Pac-Man Fever Forever

1999 CD

Pac-Man Fever CD

As the '80s generation began living and working in the Real World, nostalgia for the classic video games of the '80s, including Pac-Man, grew. With it came a demand for related items, like Pac-Man Fever. The album had never been released on CD, as the format didn't get off the ground a year after the album's release. But now there was a demand for it.

Buckner and Garcia decided to meet the demand. There were, however, a couple complications. First, CBS refused to give them access to the original masters of the album, so they decided to re-record the whole thing.

The second problem was that album contained many samples from each of the games the songs are based on. Since they were almost twenty-years-old, it was nearly impossible to find the machines still in arcades to record the sounds again. Mike Stewart, their recording engineer, turned to me because of my Pac-Man Fever page. I personally sent them sounds for Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong, and Berzerk I had collected from the Web in the past. I directed them to MAME for the rest. Whether they actually used the samples I provided and/or MAME, I do not know.

They were unable to find the Mousetrap sounds. Mousetrap was just too obscure for anyone to have samples of on the Web and while MAME emulated the game, it did not have sound at the time. They substituted sounds of real a cat, dog, and pigeon(?) (in place of the hawk).

The duo sold the new version of their album directly via their web site. The first 300 or so orders received a small slip of paper with the patterns that appeared on the original album sleeve signed by Buckner & Garcia. Some later copies came with a copy of the 1981 publicity photo. I'd been listening to a tape of the album for almost 20 years by the time this was released, so initially the new version did not appeal to me greatly. It has grown on me more with repeated listenings.

K-Tel

In 2002, the album was picked up for distribution by K-Tel, continuing to use the same art as the 1999 version. K-Tel and some other companies also began including the new version of the title track on some of their compiliation albums. These include Funny Favorites (K-Tel, 2005), Big Hair '80s Hits (Cleopatra, 2008, published with two different covers over the years), Best of the '80s (Sonoma, 2011), and Ultimate 16: Best of the '80s (Sonoma, 2012).

Funny Favorites cover
Big Hair '80s Hits cover #1
Big Hair '80s Hits cover #2
Best of the '80s cover
Ultimate 16 cover

If you'd like to get the original version of "Pac-Man Fever" (the song, not the whole album) on CD, it was released on a few compilations.

Fuel 2000

Pac-Man Fever CD, Fuel 2000 version

In 2010, Fuel 2000 released the re-recorded tracks with new cover art. Their version of the CD also contained two additional tracks by Buckner & Garcia: "E.T. (I Love You)" and "Hostage."

30th Anniversary

Pac-Man Fever 30th Anniversary

In 2012, Jerry Buckner released a special 30th Anniversary CD. Sadly, Gary Garcia died shortly before the proejct was started, so the commentary is by Buckner. It includes an introduction with background on how and why the duo wrote the song; then it contains each song twice, once without commentary and once with; and wraps up with an interview with Gary Garcia from shortly before he died. It's currently for sale at bucknergarcia.com.