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Nerd Pac-Man refers to a clip of video game mascot Pac-Man morphing into a stereotypical "brainiac"-type character replete with glasses, a polka-dot bow-tie, and a matted, symmetrically-parted haircut. The clip is usually paired with captions in which someone is being overly pedantic as a way of mocking the poster. It's also used as a reply GIF to posts as a means to mock the above poster for being overly pedantic. Both are similar uses to the way the Nerd Emoji is employed.
In the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures episode "That Smarts!", aired on June 16th, 2014, Pac-Man takes a "brain berry" that causes him to morph into "Brainiac Pac-Man" (shown below).
The earliest known post of the clip as a meme was uploaded on May 13th, 2022 by YouTuber DarmaDevs, where it gained over 1.1 million views (shown below). The clip is accompanied by the song "Square Dancin' In Mississippi," posted by YouTuber Goostavo. However, the low quality of the clip suggests it's a repost.
Over the following weeks, the clip began seeing use in multiple videos which were captioned with overly pedantic comments. For example, on June 17th, Instagram user deathstartrooper.exe posted a video referencing Morbius, gaining over 9,500 views in four days (shown below, top). The same day, user thooottiii.mp3 posted a video that gained over 2,500 views (shown below, bottom).
The meme also had considerable presence on YouTube. On June 15th, user KaeR the KNR posted a video with the meme that gained over 410,000 views in one week (shown below, left). On June 18th, the meme was covered by Lessons In Meme Culture, gaining over 382,000 views in three days (shown below, right).
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