It's 35 years since Pac-Man broke onto the arcade scene in a bid to gobble up pac-dots and avoid ghosts. He's had a good run since the mid-80s, starring in all kinds of games, spinoffs, films and TV shows. But like anyone in their mid-30s, he's done a few things to be ashamed of too. Like these, for example.
This Adam Sandler vehicle mines 80s gaming nostalgia for every quarter. The concept is that aliens have sent a horde of video game characters to destroy earth, and the only ones who can save us are gaming aficionados from days gone by. It looks suitably terrible, with lots of hee-hawing. And any film that puts earth's future in the hands of Adam Sandler deserves to be swerved.
Admittedly Pac didn't make an appearance in this terrible novelty record, but it bears his name, and he's on the cover, so we hold him responsible. Amazingly, it made number nine on the Billboard charts in the US, and has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date. The follow-up, Do the Donkey Kong, charted at 103.
Was Ms Pac-Man actually a character? Or just Pac-Man with a bow on his head? If he wants to dress up like that, it's fine with us. But by keeping it a secret, he's only lying to himself. On a more serious note, as Feminist Frequency has pointed out, Ms Pac-Man was the first video game character to qualify as a stereotypical female version of her male equivalent, or in its terms, to be a 'Ms Male Character'. Thence followed Peb and Pab in Bubble Bobble, Lala in The Adventures of Lolo, MeeMee in Super Monkey Ball and countless others, putting gender equality back about 30 years.
The film itself was great fun, but Pac-Man has little more to do than scoff all the shrimp cocktails at the Fix-It Felix 30th anniversary party. Really, he's old enough to know better.
Pac-Man the cartoon
Yes, there was a whole cartoon series made featuring ol' Pac himself. For some reason he and the ghosts all wore hats. The less said the better.