Pac-Man Fever. The arcade album that all Arcaders memorized. It was our soundtrack. Someone finally went into the arcade, and were singing to the world about it. Buckner and Garcia were talking TO US…. But they weren’t the only ones.
In 1982, John Lombardo and D. J. Michaels, with some studio artists (as the story goes) record “Get Victimized” under the nom de plume R. Cade and the Video Victims. Released by Arrival Records, the album cover features some interesting artwork, ( aliens playing games with us as the “victims” in the game) and as the cover boasts, there is 3 foot poster of the album art! Well I have always had my copy of “Pac- Man Fever” but not this jem… until now!
I finally got my copy of this long lost (and highly sought after) album off Ebay just before Christmas (yea, me!) and I thought I would review the songs. Just how good are they?
1-Victim Of The Video
Here’s the first of the arcade “anthems” on the album. It’s about an ordinary guy getting hooked on video games, and what it does to him. I dug it. It’s not my favorite, but it speaks to me about what all of us Arcaders already know- once your hooked, your hooked for life! And if anyone ever did a movie about arcades in the 80’s ( Joysticks 2, anyone?) this could be on the soundtrack. I would say that this could be the theme song, but I think that distinction is for another song on the album. But I like this one. It’s haunting.
I like this one! I love the game- It improves on Berserk in so many ways, and this song puts you in the middle of it! The one song I was always disappointed with on Pac- Man fever was Berserk. I sounded like a love song. This song completely redeems it! If Coleco had used this song in the commercial for the Frenzy cartridge, they would be selling Colecovisions today (no joke!)
3- Video Magic
This one’s just… CREEPY! Now, don’t get me wrong, I think we all get where they were going with this one (A guy falling in love with a video game) , but it comes out like a theme song for that weird guy hanging out in the arcade with kids 10 to 15 years younger than him, offering tokens to the ones he “likes”. EWWW… I just creeped myself out! (YUK)
This was the one song I felt was a waste. They couldn’t top Buckner and Garcia’s version, so why try? For filler. I would have chosen anther game (Mr. Do! perhaps?) This song just stinks!
5-In The Arcade!
Now, this is the theme song!!! OUR THEME SONG!!!!! Everything about it is a fond memory of what is was like living in 1980’s – in the one place were WE belonged! Like I said before, If the powers that be decided to do a movie about the arcade lifestyle, this is the song to start out with! I play this one in the Archives often, and it makes me smile every time I hear it! You know who you are… YOUR A VIDEO STAR! so play!
6-We Fell In Love At The Video Arcade
This ones…Ok. I guess I guess its the couples skate song on the album. I think this has happened to all of us while playing- wanting to impress that girl or guy next to you, but it could go the other way at any moment and be another “VIDEO MAGIC” situation….EWWW… I just creeped myself out again! (YUK)
Here’s another filler song… It just doesn’t feel like the game its talking about. Defender is a strong, fast moving game, and this song doesn’t reflect it. if you want a good Defender song, listen to “The Defender” on the Pac- Man Fever album. This could have been a good “anthem ” song if the they had changed the topic. Like if the song was about a kid coming in to the arcade for the first time, and wants to be the best player in the room. Kinda like “Jukebox Hero” of the arcade! “Arcade Contender”- has a good ring to it!
8- Change Attendant!
Finally, A song about someone WHO WORKS IN THE ARCADE!!! This is a good song! Catchy, fun, it even has change SOUND EFFECTS!!! Working in the industry, I can tell you, this song is exactly what it was like working as a change attendant! AWESOME SONG- BEST ON THE ALBUM!!!!!
This is a great song on the album. I like that R. picked a game that didn’t have anything written about it before. Like Frenzy, It’s very descriptive and action packed, and would have made a great commercial theme song if say, Coleco had made a home port of this great game! Give it a listen!
10- Ms. Pac- Man!
I’m glad they went out on a high note with this song! Very original on its own, while giving props to Pac- Man Fever itself! It too has original sounds from the game, background chorus, great lyrics, and feels as polished as the song that put Buckner and Garcia on the map (This should have been the one that was on the radio for these guys!) It makes a great companion to the original Pac- Song… just like the games do!
So, after hearing all the tracks, what do you think? Well I tell you what I think…. It’s a great album! Given these guys probably had a limited budget, with no corporate backing in sight, and limited release, I think they did a amazing job! and with only two real stinkers on the whole album! I have to give them props in originality as well. The idea of have several songs on here not really about any specific game but about the culture itself- what it was like to be in the arcade, playing or working there. In that spectrum, they really caught that moment in the 80’s perfectly! And a three foot poster to boot! Do yourself a favor- get this one if you can!
Till next time Arcaders- KEEP PLAYIN’ LIKE IT”S 1981!