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While Pac-Man entertained many of us for countless hours, devouring a small fortune in quarters in the process, the classic arcade game never gave up its secrets: Why did Pac-Man circle those mazes, eating a never-ending supply of dots and fruit? Why did the ghosts chase him? Did they have Pac-Man Fever, and was it driving them crazy?
Decades later, we finally get some answers in “Pac-Man: Come Out to Play,” a “gritty reboot” by Andrew Shanks that draws inspiration from the 1979 classic The Warriors, and the video game, of course.
It turns out that at the heart of Pac-Man‘s conflict is territory, and perhaps disrespect. “We’re sick of you coming over here, walking around, eating our cherries,” gang leader Blinky warns as the rest of The Ghosts surround Pac-Man. “We love cherries! Don’t we, boys? That’s our thing.”
However, his words are only a precursor to the action, as The Ghosts set off on a freerunning chase not through a maze but rather through the streets. The short is well-choreographed, with touches of humor (mostly courtesy of Blinky), and video-game flourishes that are used sparingly but effectively.