Gary Garcia passed yesterday in his home in Florida. He was 63 years old. Garcia, along with his songwriting partner and lifelong friend Jerry Buckner, struck an ephemeral bit of pop-culture gold almost exactly 30 years ago with the novelty radio hit “Pac-Man Fever”, a catchy, fleeting little ditty cashing in on what was, at the time, the passing trend of video games. Oh, little did they know!
Those of you that follow Giant Bomb closely may remember when we spoke with Buckner & Garcia earlier this year about “Pac-Man Fever” during the Pac-Man Scrub League, an encounter that resulted in the duo penning and recording a similarly specific tribute to our silly-ass website called “Found Me the Bomb.” I’ll admit that my appreciation of Buckner & Garcia’s “Pac-Man Fever” always came cloaked in an ironic veil, but in the brief occasions that I happened to speak with Gary Garcia over the past year, I got the sense that he didn’t mind, particularly. Both he and Jerry Buckner seemed extremely comfortable and at-ease with the relative frivolity of their claim to fame, and the fact that their response to the weird affection for “Pac-Man Fever” shared by myself and Jeff Gerstmann was to write us a song speaks to that.
I’ve never written a proper obituary before, and not having really known Gary Garcia, it seems shallow and hollow to speak strictly within the confines of this sliver of his existence. If you’re looking for something of a little more substance, I recommend reading what Jerry Buckner had to say about his close friend.