Pac-Man Collectibles An Unauthorized Guide

Review & Interview with the Author by Jonathan Imberi

Author Deborah Palicia has Pac-Man Fever, as do thousands of other collectors. She feverishly looks everywhere from flea markets to eBay in search of that elusive piece of Pac-Man history.

Midway licensed the game for North America in 1980, and Pac-Man stormed into the States. By late 1981, there were 300,000 Pac-Man machines in the US and every possible surface was covered in Pac-Man logos. America had Pac-Man Fever.

Pac-Man Collectibles An Unauthorized Guide is the latest and by far the most comprehensive book cataloging Pac-Man collectibles of the 1980s. The items cataloged are so vivid and full of detail they will make you think you’ve stepped back in time. You may just find yourself with a pocket full of quarters and heading to the arcade!

Over the past 20 years it has been estimated that over 500 different Pac-Man items have been manufactured by over 200 companies. In the 80’s you could buy Pac-Man cereal, pasta, shoelaces, radios, lunch boxes, roller-skates, bookmarks, soap, stickers, telephones, belts, posters, plush toys, pencils … and just about anything else the little yellow guy could chomp his way onto.

Pac-Man Collectibles indexes many of these items with full color photographs, often with both a front and back shot and close-ups when needed. A detailed description is also provided with each item. The items are categorized by manufacturer and then by type. For example Manufacturer: Coleco Type: Figures. The author clearly went out of her way to make the items in this book as easy to find as possible!

Every item featured is actually from the author’s personal collection, so a lot of care has been taken to represent each item as thoroughly as possible. A fair market value has also established for each item, and as a collector myself, I found the prices very close to, if not always, right on the money.

The book is not meant to be a complete listing by any means, but more of an introductory look in to the world of Pac-Man collectibles. I was pleasantly surprised to find an eight-page introduction & brief history of Pac-Man at the beginning of the book. Although there were a few minor typos (i.e. “of” instead of “on”), it wasn’t enough to distract me from flipping through the pages all googly-eyed.

Pac-Man has stood the test of time to become a cultural icon as even today you can find many different types of Pac-Man merchandise still being manufactured. At 160 pages with 415 color photographs Pac-Man Collectibles will keep even the casual readers entertained. This book is a must have for all Pac-Maniacs!


Interview With Author Deborah Palicia

After finishing the book I thought I would see if I could track down the author for an interview. I was lucky enough to be able to chat with Deborah Palicia through a series of e-mails, and she was gracious enough to let me throw a few questions her way. Included below is a transcript of our conversation.

How did you come up with the idea of doing a book on Pac-Man collectibles?

Deborah: Actually, I was approached by Schiffer Publishing when I stopped at their booth at the Alantique City Show. One of the editors asked if I collected anything in particular. When I told him Pac-Man he asked "Did you ever consider writing a book?" At that point I had not but am glad that I did.

How did you get started collecting Pac-Man items?

Deborah: I was a fan of Pac-Man and my first purchased item was the game cartridge for the Atari 2600. I really did not consider it collecting until the 1990's when things started popping up at flea markets, and collectible shows. The items were few and far between so I started buying them up when I saw them.

What type of effect do you think Pac-Man had on the general public?

Deborah: Pac-Man had a HUGE effect on the public. This was the first video game that was not "space or combat based." Even more of an impact was made with Ms. Pac-Man. This game really brought women into the gaming world. Ms. Pac-Man was more popular than Pac-Man in the 1980's and the collectible items are worth more too.

Could you tell our readers about some of the more familiar items they will find in your book?

Deborah: The book contains cups, glasses, games, tee-shirts, mirrors, and of course the ever popular full size arcade games. I also have several Pac-Man Fever (the song) items which we all remember hearing on the radio.

Is your complete collection featured in this book, or are there plans for a second book?

Deborah: The book only contains a portion of my collection. Each item featured in the book I own and is located in my home. There are plans for a second book, which will contain some of the more rare and one of a kind items.

Are there any Pac-Man items that are/were more popular than others?

Deborah: Yes. Coffee cups and drinking glasses are the most popular and of course lets not forget the metal lunch box with thermos.

What would you say is the most elusive Pac-Man collectible?

Deborah: Hard to really say but............. how about the Pac-Man motion lamp!!! COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!! and Funky too.................

What types of collectibles were officially licensed and which ones were not?

Deborah: Actually, there were not as many licensed products as you would think. Just about every Pac-Man item that was licensed at the time was "knocked off." There are many items out there that are not licensed.

What is your favorite Pac-Man collectible?

Deborah: I have a lot of hand painted animation cels used to create the Saturday morning cartoon along with the actual scripts. I think these very rare items are my favorite.

Well there you have it straight from the author herself. For more information on this book you can visit the publisher’s web site: http://www.schifferbooks.com/ or if you would like to purchase an autographed copy of the book you contact Deborah at mspacman@nac.net.

Another day, another dot… Wocka! Wocka!

First Published July 2005