In Praise of Ms. Pac-Man

Chris Kooluris had $32,000 and a dream. Within six months, he transformed his bedroom into a vintage arcade that he’s now famous for, with the help of his ex-fiancee. He made sure that Ms. Pac-Man was included (“for the ladies”, he stated) because it’s just a legendary game — in fact, it’s one of the most popular video games of all time. It’s a game that any collector like Chris wouldn’t want to omit.

Ms. Pac-Man is a lady from the 80’s — the game was released in January of 1982, and despite what the owner of Noah’s Arcade claims in Wayne’s World, the difference between Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man isn’t the fact that she has a bow on her head. (“That’s it? Get right out of town!”) Ms. Pac-Man brought us movable fruit, different color-schemed mazes, brand new animation, and a cute — yet deadly — orange ghost named Sue. But even better, she helped prove that arcades weren’t just for guys. She was initially advertised as the “femme fatale of the game world”, and that will never change.

Here are few more fun facts that’ll help you celebrate Ms. Pac Man.

  • Hardcore Ms. Pac-Man fans have developed their own jargon. For example, “premature pac-ulation” occurs when players mistakenly think they’ve eaten a power pellet, only to turn around and die while trying to eat a ghost. We’ve all been there before. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
  • Besides Wayne’s World, Ms. Pac-Man has had several mentions in notable pop culture movies and television shows. On Friends, Chandler’s hand turned into a cramped-up claw after playing it too much. On Scrubs, Kelso uses Ms. Pac-Man as a way to de-stress (and has a score of 40 million!) and Futurama gave her a brief cameo on an episode where Fry decides to play around with the What-If Machine.
  • Ms. Pac-Man is readily available to play online. Numerous websites have versions of Ms. Pac-Man that you can play on the computer. Perfect way to kill some time at work, while also making it sound like you’re typing at a super fast speed!
  • And finally, Ms. Pac-Man was the first female-lead arcade game ever. She started it all!

Ms. Pac-Man was originally developed as a game called “Crazy Otto”, which was almost an identical clone to the original Pac-Man. The company who bought the game, Midway, thought that making the lead a female would help gets girls to enjoy gaming. It’s a cheap tactic, sure, but at the time? It worked.

These days we see it as more than that — we see it as a women-driven game that is equal, if not better, than Pac-Man himself. “The populus was presented with a heroine every bit as capable as her male counterpart, and many find her game superior to the original all these years later,” said gaming writer Steve Watts.

It should go without saying that Ms. Pac-Man is amazing, and is one of the few games that’ll keep us interested for decades to come. No offense, Pong. You have your own admirable qualities, but you just don’t hold up the same way.

Image Credits: Featured

Filed Under