Some celebrities have reached such an iconic state that they scarcely need an introduction. Pac-Man (spell it Pacman at your own peril) certainly fits that description. Songs have been written about him. A children’s cartoon graced the TV airwaves. An infamous professional football player bears his name. And did I mention the award winning and best selling video game?
Pac-Man has been something of a recluse since the scandalous breakdown of his marriage to Ms. Pac-Man and the disastrous attempt at a feature film. Since those unfortunate incidents, Pac-Man has been content to live quietly, only to emerge for his philanthropic work with multiple amputees.
Draped in fine silk pajamas (not unlike Hugh Hefner), sipping a snifter of port, and gracing an Errol Flynn-esque moustache, Pac-Man seemed to relish his retirement. I sat down with the legendary eater and 80’s icon at his home located just outside Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
EP: When did you first realize you had a future in eating?
Pac-Man: I can tell you exactly when. I was in third grade, and one of the other kids in school had a hole in his lunch bag and dropped a trail of Cheddar Goldfish from his classroom to the cafeteria. I left my spot at the cafeteria table and started gobbling them up. People started laughing and pointing at me. I then began to say “Waka-waka-waka” while eating them and everyone just started busting out laughing. I was hooked. I was different from the other kids, I mean, most of them were not an anamorphous mouth, so this was my way of fitting in. Kind of like the Jewish kid at a mostly Christian school who becomes a comedian.
EP: Did you have any idea your future would be in gaming?
Pac-Man: Not at all. I was hoping to have a career in stand up, but that idiot Gallagher stole my watermelon bit, only I would eat the whole thing in one bite and then rapid-fire spit the seeds at the audience. Way better than smashing it, but hey, I wasn’t interested in being compared to a hack like him.
EP: Where did the idea for the video game originate?
Pac-Man: I had hit a pretty low point. I was relegated to guest spots on Love Boat and as a drug dealer on CHIPS. I spent my entire paycheck on blow and ended up missing the next days shooting. Turn out to be the best decision I ever made, I was coming down the next day and had this idea that I should forget acting and try the newest medium of entertainment. Games were so lame, Space Invaders and Pong? Get real. Super Mario Bros. was years away. There was a niche in the market for a charismatic eater, and I knew I would fit the bill.
EP: Video games are obviously very different now, what do you think of the modern style of gaming?
Pac-Man: I was old school. I was taking out ghosts while the inventers of Ghost Hunter were a stain on their mother’s panties. Nowadays it is all so impersonal. You have a gun or some other weapon. I had to devour an entire ghost — from its remaining life essence to its ghostly wrappings — while moving as fast as I could AND taking care not to eat the eyes.
EP: Not to mention continuing to eat those wafer-pellets.
Pac-Man: Those were the worst. Eating those bland wafers has ruined my palate. Every night I have my personal attendants break pieces of foie-gras into pellets and line them all over the house so I can gobble them up. I vowed a long time ago never to eat bland food again. I usually have an ostrich egg (raw) for breakfast, along with a ginseng infused fruit smoothie. Lunch is usually Sevruga caviar, shipped straight from the Caspian Sea, with toast points. Dinner is foie-gras, and risotto with truffles.
EP: Changing the subject, when did things start to deteriorate with Ms. Pac-Man?
Pac-Man: It seemed like an obvious match, right? I guess we were just too similar. That, and she turned out to be a lesbian. Still, I was a lousy husband and didn’t blame her at all.
EP: The tabloid rumors were pretty crazy. That must have been very hard on her.
Pac-Man: Not just her, but Pac-Man Jr. as well. How does a kid cope with his dad being caught at a swanky hotel with Madonna one night, and in a public bathroom with George Michael the next? I was out of my mind. After the divorce PJ [Pac-Man Junior] went on this epic eating binge. He was arrested after breaking into Pike Place Market in Seattle and eating the place out of salmon. I was sad he had come to that, but I must admit, a little proud as well.
EP: What happened with Pac-Man: The Motion Picture? There was so much buzz.
Pac-Man: Yeah, it turned out to be a huge flop. It goes back to the untimely death of the original director, Stanley Kubrick. After Kubrick died, the whole project collapsed. Then, all of the sudden, this German guy named Uwe Boll says he’s a huge video game fan and wants to direct my film. So I said ok and let him take over the project, I mean, I was spent creatively. What a disaster. That guy should never be allowed near a film set again.
EP: What’s next for you?
Pac-Man: I doubt I’ll be in the public eye again. I have a standing offer to be on Dancing With the Stars, but that show is so lame that I just can’t bring myself to do it. I get a lot of scripts sent my way, I’ll probably pick something that feels right. Maybe the next Saw movie. Until then I’m happy here and I have my charities.
As our discussion wound down, the sun — a brilliant yellow disc — hovered on the horizon before being devoured by blackness. The metaphor was too great not to notice. I started to feel a little sorry for his fall from grace, but then remembered that even though the sun disappears from view it still burns brightly. Pac-Man had his 15 years of fame, and now seemed to be at peace with his life. Massive success and popularity, a high profile marriage, sex scandals (both gay and straight), and a big-budget film flop are more than most could handle. And who knows, like a ghost come back to life, it isn’t out of the question that he could resurface. Let’s just hope it isn’t on Dancing With the Stars.