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May 21, 2010

Happy Birthday, Pac-Man!!!

Yes, it was 30 years ago today that Pac-Man first burst on the scene in restaurants, pizza parlors, and arcades everywhere.

It always seemed to me that this was the first really huge video game success story. While Pong was a big hit because you were actually playing a game...on your TV(!), it never really seemed like it was *that* big of a deal. When Pac-Man arrived, the 80s video game craze went into full swing. A hit record was spawned (I had a "Pac-Man Fever" record, and for you kids out there, "records" are vinyl discs that you put on a spindle, and when you stuck a needle on it, you heard music!).

That being said, I was never really that into Pac-Man. I do remember the books that came out about the phenomenon, including how to play the game to the very end, since the ghost enemies had set patterns. Some people figured out the pattern and could play until the game basically said "No Mas!"

I always enjoyed Donkey Kong more, though I did buy the (really horrible-looking) Pac-Man game for the Atari 2600 (ok, I asked my parents to buy it for me). I was never any good at it, though, because I didn't want to learn the pattern and I just kept on dying.

Oddly, that sounds like my video-gaming now too, so I guess not much has changed!

And don't get me started on how horrible Pac-Man was when it went 3-D. Ugh.

So happy birthday, Pac-Man. You don't look a day over 25.

And for a rather strange birthday wish to honour the little yellow munch-monster, see this Talk Radar article.

Finally, check out the Google home page if you haven't already! That sucker's playable!


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