sound effect that was supposed to be Pac-Man’s signature {waka-waka}…where is it!?!” I was pretty upset and devastated for a 7 year old.

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kirk-slapI just wanted to walk up to Atari’s & Midway’s offices and start bitch slappin’ every schmuck responsible for this insulting sacrilegious act. It took me a long time to get over it. I had to find peace by just having to make trips to the local arcade and vent my frustrations there. What a sacrifice, right?

Nonetheless, better versions came out and the debut of Ms. Pac-Man kindled a new love for a little yellow dot…with a bow. But that’s another story. In the end, Pac-Man created a craze that still lives on in the hearts of many people today. Maybe not as much, but it definitely helped shape the gaming world into what it has become today.

 

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Get Educated on Pac-Man

G4 for had a nice TV special on the Pac-Man phenomenon that I had watched back in the day when G4 was actually good. It had me reminiscing again about my childhood days and my love for all things Pac back then. Thanks to the miracle of youtube.com. I can share it with you now.

For all things Pac-Man, you can check out The First Church of Pac-Man (No, it’s not a religion…well, it might be to some).

 

If not, you can always:

mr-t-dancing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Get Funky with the T-Man!

  • Giancarlo

    Awesome posts!

    • Carlos Pita

      Why thank you good sir. :D