Archive for the Pac-Man Category

It’s Atari National Pac-Man Day!

Posted in Pac-Man, pop culture with tags , , , , , , on April 3, 2013 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

Today marks the 31st annual Atari National Pac-Man Day.

Atari National Pac-Man Day

Atari declared National Pac-Man Day on the day they released the Atari port of Pac-Man back on April 3, 1982.

Atari Pac-Man
(Via Sascha Grant)

Pac-Man was a cultural phenomenon in the early 80s. It was merchandised as thoroughly as anything is today. So on this most auspicious holiday think back on the Atari 2600 and the game of Pac-Man. Maybe head on over to an emulator site and play a game.  Enjoy one of the first video games to become a global phenomenon.

Check out these other Pac-Man specific articles:

1. On Episode 77 of the Nerd Lunch Podcast we discuss the Atari 2600 and its games (including Pac-Man)
2. First Perfect Game of Pac-Man played back in 1999
3. America’s Love Affair with a man named Pac
4. Check out some Pac-Man photos in my Video Games Flickr set

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Happy Atari National Pac-Man Day

Posted in Atari, Pac-Man, pop culture, video games with tags , , , , on April 3, 2012 by Paxton

Cavalcade Arcade

30 years ago today on April 3, 1982, Atari announced National Pac-Man Day.

Atari National Pac-Man Day

National Pac-Man Day coincided with the release of Atari’s port of the Pac-Man arcade game.

Atari Pac-Man
Via John Mundy

Despite that game being one of the worst ports of a game ever created, it was the highest selling game of the year and received an enormous marketing push from Atari.

Pac-Man Phenomenon

Above is an ad touting the popularity of Pac-Man and it includes pictures from Pac-Man release parties all over the world.  Atari even held several Pac-Man Championships. Here’s an ad for the UK Championship.

UK Pac-Man Championships

Atari’s Pac-Man, along with E.T., probably killed not only Atari but the entire home console video game market.  At least for 4 or 5 years until the Nintendo Entertainment System took off. Because, despite selling millions of Pac-Man cartridges (as well as E.T.), Atari had over estimated demand and made many, many more than was sold and they were left with tons of extra cartridges.

So, enjoy Atari National Pac-Man Day! One of the nerdiest holidays ever!

Other Pac-Man articles:

1. Anniversary of the 1st Perfect Game of Pac-Man
2. America’s Love Affair with a Man Named Pac

Only 5 More Days Until Atari National Pac-Man Day

Posted in Atari, Pac-Man, pop culture, video games with tags , , , on March 29, 2012 by Paxton

Countdown to Atari National Pac-Man Day

The Grocery Aisle of long forgotten breakfast cereals Pt I

Posted in breakfast cereal, Cap'n Crunch, cartoons, food, nostalgia, Pac-Man, pop culture, TV shows with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2009 by Paxton

Cereal Boxes potpourriMy good friend Steve emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me to write an article on a subject he and his wife had recently been discussing.  He wanted me to talk about breakfast cereal.  More specifically, he wanted me to talk about some of his favorite breakfast cereals he remembers when he was a kid.  Now, Steve and I have known each other since first grade, but I won’t know all of his favorite breakfast cereals.  So, I thought I’d take the general topic of cereal, and look at it from the nostalgia perspective.

There is a surprising amount of cereal box enthusiasts out there.  If you go to Flickr, there are two main groups dedicated to cereal from the ’50s up through the ’90s.  There are more groups than these two, but the two I’m talking about contain the majority of the images.  So, scanning these groups, I thought I’d discuss some forgotten and long discontinued cereals that we may all remember.  So, let’s head on over to your local Western Supermarket or Safeway, and walk down the Nostalgia aisle (Aisle 7c) and see what we all used to eat when we were kids.  FYI…There were so many awesome, awesome cereals that I found that I decided to split this article into two parts.  Come back later this week to see Part II. For any of the pictures below, click them to go to a bigger version (most likely on Flickr).

