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Happy 30th Anniversary Pac-Man!

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It's hard to believe, but it was 30 years ago this weekend  that Pac-Man  was introduced to the video game world.Pac-Man turns 30. Photo: http://www.monochrom.at/english/pictures/pacman.PNG The "sleeper" hit of an arcade game that was developed by Namco and released through Midway was (oddly enough) not considered to be a game with a lot of mainstream potential at the time of its inception.

Funny how that works. A shelf life in the realm of American Pop Culture can be fleeting. However, with its simple but effective and entertaining format, Pac-Man struck a chord with game players of all ages, paving the way for other successful games of its time like Q Bert, Donkey Kong, and Frogger, just to name a few. From the original Atari  to the sophistication of the Nintendo Wii and XBox, Pac-Man has been played on many game consoles and in different forms now for generations. It has truly stood the test of time.

I was one of the lucky ones who grew up in the age of the arcade video game. The lines aren't as long now, but back in the 80's, the Pac-Man machines were always the most crowded. Whether you are young or old, it's almost impossible to find somebody today who hasn't heard of Pac-Man or played the game at your local arcade-pizza joint. It has launched numerous spinoffs, including Ms. Pac-Man (believed by many, including my mother, to be the better overall game of the two), cartoons, board games (you all remember the plastic characters with the marbles!), and merchandise. You could even find Pac-Man at my local college bar (A moment of silence for The Muddy Duck), and the competition between friends was always fierce. Moreover, I'm sure this summer when you're on the Ocean City Boardwalk, you will get the urge to run into Jilly's and drop a few quarters to try and avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde.

In the meantime, you can play Pac-Man for free on Google's home page. Try it. Worst case scenario, you feel like a kid again.

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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