As much as I love classic video games, I have no interest in classic video game ephemera. Collectibles. Knick-knacks. Tchotchkes. Whatever you want to call them, I don’t need them. My game room isn’t cluttered with action figures, bedspreads, lunch boxes, creepy big-headed dolls with no mouths, amiibos or any of those other overpriced Cracker Jack toys that add characters to video games (Side note: If anyone ever makes an overpriced plastic Kirby Puckett that adds him to my Diamond Dynasty team in The Show, I will buy that). My game room is cluttered with games. I have a wind-up Pac-Man and three Donkey Kong figurines I got as a kid and that’s it.
I have a wind-up Pac-Man, three Donkey Kong figurines, this thing, and that’s it.
That is a Pac-Man toboggan. Well, technically it’s not actually a toboggan. It’s a saucer. But saying I have a Pac-Man saucer just makes people wonder why I don’t have the Pac-Man teacups to go with it. I suppose I should just call it a sled, but toboggan is more fun to say. It’s original owner probably got it for Christmas during the American Pac-Man Fever epidemic of 1982, took it to a park or snow-covered embankment, sat on Pac-Man’s face for a couple of rides and once the snow melted and school was back in session, tossed it in the garage where it was ignored until someone finally schlepped it to the thrift store where I bought it.
And that’s kind of where the story ends. I’ve never tobogganed with it. Portland rarely gets enough snow to toboggan, and as much fun as it would be to give all the mint-in-box collector types heart attacks by taking this thing down Mt. Tabor if it ever did, I’d actually rather not destroy it if I can help it. So it has sat, mostly ignored, next to my desk for ten years or so. Sometimes I wonder if it would actually prefer dying the glorious, toboggan-y death of crashing into a tree to living its current meaningless existence of gathering dust and being in the way, but then I remember it’s a chunk of plastic and it doesn’t have a preference either way.
Video game memorabilia has always been commercialism at its crassest. No one needs a Q*Bert pencil sharpener or a Dragon’s Lair spaghetti strainer, but I do have pencils I can sharpen and spaghetti I can strain. Those feel less like blatant cash grabs than the blind boxed Minecraft figures that populate every checkout aisle. I wouldn’t have bought that sled if it didn’t look like Pac-Man, but I can still use it as a sled.
I don’t know what you’re supposed to do with those tiny Space Invaders pillows.