All set, then let’s begin with the first batch…

No talk about breakfast cereals is complete without talking about Capt. Horatio Magellan Crunch (aka Cap’n Crunch for the noobs).   And if we are talking about the Cap’n, I’m going to have to talk about the elephant in the room.  It is a harsh truth that all cereal enthusiasts are aware of.  Cap’n Crunch is an incurable media whore.  Currently, there’s like five versions of Cap’n Crunch on the shelves.  That alone is enough, but if you look into the past, and include special editions, we are looking at a number north of 17 versions of Cap’n Crunch.  Seriously.  He will pimp his image/cereal out to any idea that comes across the table.  Here are 9 versions of Cap”n Crunch you may have never seen.

Choco CrunchVanilly CrunchCinnamon CrunchPunch CrunchDeep Sea CrunchHalloween CrunchXmas CrunchHome Run CrunchPolar Crunch
Deep Sea Crunch? Vanilly Crunch?  Seriously? And that’s not all of the images. How about Treasure Hunt Crunch? Or maybe you would prefer Choco-Donuts Crunch? This never ending parade of Crunch madness has got to end. The Cap’n is sick, he needs help.

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America’s love affair with a man named Pac

Posted in 80s, Pac-Man, pop culture, reviews, video games with tags , , on August 6, 2008 by Paxton

Okay, this was meant to be the article I posted after my July 3rd opus on the Perfect Pac-Man game.  However, circumstances being what they are (me = ADD) other things grabbed my attention and I’m just now getting around to posting this followup.  In the last article I discussed a little bit of Pac-Man’s history and also covered Billy Mitchell’s achievement in 1999 obtaining the first perfect game of Pac-Man.  There’s a lot of pop culture crap that happened between Pac-Man debuting in 1980 and Billy Mitchell cementing his status as “king of the nerds” in 1999.  And this is the stuff I love to cover; pop culture crap.

In the ’80s, Pac-Man was HUGE.  He was everywhere.  The Pac-Man logo and video game character were licensed on hundreds of products to capitalize on what would become the most famous video game of all time.  We’ll take a look at some of these products, but first, let’s look at the video game’s lineage.

Pac-Man Sequels

I’m sure you know a few of them, but I doubt you knew there were about thirteen of them, many being exclusive releases on home video consoles.  Let’s take a look at some of the more notable sequels in the pantheon of Pac-Man gaming.

Pac-Man screenshotAfter realizing they had a hit on their hands, Bally-Midway decided to sell the video game rights to Atari to develop a port of the game on the extremely popular VCS 2600 in 1981. The media blitz surrounding the impending release was monumental to say the least. Ironic, because next to ET the Extra Terrestrial, this was the worst game ever created for the Atari 2600. And yes, I owned it. The music was awful, the graphics were terrible, the ghosts were dumb and the fruit you normally eat in the middle changed to a “vitamin pill”. Awful. Needless to say, this game was one of the three reasons, in my opinion, that Atari went bankrupt. The other two? The games ET the Extraterrestrial and Donkey Kong. No company could recover from that Trinity of Unholy Suck-i-ness.

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Pac-Man Perfect: 1st Perfect game of Pac-Man played on today’s date, 1999

Posted in 80s, Pac-Man, pop culture, video games with tags , , , , on July 3, 2008 by Paxton

On today’s date, July 3, in 1999, the first perfect score was achieved on the arcade game Pac-Man. This feat was accomplished by the very controversial figure, Billy Mitchell, at the Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Mitchell was competing with a partner in a US vs Canada video game competition over the Fourth of July weekend. It took him over six hours to complete his “perfect game”.

What, you may ask, goes into getting a “perfect score” on Pac-Man? To reach the maximum score of 3,333,360 points, one must navigate 255 mazes, or “boards”, eating all dots, power pellets and point giving fruit. You must also devour all four ghosts every time you eat a power pellet. After successfully navigating the first 255 boards you will reach the final 256th board, or what is known as the “kill screen” (see pic below). On the 256th maze, there is a bug in Pac-Man’s internal code that affects how the screen is drawn. Half the screen is perfectly clear while the other half is a mess of random characters and symbols. The interrupted drawing of the maze renders this final maze nearly unplayable. You finish your game by acquiring as many points as possible on this “kill screen” before you eventually die.

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