The 1980’s was a big decade for arcades and animation. Several popular games were turned into cartoons while several popular cartoons became a part of the digital world. And as always, a lot of these ended up on both sides of the same coin of cheddar. This is one of them. Grab a fist full of quarters and a bottle of Mr. Pip because this a Cheesy Cartoons look at Pac-Man!
When Pac-Man was released in 1980 by Namco, it quickly took over the arcade scene of the Reagan Era presidency, generating more than $1 billion in quarters by the end of that year. The little yellow dot munching puck’s popularity rose and eventually, he ended up on the screens of televisions across America. The animated series was produced by Hanna-Barbera and premiered on ABC. The show follows the adventures of the title character, Pac-Man, his wife Pepper Pac-Man, their child Pac-Baby, their dog Chomp-Chomp and their cat Sour Puss. The family lives in Pac-Land, a place in which the geography and architecture seem to revolve primarily around spheres and sphere-like shapes. The Ghost Monsters appear in the series under the employment of the main antagonist Mezmaron, who seeks to gain control of the Power Pellets.
CHEESE FACTOR!! Trying to expand upon a game centered on a yellow hockey puck gorging on dots and mauling ghosts is a difficult task. So what better way to do this than theme everything around that aspect. It was not hard to think you were seeing spots thanks to everything in the Pac World being round, from the trees to the houses to the wildlife. At which point, you’re like “Okay, we get it. Everything’s round.” But that didn’t end there. Each episode title had the word “Pac” somewhere in it and it didn’t always reference a specific character. Hanna-Barbera even poked fun at “Star Wars” with the main villain Mezmaron who resembles Darth Vader but has the mannerisms of Gargamel. And what with the fedoras? Pac-Man and Blinky, the red Ghost Monster, both don this ye olde fashioned head gear which leads to Blinky talking like a 40’s gangster.
WHY WE WATCHED!! Pac-Man remained ridiculously popular even during the Video Game Crash of 1983, although arcades were not affected by this. Also, it was a Saturday Morning Cartoon that was based on a video game. While the show’s humor was low-key at times, it was also entertaining for that same reason.
Pac-Man chomped his way through two seasons on ABC from 1982 to 1983. He was paired with Richie Rich and the Little Rascals for the first season run and then with Rubik the Amazing Cube for the second (and final) season. The series spawned two holiday specials. The Pac-Man Halloween special consisted of two segments from the show, “Pacula” and “Trick or Chomp”, which aired in primetime on October 30, 1982. In the Christmas special, Christmas comes to Pacland, Pac-Man and family help Santa Claus (voiced by Peter Cullen) after crash-landing on Pac-Land (after the reindeer were startled by the floating eyes of the Ghost Monsters after Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Baby munched them). Both shows have aired during Halloween and Christmas respectfully on Cartoon Network’s Boomerang channel.
Pac-Man the Series gets a cheesy rating of:
This is one wheel of cheddar that you can still chomp on to this day.