Review by Jonathan Imberi
You may remember hearing the song “Pac-Man Fever” on the radio in the early 80’s. Maybe you even owned the record like I did. And maybe, like me, you wore the grooves right off the record playing it so many times.
Great news! As the demand for classic video games increased, so did the demand for related items, including songs like “Pac-Man Fever”. In 1999, Buckner and Garcia decided to meet that demand by releasing Pac-Man Fever, The Album on CD. Yes, they had an entire album of video game hits, not just the well-known title track.
There was a problem, however. CBS refused Buckner and Garcia access to the masters of their original album, so they decided to re-record the whole thing. For those of you that remember the original album, the songs were mixed with samples from each of the games, which had been painstakingly recorded at local arcades by Buckner and Garcia. Since these 20+-year-old games are no longer available at the local arcades, they had to enlist the help of MAME™ (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) to obtain the samples.
The result: a fantastically reproduced album, almost indistinguishable from the original. I say almost because the quality of the music and lyrics as well as the samples used in each song are unbelievably clear and very easy to pick out. The original album, due to the limitations of its media, was never able to obtain the fidelity achieved with this CD. I must make a note that they were unable to find samples for the game Mousetrap, as its sound had not yet been emulated in MAME™. They cleverly substituted the sounds of a real cat, dog and hawk.
One last difference between the original and the new CD. You can no longer hear someone ordering a pastrami sandwich at the beginning of the title track “Pac-Man Fever”. Now how picky is that?
The CD’s tracks include:
- “Pac-Man Fever” (Pac-Man)
- “Froggy’s Lament” (Frogger)
- “Ode to a Centipede” (Centipede)
- “Do the Donkey Kong” (Donkey Kong)
- “Hyperspace” (Asteroids)
- “The Defender” (Defender)
- “Mousetrap” (Mousetrap)
- “Goin’ Berzerk” (Berzerk)
You can order the Pac-Man Fever CD from Buckner and Garcia’s official website at http://www.bucknergarcia.com for $9.95 plus $2.55 shipping and handling.