In the ’80s, companies used the Pac-Man license like a gas station glory hole: bangin’ out the goods and hoping something nice came out on the other side. And they used it a lot, with no regard as to who or what was on the other side. As Pac-Man’s arcade games systematically ate the nation’s quarters, these companies in both America and Japan churned out all kinds of merchandise, both good and bad, to fight for those dimes and nickels and pennies left behind.
Oh sure, today there’s plenty of incredible Pac-Man collectibles; if you can justify it and/or hide it from your wife — you can pick yourself up a $200 Pac-Man Commemorative Zippo or a set of High-End Moleskine Notebooks to use as a ledger for recording your crippling Pac-debt. But since that first power pellet was gobbled 30 years ago, buying Pac-Man junk has rarely meant ridiculously expensive brushed-metal watches, and more often meant crap. Here are 10 items sold throughout the years that Pac-fans sadly ate up, despite the fact they were terrible.
10) Pac-Man “Bowery” Puppets
Ms. Pac-Man’s comely deer hooves are spread, her puppet hole is pursed, and that hooker lipstick seems to say “let all of your fist disappear right up in this.” Even with his dope-addled, bloodshot eyes, Pac-Man can see he’s made a horrible mistake. I’m thinking after threee minutes of having your hand in these things, the live-in bedbugs will find their way to your supple knuckles.
9) Pac-Man Cookies
To commemorate Pac-Man’s anniversary, Japan’s Circle K stores started hawking these “cookie buns,” which don’t at all look like a White Castle slider stuffed inside a lemon rind. I mean, they say its crushed almonds in there, but I don’t trust anything from a country that thinks Ice Cucumber Pepsi is a solid idea.
8) Tomy Pac-Man Bank
Without strict licensee guidelines about Pac-Man’s appearance, companies ran wild with how they interpreted a simple pixilated pie-shape. Tomy chose to envision Pac-Man as a sad raccoon, who is also a penis with a slot machine handle. On the flip side, it helped save your money for something less depressing.
7) Pac-Man Stickers
Remember how you used to jerk off to Anna Nicole Smith? And then remember when she opened her mouth, and your dick slunk up into your body like an ashamed turtle head? That’s what happened when Fleer infamously gave a human voice to Pac-Man and Co. The grotesque stickers consistently alluded to weird sex between Pac-Man and the ghosts (excuse me, “monsters,” if you’re a total asshole). And not even Greg Giraldo would find the jokes on these stickers as funny. Oh, too soon? A month ago you didn’t give two shits about Greg Giraldo, so go kneel on a popsicle.
6) Pac-Man Dog Toy
Okay, this wasn’t sold as a dog toy, but what in the hell else do you do with a plastic ball filled with little marbles? This is supposed to be a game called “Pac-Man Panic,” and the object is to “get all the balls in Pac-Man’s mouth.” Which turns out to be impossible, because everyone knows the most balls you can get in your mouth is five (just trust me on this).
5) Pac-Man PVC Angel
Religion has destroyed most nations of the world, and you can blame Coleco for doing the same thing to the Pac-Man franchise with this bizarre figure. Fun Fact: Did you know over half of Americans believe in angels, but under 0% of those people believe Pac-Man should be portrayed as one? Besides, everyone knows Pac-Man is already dead — stuck in an eternal maze limbo and forced to run from his demons for eternity to atone for his past sins. What, you really didn’t know that?
4) Pac-Man Lingerie
Because I don’t write fan fiction of Ash giving Pikuchu a pink glove, I never understood mixing sex with your geek hobbies. But maybe Ms. Pac-Man in Hustler really makes your meat sizzle, so in that case here’s this. I’m not gonna say I’d kick a woman out of bed for wearing this, but I’m not saying I won’t laugh when she flips her skirt up and there’s a purple ghost on the front of her crotch. I mean, seriously… a purple ghost? How do you expect me to remain erect when your panties are so woefully out of line with Pac-Man canon? Jeez… women. Amirite?
3) Pac-Man Math Game
Sounds like the square root of bullshit to me. C’mon, Milton Bradley… you couldn’t have cranked out a Pac-Man version of Connect Four, or even “Pac-xis & Allies”? I’m sure many kids have warm memories of their father, stumbling in drunk on Christmas morning at the 11th hour and saying “I GOT THAT PAC-MAN YOU LIKE,” and their mom grabbing the game and saying, “Kids, go to your rooms.” And, following that, a lifetime of hardships.
2) Pac-Man “Ghost in Mouth” Doll
Another oddly designed plush doll that looks exactly like the kind of dirty thing truck drivers would zip-tie to the grill of their semi for good luck. I’ll just let another website explain this one: “There is a purple hanging loop on top of Pac Man’s head, enabling this large doll to be hung from a nail or peg. ” Read as much violence into sentence as you feel like.
1) Pac-Man Vitamins
Oh, where to start. Where. To. Start. How about the unprovoked, unsolicited attack on the character of Flintstones vitamins? How about that there’s both a preschool and children’s version of these? Or, HOW ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY MADE A FUCKING VITAMIN BASED ON PAC-MAN — WHERE THE GOAL IS TO EAT AS MANY VITAMIN-ESQUE PELLETS AS POSSIBLE TO WIN THE GAME. Jesus. You know what else has no artificial flavors or colors? All that Activated Charcoal Goo they squeeze down your throat in the emergency room when you overdose on a by-product of your once-harmless friend Pac-Man.