When it comes to iconic video game characters, perhaps the earliest one to come to mind is the little yellow pizza-inspired circle Pac-Man. His arcade game is a classic, the franchise has continued to this day. And like any success: it’s been cloned to death.
Perhaps the earliest example of “me too!” game design, Pac-Man is one of the earliest games to ever fall victim to developers going “well, I can release this too!” and puking out half-assed, uninspired wannabe versions. Maybe some of these are alright games, but you’ll doubtfully ever play them ’cause just about every one of them has atrocious cover art. Marketing 101: Don’t make your game horrible before people even play it.
Don’t believe me? Let’s dive into the lovely world of Pac-Man clones and their hilariously bad, sometimes terrifying, cover art!
Ghost Chaser is somewhat of an enigma. Very little information on it exists, and it seems to be pretty unheard of. Perhaps it’s an unlicensed title. However, the cover art DOES exist. And it’s hilarious. Instead of ghosts,
Pac-Man Blue… Guy… appears to be chasing a large glob of ketchup.
That’s what Pac-Man was missing! Dual-wielding six shooters! What are you going to do? Gun down a ghost? I’m not even sure if there is shooting in the actual game, all I know is that the prospect of a blue sphere with arms shooting at me is infinitely intimidating. Also, I’m not even entirely sure that guns would fire in the vastness of outer-fucking-space! As though scientific realism matters at all at this point…
Munchman is what would happen if you took Pac-Man and made him look like a sexual predator. And also if you put him into the TRON universe, apparently. My favorite part of this cover, besides his “I have an erection” facial expression, is the fact his enemies appear to be deadly, ultra-terrifying… geometrical shapes! THAT BLUE CONE WILL FUCK YOUR SHIT UP!
And one more time for added effect:
As if that wasn’t terrifying enough, we have this disaster…
I’m not sure what it is about, *cough*, “Dot Gobbler” that makes me so uncomfortable. Perhaps its the fact he has very toned legs with chubby thighs. Perhaps it’s the mischievous eyes and pudgy pink cheeks. Maybe it’s the fact he seems entirely too happy about shoving marbles in his face and running from ghosts.
No, wait… I figured it out. It’s because he looks like every racist Disney cartoon from the 1930s… those aren’t ghosts he’s running from, they’re clan members!
But let’s keep the ball rollin’… and gobbling dots… with what appear to be fuzzy aliens!
“How many Munchies can your Munchkin munch before your Munchkin’s all munched out?????”
Where do I even BEGIN?! How about the use of not one, not three, but FIVE question marks. This is a really important inquiry. This isn’t just a question, it’s an urgent matter that needs to be solved! We really need to know how many… Munchies… your Munchkin can… ugh.
And is it just me or does “Munched Out” sound entirely too much like a euphemism for oral sex?
There seems to be a pattern here. All Pac-Man clones are apparently built around the basis that Pac-Man is immensely creepy. And possibly a pervert. Let’s see what the next clone brings…
I’m not even touching that one. Dear God. Someone DREW THAT. A human being with hopes and dreams and ambitions, possibly a family, drew that. THAT. Just…
I hope you weren’t planning on sleeping anytime soon.
Man, these games are terrible and everything about them is crap. You might as well just cut out the middle man and call your Pac-Man clone “Shit”.
This is one of the covers for “Oh Shit” a Pac-Man clone. BUT… it has one catch. When your character dies, a bad soundbite kicks in and says “OH SHIT!”. Which is an appropriate response to being straight up murdered by a ghost. This cover art tells you absolutely nothing about the game, it’s just scary as all hell.
Also, I didn’t know that the Michael J. Fox movie “The Frighteners” was actually just a movie adaption of “Oh Shit!”. Though “Shit” would have been an appropriate title for that film as well…
Let’s drive this home with one more cover art for “Oh Shit!”. Maybe a different cover captured the game’s awesomeness more.
At least “OH SHIT!” fits more with the image of a disembodied bear head attempting to eat what appear to be red and white blood cells. This is what hepatitis looks like under a microscope, folks.
But sometimes, one or two bad cover-arts for a game just aren’t enough. That’s where Lock ‘n’ Chase comes into play. It doesn’t have just ONE terrible cover art. It has fucking FOUR OF THEM!
These just don’t have the impact I was hoping for, let’s move on to the third cover…
AH, now this is more like it. That may be the most dapper thief I’ve ever seen. Not sure why someone with a bitchin’ jacket with coat-tails and a lovely top hat would need to be pilfering bags of cash, but I feel as though there is a “the 1%” joke to be made here. In fact, I think this may have been re-purposed as a poster for Occupy Wall Street…
Wait a second… WHY DOES HE HAVE A FUCKING CAMERA?! That just escalated this to a whole ‘nother level of uncomfortable…
And can we please address the ineptitude of the police here?
I call this piece “COPS – London Edition!”
So kudos, Lock ‘n’ Chase, you impress me with the variety of your awkward cover art!
Sadly, it’s not even just Pac-Man CLONES that have gotten the terrible cover art treatment. Would you believe that even Pac-Man itself has fallen victim to unfortunate art?
If you ever wondered what Pac-Man would look like as a tall, lanky puberty-suffering teenager, there you go. And if you ever wondered what it’d look like if a ghost licked it’s chops while chasing said teenager, you’re double-covered by this artwork. Pac-Man seriously needs to invest in a bigger pair of shorts, he is one false step from his power pellets falling out…
So there you have it, friends. A museum of Pac-Man clones that proves one thing and one thing only: Apparently every developer in the 80s viewed Pac-Man as a pedophile!
Who knew there was so much context behind the classic arcade game!