Back before the days of cinematic cut scenes, tie-in novels and movie adaptations, video gamers had to presume much of the backstory for their beloved pixelated pastimes. In some cases this was simple. Asteroids, obviously, was about a spaceship navigating through an asteroid belt, Burger Time was about making burgers, and Donkey Kong was about laying the smack to a girl-nabbing ape.
Pac-Man, however, seemed to defy explanation, even by the absurd standard of '80s arcade games. At last, sci-fi writer Chris Roberson has unearthed an image that may explain the rationale behind the man called Pac, and his neverending fight or flight conflict with a quartet of multicolored phantoms.
It's all a metaphor for survivors guilt, space psychosis, and aggressive pharmaceutical therapy. Hey, it's a better concept than Pac-Man: The Movie ever hoped to foist upon us.
Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger — amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can also follow him on his personal blog.