Pac-Man fever is no joke. It’s a persistent condition that the best we can hope for is a few years of remission. So why Pac-Man of all games? It’s not exactly cool like Sonic or consistent like Mario? I mean there are some radical departures in game genres as well as cross media tie ins. Yet it always comes back to it’s heart. Yellow puck munches dots and dodges ghosts. Not to mention you can get a version of Pac-Man on like any system you own. Which has been the status quo since Atari. For refrence here are the ones I grew up with.

Which is only the ones I paid money for on another console. That doesn’t count the plug and play systems, mini consoles, ROMs, and most importantly all those arcade cabinets I would toss quarters in. Pac-Man got his hands on me early, I recall it always being in the house so logically it was one of the first games I’d ever play. Which is part of it’s charm. Most of the games don’t even require a button beyond start. Then again it also is why I assume many people will look elsewhere for fun. The Ghosts can feel awfully unfair when it comes to your deaths. Something you can shrug off in an arcade full of experiences at a quarter a try won’t feel as fun from your couch when the only high scores are set by you and your friends. It gets frustrating when you just can’t manage to land a better run each time. It can get so disheartening that fun becomes work.

Always chasing just one more point to rub in your friend’s smug face. Get out of here with that weak sauce, it’s called Balloon Trip not Balloon Sunday Drive. Don’t step to me in my house, on my game, it won’t end how you want it to. Call me Twin Galaxies because I only recognize scores set in front of my own eyes. I got a little off topic there, but it still fits. Atleast it would if I knew others who actively played Pac-Man. Actively being the key term here. We have all played a Pac-Man in some form or another. More of us than have honestly sat down to a game of Pong. Now have I stayed active myself? No, not really. I mean I started just listening the Pac-Man games and versions I know of and even that list got to be over 40. So clearly I can’t fault people for moving on from the series. I guess it’s a lot like the Simpsons. Something we just neatly tuck away as part of our past just to be suddenly reminded that not only are they still making Simpsons episodes, they never stopped. So let’s just say you get curious about all the Pac-Man you might be missing and Google it.

Even Google is a Pac-Man. The game is everywhere. Rightfully so, obviously, but ya know it never stops trying to change things up even decades in. I’m not going to count, but I’m sure there are more games vastly different from the classic maze chase than updates to the original. So in that regard can I say that I enjoy Pac-Man? Like when the bulk of a franchise is just drastically different… Ya know getting Sonic vibes there. Especially in not understanding who all keeps buying Pac-Man titles so fervently. What’s his appeal now? Like to new players, how would the series scream out for attention? I suppose the animated shows do add something for kids to grab onto. Only problem is I have never known anyone who watched them.

I know, I know you were expecting the old 80s cartoon where the guy just growls “Pack Man” for the theme song. Trust me I wanted to ask well, but that wouldn’t point out exactly how much Pac-Man there is and we just forget about it. Curiously the Pac-Man World games connect so much of the franchise. Really more of the series is Pac-Man World/Ghostly Adventures than anything else. Those like me who stick to the arcade game must just be the vocal minority here. If not then how can the original game get sidelined so hard? Possibly because Pac-Man’s arcade titles are like pancakes. Exciting at first but you get quickly sick of them as you keep going.

Pancakes tracks actually. Ask anyone, he’ll ask yourself, if they like pancakes. Then get an honest answer of the last time you had some. Funny right? You probably got a “just add water” mix sitting in your house right now. Just it’s a hassle to stir it up, or you just don’t feel like it. Any number of excuses. There are any number of free ways to play legitimate Pac-Man on any number of devices you have. More options if you have loose morals. Yet how long has it been since you made some ghosts toast? I think liking Pac-Man is enjoyable in itself. Just remembering whatever place he holds in your life. Those moments when for whatever reason you made the decision to keep it old school. Perhaps Pac-Man represents that early time in our lives when we first started playing games. Pretty sure there aren’t any death bed converts to Pac-Man. Like chicken pox, you better catch Pac-Man Fever early or it can be fatal in later life. Fatally boring that is. When you stop just enjoying your game and start analyzing how it works mechanically for an edge when setting that high score.

There is nothing wrong with that, if it’s how you have fun that is. Just don’t think it’s all about high scores here. Since even Pac-Man tends to prefer the more casual experience. So there you have it. Basically our first gaming PSA about the dangers of Pac-Addiction. A nebulous hard to explain fascination with a little yellow disk that will regularly take thirty dollars or more to treat when you have a flair up. Until next time do take proper safety precautions next time you have a pocket of quarters set aside for laundry and know that there is no such thing as “just one more game” more than once had that mindset make me drive home with a bag of wet pants and a new high score.