Older gamers will remember what “Pac-Man Fever” was like when it took over the early 1980’s. Oh sure, there’s been similar manias with Super Mario Bros., Street Fighter II, Pokemon, Wii Sports, and Angry Birds, but I still don’t think any of them ever really took over like the little yellow ball.

Pac-Man was everywhere: T-shirts, stickers, pajamas, records, bed sheets, garbage cans, restaurant glasses, figurines, TV trays, a top of the Billboard charts song, and of course, the Hanna Barbera animated series, now on DVD.

For those gamers that have never seen the series, it was similar to Smurfs or the Snorks, with the characters saying “Pac” before everything (you know, to differentiate between regular items that you and I use). Pac-Man, Ms. (Mrs.?) Pac-Man and Pac-Baby lived in Pac-Land with their pet dog (Chomp Chomp) and cat (Sour Puss). Pac-Man was essentially security for Pac-Land’s Power Pellet Forest, fending off against Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, Sue, and their human master, Mezmeron. After a while, they added in Super Pac-Man.

Plots were basically the same, much like the Smurfs: Things started out normal, Mezmeron busts up the happy Pac-Land, Pac and company eat power pellets, turn the tables on the not so bright ghosts and ultimately incompetent master, and life continues on, though there was that time Pac-Man saved Santa Claus, but now we’re just getting ahead of ourselves here.

It’s hard making a whole series about a premise that basically breaks down to “run around a maze while eating or be eaten” premise (then again, the Saturday Supercade anthology that ran around this time also envisioned nutty stories out of a number of ’80’s video games). It lasted two seasons, and the American arcade version of Pac-Land created its sprites around the cartoon.

Does the cartoon hold up? I tried watching it a few years back, and it’s very much an exercise in super simple plotlines (again, yellow ball runs from ghosts premise), but as a kid, caught up in the wave of excitement, it was amazing, and nostalgia will carry it far. I haven’t seen this DVD yet, but its anything like Warner Bros.’ other Saturday morning selections, it will look just fine. There’s even a new Pac-Man animated series coming out supposedly next year, showing that the little guy is ready for his small screen debut again after 30 years.

Old-school gaming enthusiasts, once they put those nostalgia blinders firmly in place, may get a chance to relive those childhood moments, while younger gamers will get a first-hand look about how deeply the idea of video gaming ingrained itself into ’80’s popular culture.

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