2003 SEPTEMBER 27 #270
One evening a young Namco game designer named Tohru Iwatani went out for pizza with some friends. After the usual chatting and sipping of drinks, their large pizza arrived. Tohru removed the first slice and brought it to his watering mouth. He causally glanced at the shape of the pizza that was left. Cells in his brain fired. His mind raced. What if? The game revolved around a maze with the player controlling what was to become Pac-Man. The task was to eat all the dots whilst staying away from the ghosts. Super pellets were also inside the maze, once eaten by Pac-Man he would temporarily become invulnerable and able to eat the ghosts. After clearing each screen the game would get slightly faster. Namco of Japan originally called him Puck-Man but wisely decided to change his name before release - the American penchant for graffiti wouldn't have helped the company's advertising any.
Out of arcades, Pac-Man was enjoying worldwide fame. Hanna-Barbera made a Saturday-morning kids cartoon based on Mr. Chomp, simply entitled, The Pac-Man Show. The cartoon was an instant success and ran for two seasons. Pac-Man was licensed to several food companies and starred in General Mills' Pac-Man cereal as well as Chef Boyardee's Pac-Man Pasta. In the fall of 1981, musicians Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia spoofed Ted Nugent's song Cat Scratch Fever with a song of their own: Pac-Man Fever. Despite the bizarre lyrics, Pac-Man Fever climbed to number nine in the US.
The songs from the LP in today's selection didn't enjoy anywhere near the success of "Pac-Man Fever," but I'm sure that they helped young videogamers fill that pac-void after they ran out of quarters.
- Jef Stevens & Karl Hoffman
TT-6:00 / 8.3MB / 192kbps 44.1khz
Clark H. writes:
I once had a dentist who had a multi-channel headphone system to help us patients relax. All the channels were sappy soft rock and smooth jazz, except for the channel that seemed to play nothing but this Pac-Man record. It became my regular music to be drilled by. Needing to go floss right now.
(Images courtesy of Jef Stevens & Karl Hoffman)