Pac-Man Turns 30 - Page 2
“Almost any town I lived in, the yellow dude and his contemporaries were hanging around somewhere… A storefront with blacked out windows and a colorful painted generic logo offered what I needed - familiarity.
“Inside, the sounds were always the same. The lights were low, always the same. The people were different, but also always the same. The pixels called to me, asking just a quarter for solace. An eaten pellet, a stabbed ninja, a blown up alien later, I could forget for a while that I'd just lost all my friends because of a moving truck.
"Sure, I'd get a letter now and then, but experience made me a realist. They were gone. The pixels were here. So was a pusher, but Nancy Reagan told me to turn down those magic pellets. Winners don't do drugs, they play Donkey Kong until they can loop the score to zero.”
Other Gen Xers remember playing the game with their parents. “I was reminiscing on the phone with my dad about all the fun we used to have playing Pac-Man together,” says Meredith Turner who works for Farm Sanctuary in New York City. “He described the Pac Man high that you would get once you reached the third screen and the pace quickened.”
Late last year, Turner and her boyfriend discovered an old Ms. Pac Man arcade game in a bar. “I made a bee-line to it,” she says. “Not having played in a long time, I came close to beating the highest score on the machine in just two games. And that was just warming up.
“I guess having mad Pac Man skills is like riding a bike.”
Yes, and if a red, pink, cyan and orange ghost are chasing you, all the better.
According to John Yarborough, who does PR for Namco, the company that developed the arcade game, Pac-Man's birthday is definitely on the company's radar, though they aren't disclosing any specific plans for the celebration. Currently, three Pac-Man iPhone games are available.
(Image Courtesy Namco Networks)