Friday, May 21, 2010

Pac-Man fever

Google is recognizing the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man by making its logo into a playable version of the classic arcade game. Very, very cool.

I'm sort of aware how many copies some of today's video games sell, but short of the Mario universe, have any of them saturated the culture as thoroughly as Pac-Man?

When I was a kid I wanted the handheld version that came in a mini arcade cabinet. I had the Tomytronic version, which was pretty cool in its own right. I remember that the game could be frustrating because it wasn't the fastest thing in the world--none of these handheld games were--but it was exciting to be able to play Pac-Man anywhere. I would bet that I had a Pac-Man birthday cake, or if I didn't, one of my brothers did.

We also had the Pac-Man board game. The individual Pac-Man pieces didn't gobble the marbles all that easily. The marbles also tended to get accidentally knocked off their spots while playing. It was a fairly accurate, if even slower, reproduction of the original game. (I do not recall being nearly as enthusiastic about the board game version as this guy.)

And who can forget the Pac-Man cartoon? I'd hate to think how many episodes of that I saw. What about the hit song? Or the cereal?

Beyond all this, though, is the fact that the video game is still fun to play. I played the Google version for a little bit, and I have a free version of it on my iPhone. The hungry yellow guy has had some staying power.

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