Friday, May 21, 2010

Happy birthday Pacman

It's hard to believe it, but Pacman is 30 years old today. All in all, he's not doing too bad for a guy who's basically just a big giant head who never stops snacking even when he's being chased by the undead.
Admittedly though, he was more than that... Pacman was a marketing atomic bomb that exploded into pop culture near the end of the Cold War. First he chomped his way to the top of the arcades, and then spawned numerous spin-off videogames (as I've mentioned on previous occasions, Pacman may have come first, but Ms Pacman is my first videogame love). You couldn't turn around without running into a Pacman (or some other member of his clan) stand-up arcade game, table-top arcade game, handy portable mini arcade replica consol, or Atari cartridge.
Then the golden boy had to sink his teeth (or whatever he used to eat those little white pellets) into the Saturday morning cartoon scene. Was the Pacman cartoon stupid? Yes, it was, but as a kid I watched it... and I'll bet you did too, fanboy!
And speaking of appetites, Pacman cereal followed pretty soon after. Mmmmm... dehydrated marshmellows in faded pastel colours shaped like Pacman and the ghostmonsters! The deliciousness of a weekend morning meal with no nutritional value whatsoever! Bolstered of course by those crunchy little yellow balls (hey! I know what you're thinking! that's enough of that! save that kind of dirtiness for your interpretation of the London 2012 mascots!) that were already stale when you opened the box and went soggy in 2 seconds flat when immersed in milk, and probably, despite their resemblance to cornpops, probably had no nutritional value either. My brother and I used to love this stuff. For a couple of years, Pacman our cereal of choice when the family hit the road for our summer trip.
Whether you played him, watched him or ate him (that doesn't sound gross, does it?), if you were around in the early 80's, Pacman was a fact of life.
Happy birthday, Pacman!

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