From the 80’s: Topps Video Arcade Gum!

Released in the mid-1980’s, Topps Video Arcade Gum are the earliest examples of a candy container designed to look like a piece of gaming hardware.

I’ve got other, later candy containers that look like the Sega Game Gear, Nintendo controllers and several more, and eventually I’ll cover those too.  For now, it’s important to note that Topps’ Video Arcade Gum was the first, but would be far from the last.

Topps – Video Arcade Gum candy ad sell sheet – 1983

As you can see, this was series of six different cardboard containers, cleverly shaped like one of the popular arcade machines of the day. Each was filled with tiny Chiclets-like gum, which I assume you got to by lifting the top tab of the container.

The games they chose are still classics and most of you know will recognize all of them.  Q-Bert, Donkey Kong, Donkey Kong Jr., Centipede, Frogger, and Zaxxon.  Of those, I think only Zaxxon might be not be video game Hall-of-Fame-worthy.

Topps – Video Arcade Gum close-up 1

Topps – Video Arcade Gum close-up 2

As a collector, it’s been surprisingly difficult for me to track down a set of these.  I would have thought, like some of the other licensed candy container of the era, they would be easy to find.  But I hardly ever see these, and when I do, someone else gets to them before me.

I suspect that’s as much to do with a possible shortage in supply as it is to do with these being a crossover collectible.  These are something many non-candy-collectors might like to have on their shelf.  They’re pretty awesome.

I do have one example from the series – one that had been trimmed and flattened for a scrapbook.  It’s Frogger:

Topps – Arcade Gum – Frogger cardboard container flattened – 1986

As it stands, these neat little classic arcade candy containers still elude me.  But my hunt continues and for now I will happily admire them from afar.

And that’s all for today.  See you next time!

About Jason Liebig

A New York City based writer, editor and sometimes actor. After spending much of the 1990′s in the comic book business helping tell the stories of Marvel Comics’ X-Men as series editor, he has since split his time between developing his own entertainment properties while still consulting and working on others. Having been described as “the Indiana Jones of lost and forgotten candy”, Jason is one of the country’s premier candy collectors and historians with his discoveries appearing in countless blogs, magazines, newspaper articles, and books. Always happy to share his knowledge and unique perspectives on this colorful part of our popular culture, Jason has consulted with New York’s Museum of Food and Drink and has also been a featured guest on Food Network’s Heavyweights, France’s M6 Capital, and New York’s My Google Profile+
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5 Responses to From the 80’s: Topps Video Arcade Gum!

  1. TL says:

    I’d forgotten about these. If I remember correctly, this was like a mouthful of small rocks for about five seconds until it chewed down to a wad of next to nothing.

  2. Brandon says:

    Somehow I missed out on those as a kid. Man, I would have been all over those!

    I’ve not come across any on the collectibles market either. Pretty fun stuff!

  3. JB says:

    Zaxxon is Hall-of-Fame worthy!!! Played more of that than a lot of the others.

  4. James says:

    Someone has made a new PacMan version for I found a full counter display last week at a local convenience store. I picked one up and the container felt like metal. I passed on buying one since it was $4.99 but was pretty cool looking.

  5. Kevin North says:

    I have a Donkey Kong Junior flattened box – does this help you out?
    You can print this out on cardstock, and cut or fold on the lines to re-create the box! Or you can use the pattern to creatively make your own box.

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