Pac Preview Party

Have you still not recovered from that case of Pac-Man Fever you contracted in 1980? Have you been wishing for someone to make a new Pac-Man cartoon show for the 21st century? Well, thankfully, someone did. Introducing Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (formerly known as Pac-Man: The Adventure Begins and Pac is Back — the show hasn’t even premiered yet and it’s already on its’ third title) is a computer-animated television series in production for Disney X-D, which was originally planned for Nickelodeon.
The series is slated to debut on June 17, 2013. The show is being produced by Marvel’s Avi Arad. Originally planned for 2012, the series features Pac-Man saving the world while attending high school. 26 episodes have been ordered. The series will be presented in stereoscopic 3D. There are 26 episodes planned, and an upcoming video game based on the series is set to be released on PS3, Xbox 360, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, and PC.
I can’t review this show since it hasn’t debuted yet; however, I can give you the basic overview:
Thousands of years ago, Pac-World was a place of peace and harmony, until traitors tried to take over Pac-World. They were defeated and deprived of their physical bodies and exiled to the Netherworld. Now they have escaped in the form of mischievous ghosts and other horrible monsters who are determined to regain physical bodies and take over Pac-World. Now it is up to Pac-Man, a slow-witted teenage slacker with a voracious appetite, and his friends to restore peace to Pac-World. The show’s main villain is a new antagonist called Betrayus, who commands countless types of ghosts. The show also has Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde, who work as Double Agents. Pac is your average teenage PacWorlder, except for two things:
  •  He’s a little rounder than most of his fellow citizens.
  •  He and his family happen to be the only YELLOW PacWorlders on the planet.
Beyond that, you’d hardly be able to pick him out of a crowd. That being said, since he’s yellow, he’s fairly easy to spot.
Pac is an upbeat gung-ho teenager and his enthusiasm can occasionally get the best of him.  When he’s “on a roll”, which is often, he goes rolling around school and around town at a pretty good clip, and he’s been known to crash, bump, slam and bounce into things on a regular basis.
Pac is a conscientious kid and not like many of his peers who spend their days chasing the latest fads or coveting the newest high-tech gadgets. The fact is, he wants more than that out of life.
Pac wants to make the world a better place and have fun doing it.  He wants to know why things are the way they are and when things aren’t working right, he wants to figure out a way to fix them.
In order to combat the ghostly menaces, our hero Pac is given a new breed of power pellets. The power pellets not only give Pac-Man the capability to chomp ghosts with ease (otherwise, he gets full fast) but they also give him other powers such as flight, size growth and underwater breathing.
In 2009, while the series was still being called Pac is Back, a trailer for the new show was released at that yea’s E3 convention. Here it is for your viewing pleasure (apologies for the somewhat blurry images; this trailer is in 3D):

Of course, as with any new update or revival series based on an existing franchise, with this trailer comes the usual hissy-tantrums from naysayers who are calling Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures a disgrace and an abomination and blah blah blah, wit the rallying cry of that beyond-tired internet meme “They Ruined My Childhood!”. No, No, NO! Pac-Man can’t be a teenager! The ghosts can’t be his friends! A Pac-Man show can’t be in CGI! This is not the Pac-Man cartoon I grew up with! EPIC FAILS!!!!111″

Really.

It’s just a new Pac-Man cartoon. Relax a little.

It’s different, yeah, but different doesn’t always instantly mean worse, just different. I can’t say how I feel about Pac being made into a teenager for this show yet, since I haven’t seen the idea in execution yet. The producers could’ve made Pac-Man a married husband and father like in previous incarnations, but I guess they felt that kids would have an easier time relating to the character if he were like them, a kid. Nowadays kid-vid producers don’t want to make kid shows starring adults unless they’re something extraordinary like secret agents, superheroes, aliens or wizards. I just hope that Pac’s being a teen doesn’t mean that the writers will make his high school the show’s principle setting. Pac can be a teenager without all of the show’s action taking place in front of lockers. I’m tired of the high-schoolization of kids’ shows; high school is not the be-all, end-all of human existence. Kids only go to school because they have to; as a kid the last thing I wanted to see after a long drudgery at school when I came home was to watch a bunch of shows about kids going to school.

What boggles my mind is how people are now declaring the Hanna-Barbera Pac-Man cartoon show from 1982 to 1983 to be some sort of classic achievement in animation. Oh, yeah, that old Pac-Man cartoon was sooooooo much better, right? I can’t even watch or think back on that show without grimacing on how messed up the ghosts on that show were. There were never 5 ghosts in the game, and there was never a purple ghost. Clyde should not have been the leader of the Ghost Gang; in the games he was always the slowest ghost. Blinky was the fastest ghost, the first ghost out of the pen and the one who always followed the closest behind Pac-Man, logically Blinky should have been the leader. They shouldn’t have had both Clyde and Sue; Sue was just the name of the orange ghost in Ms. Pac-Man (the orange ghost’s name would be different in each game: in Ms. Pac-Man the orange ghost was named Sue and in Junior Pac-Man the orange ghost was named Tim.) Having 2 ghosts with non-rhyming names ruined the joke. If HB just wanted to have a female ghost, then they could’ve just made Pinky female like so many other forms of Pac-Man merch and memorabilia did. Have people forgotten how cheesy and one-note that 1982 cartoon was?? But that’s the thing about nostalgia: the bad and mediocre stuff gets forgotten, making the past seem better than it actually was.

Given how low the bar has been set for animated adaptations of Pac-Man, I’d say Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures has nowhere to go but up.

There are actually some aspects of Ghostly Adventures that intrigue me: I like the futuristic look of Pac-World, and some of the high-tech gadgets that the Pac Worlders go wild about I kind of want to see, but then I’m a gadget lover myself. I like the bright pretty colors of the various Pac Worlders, and speaking of colors, I’m also curious as to how the idea of Pac being the only yellow Pac Worlder around will play out; it seems like an interesting plot point, and I wonder if there will be an in-universe explanation for it. I can’t say that the story of this show is on par with that of say, Tales of Symphonia or Final Fantasy VII, but come on, this is Pac-Man. We’re talking about an 8-bit video game from 1980 about a yellow circle that runs around a maze eating dots while being pursued by 4 Technicolor ghosts. Just how deep and intricate is the story supposed to get?

I say at least wait until Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures premieres and we’ve seen a few episodes before we declare it a childhood killer and starting calling for it to be killed with fire.

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