Flashback 1980: Pac-Man Fever

Whether or not you’re old to enough to have lived through the Sixties and Seventies, here’s a momentous occasion in the history of electronic entertainment that takes us back to 1980, the year Ronald Reagan was elected president: Pac-Man makes its debut in U.S. arcades and goes on to become not only the first mega-hit video game in history but an icon in pop culture.

Although the game was released as “Puck Man” in Japan several months earlier, it didn’t reach “Pac-man Fever” proportions until it arrived in the states. It even spawned a Top 10 hit single “Pac-Man Fever” as well the popular follow-up game, Ms. Pac-Man.

In 1982, Time magazine wrote:

Pac-Man is bursting out all over. Not only has the 15-month-old arcade game swallowed up an estimated $1 billion in quarters to become the hottest item in the video-game market, but the little yellow creature is now invading homes and spawning nearly 200 offshoots ranging from jeans to a chart-busting pop song, Pac-Man Fever.

Pac-Man is a pie-shaped yellow figure that scores points in a video game by gobbling up dots, colorful fruits and four ghosts that inhabit its mazy world...

If you’ve ever played Pac-Man, then you know why it caught fire: It is highly addictive!

When Pac-Man hit the scene, it introduced a new genre that stood apart from the popular “space shooters” of the day, Space Invaders and Asteroids, which helped catapult it to fame.

Have you played Pac-Man? Share your thoughts and recollections about this video game classic.