Friday, May 21, 2010

Wah-ka Wah-ka Wah-ka

If you haven’t seen today’s Google logo, go see it now. I’ll wait here for you, go check it out.

And there goes my afternoon. Up in dots, ghosts and Pacmen. (And then I'll probably be fired.) 

Today is Pacman’s 30th birthday. It was, and still is, one of the most famous video games of all times. It appealed to both genders, as it wasn’t a shoot em up in space kind of a game that were so popular in the early 80’s. It was highly addictive as well, and I am sure the that the one at the Enfield Roller World, where I used to play it, weighted a metric ton from all the quarters I’d pumped into it.

I was 6 when the game came out. But I didn’t know about it until I was 8. My sister Margaret taught me how to play it one day after school. She took me along for the ride when she had an eye doctor appointment, and because I was such a good girl she took me to a pizza place where they had Pacman.

She shoved a quarter into the slot, and showed me the premise of the game. “You have to go around and eat up the dots. When you eat the big one, the ghosts turn blue and then you can eat them.” Then later on, as I got the hang of it she warned “Oh, watch out! They’re changing back and now they’re going to chase you again.”
Then she ran out of quarters. Then we got an Atari at home and we played it there. My neighbors had a handheld Pacman. Well, a handheld video game in 1982 was roughly the size of the laptop I am using to write this post. But it was yellow and awesome.

Before we knew it, Pacman was every where. There was even a song on the radio called Pacman fever. It was on an album sold by K-Tel. (OMG! Do you remember those K-Tel commercials??) Pacman machines showed up in every Mom and Pop pizza joint. They had the kind that you had to stand up to play and the table top kind you could sit at and play. Player 2 sat across from you and played his turn from there, while you nibbled on your pizza conveniently located on the game’s table.

And now it’s 30 years old. And just about every person on this earth knows what it is and how to play.

Well done, Namco. Bravo.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Taoist Biker said...

Don't forget the Pac-Man Saturday morning cartoon...

I hated the Atari version. Most video games were a thrill, but with the Pac-Man version, you really knew you were getting a cheap fake.

May 21, 2010 at 1:56 PM  
Blogger Beej said...

I didn't really roll with the Saturday morning cartoons. On Saturday mornings we had to go to CCD during the school year. Then during the summer we were always out doing stuff. So, never even knew the Pacman cartoon existed until now.

For my 30th my friend bought me a video joystick that you can plug into the TV and play Atari games like Pacman, Dig Dug. But I really want Combat to come back. LOL.

May 21, 2010 at 3:43 PM  

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