Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From the Cereal Aisle......

Products: Video Game Cereals (Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Pac-Man, Nintendo Cereal
Companies: Ralston & General Mills
Years: Pac-Man (1983), Donkey Kong (1982), Donkey Kong Jr. (1983), Nintendo (1988)

When I think of the 80's, 3 things really stand out in my head. The Video Game crazy, Saturday Mornings with my favorite box of cereal, and that time in 3rd grade that Brett Peterson game me an atomic wedgie after lunch because I wouldn't give him my pudding cup.
2 of those things gave me enjoyment that I look back upon with much happiness. (the other one I'm still trying to forget. 3rd graders can be so mean.) Cereal and Video games go hand in hand, so much so that in the 80's they crossed over from your Atari/NES systems right into your cereal bowl.

Donkey Kong Cereal (1982)
Ralston - Donkey Kong cereal box - 1983
Image by Jason Liebig

The first of the big Video Game cereals, Donkey Kong first took over the video game world (overtaking the sales of Pac-Man in 1981), then made it's way into the cereal aisle in 82. Was sold with the tag ling "Crunchy Barrels of Fun", but should have just been sold as "Captain Crunch Knockoff", because that is basically what it was.

Pac-Man Cereal (1983)
1980's General Mills Pac-Man Cereal Box Front
Image by Gregg Koenig

Not to be outdone, General Mills came out with Pac-Man Cereal in 1983. Branded as "crunchy sweetened corn cereal with marshmallow bits", the marshmallows were shaped like Pac-Man, and the ghost: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. Mrs. Pac-Man Marshmallows were later added. The cereal itseld would be like if you took an extra sweetened Kix and threw in Lucky Charms Marshmallows for good measures. Sounds like a lot of sugar. I guess kids wanted to be just like Pac-Man: void of teeth.

Donkey Kong Jr., Cereal (1983)
1984 Donkey Kong Jr Cereal Box w Super-Stars Baseball Cards
Image by Bolia88

Ralston couldn't stand seeing Pac-Man cereal cutting into their profits from Donkey Kong Cereal, so naturally, they followed up just as they had with the video games, and introduced Donkey Kong Jr., Cereal. "DKJC", as it was often called by nobody, was a fruit flavored cereal with little banana and berry shaped pieces. It was a fun and overly sweet cereal, as were many of the best cereals in the 80's.

Nintendo Cereal (1988)
Ralston - Nintendo Cereal System box - Fruity and Berry - 1988
Image by Jason Liebig
In the mid to late 80's, the Nintendo Entertainment System became the gaming console of the world, leaving Atari in it's dust. So it was only natural that they capture some of that crazy in the form of cereal.
Much like Nerds Cereal, the box was split into 2 sections. On one side, you has Super Mario Brothers Cereal (Fruit-flavored Marios, Mushrooms and Goomas). On the other, Zelda Adventure Cereal (Berry-flavored Links, Hearts and Shields.)
"Nintendo Cereal System. If you can't beat 'em, eat 'em. "

Nicely done, Nintendo.....nicely done.


  1. I remember most of these, but I do remember liking the Pac-Man cereal, mostly because it was the first time I've eaten cereal with marshmallows.

  2. I randomly crave Pac Man cereal now, even though I thought it was disgusting at the time. No telling what chemicals were included to produce THAT effect...

  3. Chemicals, sugar...who cares? Pac-Man cereal was awesome!

  4. Trivia: One of the Pac Man commercials features a very young Christian Bale.

  5. Trivia: One of the Pac Man commercials features a very young Christian Bale.

  6. Did Christian Bale lose 60 pounds for the role? - Juliet Tango the band

  7. some will be missed but I see why many themes get discontinued as how many kids to day even know about what we grew up with in the 80s

    1. With the exception of Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles, cereals based on licensed properties usually don't last more than a few years... and even Pebbles cereal has had varieties that didn't last long...

  8. I don't know why, but reading this article triggered a memory of when I was 13, my stepmother at the time asking me if I wanted Donkey Kong cereal and hot chocolate...

  9. When I was 3, MAYBE 4, I can remember waking up with my dad every morning... I can remember eating either C3PO's, Donkey Kong, or ET cereal. Before he'd leave for work, he'd put Conan the Destroyer on TV for me. He'd recorded it on a VHS tape. It was always that or Thundercats.