Pennies, pennies, pennies! Twenty five pennies gives you a quarter. And a quarter gives you a game of Pac-man, of course.
And, after all that work, the last thing you wanted to hear was the Pac-man death sound.
So, it may kind of crazy but I was penny-obsessed … and determined to avoid that dreaded death sound — weer weer weer weer weer … wok wok! — at all costs.
See, our neighborhood was lucky, and cursed, to have a small gas station/grocery mart about half an hour walk from my house.
And it had a brand new arcade game called Pac-man!
I first noticed the game when a group of older kids were jumping, screaming and bouncing off the walls in the corner of the store. I went over and found them playing Pac-man.
Wow, the sounds, the graphics, the everything about it was screaming for me to play, but I didn’t have a quarter to my name. Not being able to play gave me a lot of time to watch others, and I was sure I could be a good player if only I could get a quarter.
It only takes 25 pennies to get quarter, and I made it my mission to gather pennies everywhere I went. It turns out my mom was willing to pass on a few pennies from the change she got back when we grocery shopped. FYI, she was not so willing to give up any silver coins.
I also found pennies in the street, in parking lots, in phone booths, in coin return slots, at gas stations, in couch cushions, and just walking about town.
It really didn’t take long to get enough pennies gathered to play a few games. And, as I expected, I loved it!
I spent a lot of time during the summer walking to the mart and back to my house again. Sometimes I had pennies, and sometimes I just watched Pac-man.
Yes, I had the fever.
If someone’s mom was ready to go home, I would get to finish their kids’ games. A few times other kids would let me play a round to “show them” how to complete a screen. Other times people would pay for two players and let me play as the other player.
Mostly I play with my found pennies.
Even though I played a lot, I was never able to complete the game nor did I ever see anyone who could do it, but I sure did try.
So now, just for fun I have complied some of my favorite Pac-man sounds. I hope you like them and they help you remember that feeling when you had a quarter and you could’t afford for the game to end quickly so you played hard to keep the game going.
Play on my Pac-man friends, because this baby is the King of 80s Video Games (with all due apologies to the Donkey Kong contingent.)