At the dawn of the age of video games, in neon-lit caverns known as arcades, a competition for quarters raged between games about shooting (Asteroids, Space Invaders) and games about eating (Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man). For a while, it seemed that eating had the upper hand. Everything about Pac-Man appealed to the lusty urges of hunger: The design of the character itself, pie-eyed and yellow as a lemon tart, was inspired by a partially eaten pizza. Fittingly, Pac-Man machines came to occupy the dingy corners of pizzerias all over America. Hungry players gorged on pellets, ghosts, and fruit (and the machines gobbled up quarters) while their pizzas were prepared. Even today, Pac-Man’s waka-waka munching sound can trigger sudden pepperoni cravings in certain individuals.
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