Happy 35th Birthday Pac-Man!
Happy 35th Birthday to Pac-Man! For any of us over the age of 45, we probably remember how our life changed when this phenomenon began in 1980.
Prior to Pac-Man, I remember going to the arcade at the mall and playing lots of pinball. There were only a few 'hi-tech' video games at the time like Space Invaders, Asteroids and the infamous 'Pong'. But then this new colorful arcade machine debuted led by a little yellow guy that ate pellets and tried to avoid red, blue, pink and orange enemies with funny names like Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. At the time, there had never been anything that looked or played quite like Pac-Man.
Pac-Man wouldn't be available on home gaming systems for several years so the only way to play it in the 80s was to go to an arcade, bowling alley, pizza joint or any other place that had the stand alone arcade game. The only negative was that everyone wanted to play it, so you had to set your quarters on the game to 'reserve' your place in line and then watch a ton of other people play it before it was your turn. They you had the added pressure of having other people watch you play (and likely judge your ability) while they waited. I can't tell you how many quarters I
wasted spent playing that awesome game.
It certainly was a force to be reckoned with. A hit song, animated TV show, lunch boxes, t-shirts and even breakfast cereal were all based around Pac-Man. To this day, the game has the highest brand awareness of any video game ever made and even has a spot in the Smithsonian Institution. Later this year a new movie called "Pixels" is coming out and the plot has to do with aliens misinterpreting video-feeds of classic arcade games like Pac-Man as declarations of war. I think people will eat that movie up much the way Pac-Man eats up power pellets. I can't wait!