Throwback Thursday: “Pac-Man” puffy stickers!

Young kids snapped up “Pac-Man” stickers in the early 1980’s, even if (as far as we knew) the video game was virtually meaningless.  Did anyone even know the backstory for “Pac-Man?”  Was there even a backstory?  I myself rarely played the game — I didn’t live near an arcade, and this wasn’t one that my family owned for its Atari 2600.

Still, anything depicting the character was a hot commodity.

 

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Throwback Thursday: Fleer’s “Pac-Man” stickers!

Fleer’s “Pac-Man” stickers were quite the hot commodity among young kids in 1980.  And that’s weird, considering how simplistic and cheaply produced they were.  As you can tell from the examples below, the jokes ranged from the lame to the nonsensical … they might have been scripted by someone for whom is English was a second language.

Anyway, the kids in my neighborhood never actually removed the stickers from their backing — we just traded them like baseball cards.  Kids in the 80’s collected and traded just about anything.

I only remember two other arcade games that got this kind of collectible sticker treatment: “Ms. Pac-Man” and “Q-Bert.”  That strikes me as odd … weren’t games like “Centipede” and “Asteroids” cooler and more popular?

 

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Throwback Thursday: the Atari 2600

Adam Sandler’s “Pixels” was a heavy-handed attempt to invoke nostalgia for the video arcade games of the early 1980’s.  For me, it actually recalled the second wave of the video game invasion — the home video game consoles.

Not every kid in the 1980’s had easy access to arcades.  When I tell people I grew up in New York, I think they often assume I mean the city — where virtually any adolescent could catch a bus or a train.  But Suffolk County was a ruralish suburbia — home game systems were really how the kids in my neighborhood got swept into the craze.

Which brings us to the Atari 2600.  Just look at that relic.  To a kid today, that probably looks like a gigantic Underwood typewriter or a crank telephone.

Yes … those are indeed metal levers that were used to activate game functions.  And that is indeed faux-wood plastic siding.  They … actually designed a video game console to look as though it were made of wood.  They did the same thing with televisions back then.  It was a questionable stylistic choice even for the time, I think.  Did we really want technological products plied by a carpenter?

And check out the screenshots for “Combat,” which came standard with a console purchase.  It actually was a really fun two-player game.  (I can’t remember if players could play against the computer.)

Everyone’s favorite game, of course, was “Pac-Man.”  “Space Invaders” was the other Big Thing.  My family never got its hands on those, however, so I grew to love “Frogger.”  (Lord knows I still went nuts amassing the collectible “Pac-Man” stickers to trade with the kid next door.)  “Berzerk” was a close second favorite of mine; I was into killing robots before 1984’s “Terminator” made it cool.

Honestly, I think it would be a real kick to get a hold of an old 2600, and set it up and play it, just for old time’s sake.  It would be a pretty kitsch excuse to throw a party.

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