PAC-MAN: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON
MOVIE: *** (out of 5)
DVD EXPERIENCE: * (out of 5)
BY KEVIN CARR
I grew up in the 1980s, and I remember when the Pac-Man video game first became a sensation. I remember hoarding quarters and seeking out the video game at pizza parlors and drug stores around town. I remember spending countless Saturday afternoons at Chuck E. Cheese’s when it was an arcade instead of a kiddie playground. I also remember watching the original “Pac-Man” cartoon on Saturday mornings in 1982 and 1983.
Warner Archive has dusted off this Hanna-Barbera classic and released the first season on DVD. This includes thirteen episodes on two discs, amounting to a little more than five hours of 80s cartoon programming. For me, the nostalgia meter was off the charts.
The premise of the show stayed close to the rules of the game, as best as it could considering the giant leap of media. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man lived in Pac-Land with their baby, dog and cat. The dreaded Mazmaron, who wants to get his hands on the power pellets in Pac-Land, sends his henchmen ghosts there to bring them back. Yeah, it pretty much follows the similar pattern to other cartoons like “The Smurfs” and “The Gummi Bears,” but that’s the 80s for you.
The cartoons were fun and worked hard to keep the Pac-Man theme going. Sure, we had Pac-Man and his family experience various genres like a western ghost town, a cemetery with real ghosts and even the Pac-Man equivalent of the White House.
Taken in short 12-minute blocks, these Pac-Man shorts were totally 80s but still work in a nostalgic way today. It’s a weird footnote in cartoon history, but “Pac-Man: The Complete First Season” is just as good as its less-forgotten contemporaries like “The Snorks” and “Richie Rich.”
As with most releases from Warner Archive, there are no special features included on these two discs.