Friday, May 21, 2010


I'll never forget the first time I ever played Pac-Man. I believe it was at either the arcade at Nathan's on Old Country Road in Westbury or perhaps the Levittown Roller Rink or maybe even, for some strange reason, Borelli's, the Italian restaurant in East Meadow that my family and I have been dining at since it opened over 50 years ago.

Regardless, the moment I bugged my mom for a quarter and popped it into that glowing red "Insert Coin" button, I was immediately hooked. My obsession with Star Wars took a momentary detour for Pac-Man. I had just about everything: bedsheets, gumball machines, stickerbooks, that stupid board game, that even stupider Atari 2600 game, stuffed animals, rubber figures, the whole nine. If you were to see my notebooks from elementary school back then, they were covered with attempts to perfect the Pac-Man caricature. Game-wise, it took me a while to get to the Pretzel level, but I finally made it after several quarters and a lion's share of patience. It's hard to believe that it has been 30 years since Pac-Man became the national sensation that made 1980 one of the greatest periods of time ever, in spite of a recession, a hostage crisis with Iran and Richard Pryor nearly burning himself alive freebasing cocaine.

Here at the IRT, we pay tribute to the 1980 Midway/Namco game that started it all for many of us in Generation X. Thanks to Pac-Man, more kids are addicted to video games than they are to crack, smack or the wacky tobacc. Happy Anniversary, yellow guy.

Original 1980 Gameplay:

Pac-Man cartoon opening theme:

Pac-Man "A Bad Case of the Chomps"

Pac-Man Chef-Boy-Ar-Dee pasta commercial:

"Pac-Man Fever"

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