Everyone’s done the joke. Pac Man is some cunt in a nightclub gobbling pills to repetitive music. Depending on who you believe, that joke was coined either by comedian Marcus Brigstocke, or Garfield.
Anyway, during the early eighties, while I was developing in the gigantic tank buried deep in a fucking science lab, the cold war raged. Fridges were thrown. Ice cream was stuffed into gaping mouths. Icicles stabbed into enemy hearts. Polar bears! Polar bears running through the streets, tearing off limbs, carrying nuclear warheads into Argos.
Erm…I forgot where I was in this. Setting the scene nicely, I was in the first fledgling decade of my chubby youth. Running from that nightmare bear. Teetering on tiny legs. I was small for the only time in my life. I’d never be a child again. Stupid inexorable march of time.
Going off point for the second time there. Pac-Man was the world’s most famous yellow round man with a mouth that was half his size. Due to a heart condition, he was spherical and had just a mouth and an eye. The world was absorbed in his plight, and Pac-Man was roaring through the arcades like a racing wind of fun.
The game came to the Atari 2600 in 1982. The 2600 was a fine console. A clunky system of chunky pixels and sparse beeps, but to a young mind, a completely fascinating device. In among the realms of black stood towering character; incredible adventures. It was not so much that you used your imagination to fill in the blanks. You had to use your imagination. And still, there was something entirely unique about this strange, half-wood slab, and its satisfyingly blocky components.
The Atari Pac-Man was not well received. In fact, the bloody thing was partly blamed for the video game crash. Big trouble for everyone, but most of all for Pac-Man, buried in shit and beaten like a bruised apple, his yellowing bulk soiled with the feces and cum of thousands of the grudged.
Well, I fucking loved this version. For a start, it’s a functional, playable version. It lacks the detail and colour of the arcade, but so what? What the fuck did anyone expect from the Atari 2600 anyway? It could not render the sort of graphics to faithfully remake the game, but considering its limitation, the conversion is absolutely fine. I spent many days playing it, and happily went out munching paracetamols and punching ghosts like any other cunting kid.
Actually, they may have not been ghosts.
Oh, and it’s still better than Pixels. But then, so is kicking yourself in the fucking face for fourteen years in a row.
Next time! We’ll be jumping out of planes into a sea of utter piss. In Skydiver!