I think it will be hard to explain to my son when he gets older just how popular Pac-Man was in its heyday.
You had your Pac-Man cereal, which was essentially sweetened Kix with marshmallow bits. The Star Wars cereal a few years back was similar to Pac-Man cereal -- or at least was close enough for my brother and me. After it had been out for a while, General Mills made a concession to all the Ms. Pac-Man fans out there and added marshmallows with a "shocking pink bow."
I don't know that I was as excited as this commercial would expect you to be, but it was still pretty good.
There was, of course, a Pac-Man cartoon, which featured Marty Ingalls as the voice of our hero. I'd love to say that it was a groundbreaking cartoon worthy of many repeated viewings, but, well, it was teamed up with the Rubik the Amazing Cube cartoon. That right there shows you the state of Saturday morning cartoons in the mid-80s. Cool song, tho.
Yes, there was Pac-Man pasta. Another brief offering from Chef Boyardee, I don't know if I ever got this as a kid. The only Chef Boyardee product that I really liked was UFOs, which had giant cheese ravioli motherships along with the regular pasta spacecraft. But if you ever wanted to see a cartoon character based on a video game shill for bland pasta, hey, all you have to do is click play.
"Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner and Garcia, was a hit single that was the first big indicator of the yellow one's fame. Imagine someone writing a song about Monopoly.
My favorite Pac-Man tie-in was the board game, which you can read about in great detail at X-Entertainment.
And I've already mentioned the cool Super Pac-Man scratch-off cards.
The hardest part, though, will be explaining how a game this popular was one of the worst games for the Atari 2600.