In 1982, at the peak of Pac-Man Fever, Coleco introduced a line of Pac-Man toys, including a half dozen bendable PVC figures based on the game. The characters included Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Blinky the ghost, Mr. Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man, and – perhaps oddest of all – “Pac-Angel.” Other companies also cashed in, and Midway – Namco’s American licensee for the game – handed out the rights to produce Pac goods like a bunch of dots in a maze.
Coleco had, by this time, already released a nice tabletop LED version of Pac-Man, featuring the original game, a head-to-head version, a variation called Eat & Run, and a demo mode. Not long afterward, this was followed by a similar tabletop version of Ms. Pac-Man.
Coleco was far from the only company to have a license to produce Pac-Man-related toys and other items, however. Everything from plush versions of the character to hand puppets to bedsheets to metal TV trays were made, with someone, somewhere, snatching up the license for everything in between: breakfast cereal, puffy stickers, board games, card games, and even records.
Kid Stuff’s collection of Pac-Man records were aimed squarely at kids – and, by the sound of things, rather young ones at that. The Adventures of Pac-Man and a “limited edition Pac-Man picture disc” were among the titles, which also included several book-and-record sets such as Baby Pac-Man Goes To The Market.
It’s interesting to note that, unlike most licensed properties today, there was almost no coordination among the various Pac-Man licensees in the early 1980s. The Pac-Man toys had nothing to do with the Pac-Man records or the Pac-Man cartoon, and the appearance of the characters often changed wildly from one manufacturer to the next. Very seldom did any of the Pac-Man products bear any resemblance whatsoever to the characters as originally depicted on the arcade game’s cabinet, either.
Though Pac-Man made a lot of money for its various licensees, the marketability of the game faded quickly. Less-than-spectacular video game spinoffs (such as the nightmarish video-pinball hybrid Baby Pac-Man and Atari’s amazingly disappointing home version of the game), and the decline of the video game industry in general, made the window for profiting off of the Pac properties very slim indeed.