In 1982, ABC seized on the popularity of the Pac-Man video game by premiering the world’s first cartoon series based on a video game. The network gave the tiny chomping orb a place in its Saturday morning lineup of programming, as part of the 90-minute compilation package, The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show. In its second season, the show’s format changed to the 60-minute, The Pac-Man/Rubik, the Amazing Cube Hour.
Pac-Man, along with his family Ms. Pepper Pac-Man, their toddler Pac-Baby, Chomp Chomp the dog, and Sour Puss the cat, lived in Pac-Land. There, Pac-Man acted as chief of security at the Power Forest, where Pac-Land’s sole source of energy—the precious power pellets—grew.
Pac-Land had to contend with the villainous Mezmaron, who operated from a mountain fortress located beyond the outskirts of the city. He charged his ghost monsters Inky, Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, and Sue with finding the location of the hidden Power Forest, for the purpose of taking charge of the power pellets and gaining control over the inhabitants of Pac-Land.
Although susceptible to being chomped by Mezmaron’s ghost monsters, Pac-Man only needed to pop a power pellet to turn the tables on his pursuers, enabling him to chomp them instead. Time and again, the newly chomped and, as a consequence, bodiless ghosts had to return in fear to Mezmaron’s citadel to retrieve new ghost suits and attempt to explain their latest failure.
Several new characters made occasional guest appearances starting in the second season. The first, a bombastic superhero called Super-Pac, was a danger to ghost monsters and Pac-Land residents alike. The only equal to Super-Pac’s powers were his vanity and lack of common sense. Closer to home, Pac-Man’s private life got more hectic when his high school dropout, freeloader cousin Pac-Jr. began randomly showing up for visits. Not to be left out, the ghost monsters had their own problem guest. Their young, bratty cousin Dinky never got tired of playing practical jokes on his ghost elders.
The Pac-Man video game inspired the animated series, which in turn spawned a new video game, titled Pac-Land. Though graphically superior, the side-scrolling adventure game never caught on in the same way as its simpler, yet undeniably infectious predecessor.