Who is Ms. Pac-Man?Edit
In the history of video games, there are three characters who have emerged as pillars of influence, without whom no progress could have been made. One is Pac-Man, the first well-known character from any video game (and no, the “cast” of Pong does not count). One is Mario, the first character with a discernable personality.
So who’s the third?
The answer might surprise you. It isn’t Link, the reigning GameFAQs contest champ, or the cast of Final Fantasy 7, the site’s most championed game. Hell, it isn’t even a member of the so-called “Noble Nine.”
It’s none other than the character who remains third-to-last in the all-time extrapolated stats, Ms. Pac Man – the first female video game character.
Yes, folks. Before G4 was able to hold a countdown of the biggest video game vixens (read: worst female stereotypes), before Lara Croft made Barbie’s proportions look like those of Quina Quen, before Samus Aran stripped for the eager prepubescent male gamer to reveal the best spoiler in video game history – there was Ms. Pac Man, who made an entire world of heterosexual male gamers unashamed to play as a girl for the first time.
When Midway redid their immensely successful Pac Man game and added some cosmetic changes to the main character (as well as making a much better game, “Rate the Game” topic be damned), they did not realize the massive step for feminism they undertook.
First, let’s examine the very name of Ms. Pac Man. She’s supposed to meet, marry, and birth a child to the Pac himself throughout the game (and in subsequent Pac games), but so what? She stays “Ms.,” that title which implies feminine independence and the thought that women don’t need to identify themselves through the eyes of a man. Yes, she has his name (although it just might have been a coincidence), but the surname allows her to maintain her own identity from her more famous lover.
Now let’s look at her appearance. Ms. Pac Man’s sprite is basically the same as her predecessor’s, save for a pink bowtie, lipstick, and other feminine touches (like prominent eyelashes in official art). So why is this significant? Well, apart from maybe a few hentai artists, almost nobody would find Ms. Pac Man sexy. What this basically means is that her game’s massive success cannot be contributed to the sex appeal of its main character, a feat which almost no other female character has been able to do. Where would the Dead or Alive series be without its sex appeal? Or Tomb Raider? The only prominent video game woman who can say this besides the Ms. is Samus, but she had to disguise her femininity in a suit of armor. Ms. Pac Man has no such qualms. She is recognizably female, and yet her success did not require her to cheapen her image to pander to the hormones of teenage boys. She made her success on her own merits.
It’s a damn shame that Ms. Pac Man is among the most fodderific of fodder, because what she’s done for gaming cannot be understated. Girl gamers everywhere around the world dismayed at the shameless exploitation of their sex for the quarters of hairy-palmed males can take heart that there’s a girl out there who did it without compromising herself. She may never make a list of the hottest “video game babes,” but Ms. Pac Man wouldn’t desire such a thing – her place is in the maze, where she’s free to eat all the dots and flee from all the ghosts she can desire, giving a big round yellow finger to the gendered expectations of society.
"Wakka wakka wakka wakka wakka..." - Ms. Pac-Man
(Writeup courtesy of Ed Bellis)
Ms. Pac-Man's Contest HistoryEdit
Win-Loss Record: 0-1
Summer 2002 Contest - West Division - 11 Seed
- Western Round 1 --- Lost to (6) Mega Man, 5257 [7.70%] - 63039 [92.30%]
- Extrapolated Strength --- 63rd Place [6.61%]
As funny a character as Ms. Pac-Man is, her contest legend is even better. Ms. Pac-Man set the original record for futility, and her record lows for percentage and votes would not be broken until the Spring 2004 match between Zelda 1 and Adventure. Obviously, Ms. Pac-Man has yet to return to the field.
Granted this was probably an SFF beating of the highest proportions, but who cares? =p
On a funny side note, this was the one match in which a Pac-Man character didn't have a hideous advantage in the match picture, though CJayC did try his best to make Mega Man look like crap. The original Mega Man in the match pic looked like complete garbage, though a massive outcry got the picture changed before the match took place. It was the one and only time user outcry actually got a match pic changed.