The album became a top-ten hit, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1982, and eventually sold over a million copies. The single "Pac-Man Fever" sold 2.5 million copies as of 2008. In 1998, the duo was asked to record an unplugged version of "Pac-Man Fever" exclusively for the syndicated radio show Retro Rewind. In 2009, "Pac-Man Fever" was ranked at #98 on VH1's "Top 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders of the 80s" list.
They also inspired several copycats, including R. Cade and the Video Victims' album "Get Victimized!" (with songs about Ms. Pac-Man, Scramble, Frenzy, Donkey Kong, and Defender, as well as songs about arcades in general, like "Change Attendant" and "Video Magic"), and "Dream Weaver" singer Gary Wright's song about Dig Dug, which he recorded under the name Digital Air. None of these were as successful as Pac-Man Fever.
- "Pac-Man Fever" (3:46)
- "Froggy's Lament" (3:16)
- "Ode to a Centipede" (5:35)
- "Do the Donkey Kong" (4:22)
I got a pocket full of tropes and I'm headed to the arcade:
- Album Title Drop: "I've got Pac-Man Fever."
- Appeal to Novelty: Played with; after the single "Pac-Man Fever" became a hit, Buckner and Garcia signed a record deal with Columbia/CBS Records. The duo did not want to become a novelty act, but Columbia insisted on a full album of video-game songs, which the group produced in a month.
- Bookends: The album starts with "I got Pac-Man Fever, it's driving me crazy" and ends with "I think I'm going Berzerk, I think I'm losing my mind."
- Come Out, Come Out, Wherever You Are: "Ode to a Centipede" has the singer doing this to the centipede (at one point even using the trope phrase), bordering on Stalker with a Crush.You can't get away little centipede.
I'm right behind you.
Don't try hiding behind the mushrooms.
I see you!
- Death In All Directions: "Hyperspace," based on AsteroidsAsteroids around me, don't know where to run;
I'm somewhere between the moon and the sun.
- Descent into Addiction: "Pac-Man Fever" describes the player as obsessively spending all of his money on the game every day and developing callouses on his fingers.
- Dissonant Serenity: "Goin' Berzerk" has traces of this, with lyrics about being trapped in a maze of killer robots juxtaposed with a gentle piano melody.
- Fake-Out Fade-Out: "Do The Donkey Kong", in the style of the Contours' "Do You Love Me".
- It's All Upstairs from Here: "Do the Donkey Kong"
- Pac-Man Fever: Ironically, this is actually averted. The games were current at the time, the sound effects are used properly, and they clearly played the games.
- Predators Are Mean: "Mousetrap"
- Protagonist Title: Several songs feature the name of the game's lead character in the title (Pac-Man Fever, Froggy's Lament, The Defender, arguably Mousetrap). A couple (Do the Donkey Kong, Ode to a Centipede) were Antagonist Titles instead.
- The Remake: When the album was re-released on CD in 1999, Buckner and Garcia were not allowed to access their original recordings from 1982, and Sony Music refused to release the original album on CD. Therefore, the band had to redo all of the songs with modern sound-alike recordings.
- For the movie Pixels, Jerry Buckner, vocalist Danny Jones, and Jace Hall used the vocals from the late Gary Garcia's master recording to record a new version, "Pac-Man Fever Eat Em' Up".
- Sampling: The song sprinkles in some sound effects from the original Pac-Man arcade game. They were recorded from a gameplay session on an actual cabinet at a local deli, as that was the only way to rip them at the time. Allegedly, the sound of a man ordering a pastrami can faintly be heard at one point, which was edited out in the 1999 remake. The sound effects were left verbatim in all of the remasters (except for "Mouse Trap", which used Stock Sound Effects instead, as the original recording was lost, and Mousetrap is a rare game to begin with), and the difference in sound quality is rather jarring to say the least.
- Sanity Slippage Song: "Pac-Man Fever" and "Goin' Berzerk".I think I'm goin' berzerk. I think I'm losing my mind.
I'm getting lost in the shuffle. It happens every time.
- Shout-Out: "Froggy's Lament" is a tribute to Smilin' Ed McConnell and Froggy the Gremlin from the children's television show Andy's GangPlunk your magic twanger, Froggy!
- Spiritual Successor:
- Many fans consider "Wreck-It Ralph" (which the band recorded for the movie's soundtrack) to be this; in terms of theme and style, it's a perfect fit for a ninth track (other than the conspicuous lack of sound effects from the game).
- The song Mr. T (originally recorded back in the 1980s, but not released on an album until a few years ago) had a very similar feel to the video game songs, but replacing the video game sound effects after each chorus with sirens, gunfire, and a bad imitation of Mr. T himself.
- In fact, most of Now and Then is this. The songs aren't specifically about video games, but most of them are about other fads and pastimes (E.T., pogs, skateboarding, and so on).
- Stock Sound Effects: The re-release version of "Mousetrap" had to make use of stock sound effects of a cat, dog, and bird since there wasn't a functioning Mousetrap arcade game at the time of the recording to capture its sounds.
- Title Track: "Pac-Man Fever"