Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Name of Card Set: Pac-Man
Production Company: Midway
Year of Production: 1980
Pack Contents: 3 Stickers, 3 Cards, 1 stick bubble gum
It would be hard to argue that Pac-Man is not the most iconic video game figure of all-time. Released in 1980, Pac-Man mania swept through arcades around the globe. Widely heralded as a landmark game, Pac-Man appealed to a massive amount of players regardless of age or gender. In what comes as a bit of a shock, Topps did not secure the rights to a trading card set based on Pac-Man...rather rival company Fleer stepped in and delivered a fantastic set of cards for children (and adults!) to collect.
The release itself is a refreshing change from the often haphazard Topps releases, and features a good deal of creativity and uniqueness. Each pack contained 3 stickers, 3 cards and a stick of gum. The stickers were oddly enough smaller than the typical 2.5" x 3.5" trading cards...and came in closer to a 2.5" x 2.5" square. This shape makes them much more interesting to look at, and causes them to stick out in any card collection. The fronts of the stickers featured either black-backed character cards comprised of humorous scenes between Pac-Man and the ghosts...or clever Pac-Man facts and artwork. The card backs featured a few details about the set, as well as instructions on what to do with the stickers.
The 'Cards' mentioned on the wrapper were in fact Rub-Off cards (previously introduced on Toypedia in the Donkey Kong entry). This is without-a-doubt the best part of the release, as these cards allowed collectors to play a simulated game of Pac-Man by scratching off the circles on the card. The back of the card detailed the points-system and rules for play. I remember scratching off dozens of these growing up, and found it extremely difficult to not give it a try when scanning the cards for this post!
All-in-all this is a fantastic set to collect. It's full of cool 80's artwork, cheesy one-liners, and enough unique little twists to separate it from the hundreds of other non-sport trading cards released in the 80's. Since Fleer did such a great job, it begs the question of why they didn't get more involved in the hobby and try to give Topps a run for their money?