I think I might have said this before, but I absolutely LOVE Pac-Man. I mean, I love everything about it, from the game to the aesthetics of it. Sure, it was originally before my time, but ever since I was little, I have loved to play the game, even though I have never been a standout player. I mean, I can hold my own, but I have never gotten to enter my name into the very top score line on any arcade machine. I also love the simplicity of design and all the characters, from Pac himself and his lady love to all the ghosts. I have a Pac-Man coffee mug, candy tins, magnets, egg cups(!) of Inky and Blinky (featured below in pictures), a hat, several shirts, a belt buckle that I never wear, a beloved lanyard I got at SDCC several years ago, and many other items. So while I have always been able to keep a healthy dose of Pac-related merchandise in my shopping cart, surprisingly, toys have always been a bit lacking. Well, now that Pac has gotten some new life in the animated show Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, the toy faucet has been opened! So when I saw the Ghost Grabbin’ Pac-Man figure at Toys R Us last weekend, I was picking it up no matter what.
I will be 100 percent up front about this: I have not seen the new Ghostly Adventures show. In fact, in the interest of full disclosure, I did not even know there was going to be a show until I got press release previewing these new toys. Does that make me a bad Pac-fan? I am not sure. I don’t think so, but I suppose I need to check it out just in the interest of covering all my bases. The fact remains, though, that I am really a fan of the classic and iconic Pac-Man aesthetic from the 1980s, so, regardless, that’s where my heart will remain. So why get an action figure based on of a brand new media push, you might ask? Well, taken on looks alone, this Ghost Grabbin’ Pac-Man is actually a pretty nice homage to the classic marketing materials used to promote the property so many years ago and has persevered to today.
So, at the very least, I have to give the show’s designers props for sticking close to an iconic look, for Pac-Man anyway; I have seen what I *think* are the ghosts from the show, and they have not fared so faithfully to a familiar design. Anyway, Pac-Man has a look, but more importantly, a feeling that most people will easily be able to recognize in this new property. Let’s face it, he was never going to look like the original game sprite or even the far-out art that adorned the original arcade cabinet, so going with the very familiar “media” look in this new property is a great thing as far as I am concerned. Having modern sensibilities while staying true to your iconography is a great way revitalize past properties.
Perhaps I am just singing the praise for selfish reasons because I finally have a Pac-Man figure that can stand on my shelf and be a Pac-Man that I know and love. So, in the end, even if the show is a train wreck and fails, I get my figure out of the deal, and maybe it will spur more merchandizing opportunities. I want this figure to stand on the shelf and look good — that is what I need out of it, but what if you are actually wanting something out of the figure as a toy? Well, this figure will take you places not yet traveled in the realm of all things.
Yep, that is a really long tongue that comes out of ol’ Pac’s mouth with spring-loaded ferocity. I might be missing something, but that is not anything I have ever seen in any incarnation of Pac-Man before. Perhaps this is something that the Ghostly Adventures brings to be a mark of uniqueness, but I am afraid I might be doing you a disservice by not knowing why the heck Pac-Man has a tongue of this magnitude. I am sure someone will inform me in the comments below, so be sure to get a glimpse of my schooling below.
Anyhow, if you open Pac-Man’s mouth, his tongue will unroll and protrude out in front of him. He is able to lick things from afar, and if you get this figure, I am sure you can think of countless ways to entertain house guests with this party trick. I am positive this has something to do with the new ghost-eating shtick, but I cannot speak to the effect on the show. Like I said, it is funny for what it is, but the best thing about it is that the tongue stays put away if you want or displayed if that is your thing. I REALLY wish you could open his mouth without seeing the tongue or have the ability to remove it, but maybe there will be another figure later in the line. His expression is very iconic with his tented eyebrows and his gloves and shoes are simple updates to the classic stylings. He does not have much movement past his opening mouth and spring-loaded tongue, twist hips, and shoulders — that’s about it, but seeing as how Pac-Man doesn’t even have arms or legs in the game, it is still an upgrade.
Hey! I have a pretty iconic Pac-Man figure on my shelf now, and I was not expecting it at all from this line based on the new cartoon. Sure, he has the tongue thing, but that can be easily hidden away if it is not your thing. I hope that we will get a chance to see some more classic Pac-Man figures, and maybe even some classic ghosts. The stand-in egg cups are fine for now, but I would love to get an upgrade to actual figures. Long live Pac-Man! Bring us more merchandise!