From the green M&M to Minnie Mouse, we’ve seen a few female anthropomorphised characters receive controversial makeovers in 2022. Latest to join the list is everyone’s favourite pizza-shaped yellow ball, Ms. Pac-Man – who appears to have pac-ed her bags and disappeared into the sunset.
Yep, Ms. Pac-Man is no more. As a result of some legal wrangling between publishers, the character has been transformed in the new Nintendo Switch reissue of Pac-Land, and renamed. Goodbye, Ms. Pac-Man. Hello, Pac-Mom. (Check out the best Nintendo Switch deals if you want to start gaming right now.)
so apparently I found out that the Arcade Archives release of Pac-Land that comes out tomorrow was modified to replace Ms. Pac-Man (as well as Baby Pac) to have the new Pac-Mom character from Pac-Man Museum +.look at what you did to us AtGames pic.twitter.com/gEDNpXGMfVApril 6, 2022
Gone are Ms. Pac-Man’s iconic red bow and boots, replaced instead with a pink hat, gloves and shoes. As for the Pac-Mom name, we’re assuming that’s a reference to hers and Pac-Man’s child? She hasn’t been promoted to mother of Pac-Man himself, right? That’s a change I’m not sure our brains will be able to compute.
Fans on Twitter noticed the change this week, and it’s fair to say they are, to use internet parlance, shooketh. “This franchise isn’t the same without Ms. Pac-Man anymore. I hate you so much AtGames for killing off my favorite childhood franchise,” one user tweets, while another adds, “I am so not here for the Ms. Pac-Man erasure.”
So why the change? It’s pretty hard to follow, but according to Polygon (opens in new tab), it’s because the rights to Ms. Pac-Man are owned by AtGames, not Pac-Man creator Bandai Namco. After “buying the Royalty interest” to Ms. Pac-Man, AtGames is now entitled to royalty payments whenever the character is used.
So there we have it, thanks to some pretty dull behind-the-scenes technicalities, Pac-Man has been forced to change wives. Changing the bow and boots from red to pink isn’t the most dramatic character design transformation ever – but Pac-Mom and Ms. Pac-Man are totally different Pacs. And I have now used the word ‘Pac’ so many times that it has entirely lost its meaning. If it ever had one.