Pacman History

 The History of Pacman

How did this iconic game come to be? What kind of impact has it had on our culture? And, most importantly, how much of its legacy lives on in the modern games we play today? Join us as we explore the history of pacman, the classic arcade game that started it all. It’s time to dig deep into what makes this one of the most influential video games of all time!

How the game was made

In 1980, a company in Japan called Namco set out to create a new arcade game. The goal was simple: create a game that could be played by as many people as possible. The concept they came up with, Puck Man, turned out to be so successful that they released it in North America as Pac-Man. The game quickly became one of the most popular arcade games ever made and is widely considered to be one of gaming’s defining moments. In honor of Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary, here are some fun facts about his story you may not have known…It’s difficult to believe that Pac-Man turned 30 earlier in 2015. If you were there at ground zero, it’s even more difficult to fathom.

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Did You Know?

Did you know that there are 99 ghosts in Pac-Man (Pacman 99)? Did you know that pac is an acronym for pellet, apple, cherry? Did you know that Namco would have changed one thing about Pac-Man if they could have? It turns out, if they had it to do over again, Namco would have made bigger pacmen; all that running around makes him hungry! Do you have a favorite Easter egg or fun fact about one of your favorite classic games? Be sure to let us know in the comments below. And be sure to check out all of our posts on video game history—you might just learn something new!

One Day in 1980, Toru Iwatani sat down and wrote a design document for what would eventually become his most famous creation: PAC-MAN. The result was a simple arcade game about eating dots. Since its debut, PAC-MAN has appeared on just about every platform imaginable (including but not limited to arcades, PCs, cell phones, handheld devices and even refrigerators) but it all started with that original design. 

According to Japanese game designer Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man was intended as an antidote to the vast majority of games with violent themes such as Asteroids, Space Invaders, Tail Gunner and Galaxian. Before Pac-Man, most arcade games were enjoyed by children and teenagers, and Iwatani wanted to create a game that everyone would enjoy. In response, Iwatani began to come up with a concept that conflicted with these games.

    

Gradually, a concept for a game called Pakku-Man (from paku paku, Japanese slang for chomp) began to take shape. One of the great legends of game design is that while eating pizza, Iwatani looked at a cake that was missing a piece and used the decorations as inspiration for the unique shape of Pac-Mans. Legend has it that when Tohru Iwatani was at a pizzeria with the developer of the Pac-Man game, someone pulled out the first bite and inspired the shape of the Pac-Man character. In 1979, Toru Iwatani, a 27-year-old Namco employee, said he was looking at a humble pizza when he came up with the idea for a food video game.

    

As Iwatani continued to develop the idea of ​​a game that involved eating, he added the concept of a maze, and then came the power pill (or power cookie), a special item that allowed Pac-Man to eat his enemies. After deciding on the character’s design, Iwatani got his name from “paku paku”, the Japanese onomatopoeia for food, the same sound that would inspire the game’s signature sound, the soothing wakka-wakka sound when Pac-Man devours dots and fruits. Development lasted 18 months. Iwatani saw the protagonist play the pizza he once ordered, one of which he was already able to take from the plate. Two parts of the whole were missing, which almost resembled a mouth, as you can see where Pac-Man’s physical form began.

    

This subsequently led to the game being called Puck Man when it was released in Japan, but Namco in America quickly decided to change the name of the game to “Pac Man”, fearing that the “P” at the beginning of the first word of the name could easily be replaced with “F”. Of course, Namco sued Midway, and eventually a deal was struck to release the game as an official sequel.

    

American distributor Midway Games developed and released Ms. Pac-Man in the US in 1982, but did not get permission from Namco, the Japanese company that owned the rights to Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man was created by Midway, the same company that licensed the original Pac-Man in the United States, and became so popular that Namco eventually made it the official game. However, Ms. Pac-Man was so popular that Namco continued to support it and continues to release versions of the game to this day.

    

Namco released the game in Japan in 1980 and soon entered North America through a licensing and distribution deal with American pinball and arcade game company Bally Midway. Originally called Puck-Man, the game was released in Japan in 1979 and became an instant hit. The classic and wildly popular video game Pac-Man was released in Japan on May 21, 1980, and in the United States in October of that year. Development of the game that would become Pac-Man began in early 1979 and took a year and five months to complete, the longest time a video game has taken to date.

    

In fact, Iwatani originally expected him to work on pinball machines, but instead he designed paddle games inspired by Breakout Gee Bee (1978), Bomb Bee and Cutie Q (1979). Later, as an adult, he collected Pac-Man memorabilia and used his training as a programmer to create a game called Pac-Kombat (a two-player version of Mortal Kombat with Pac-Man characters). He was only 25 and preferred to work on pinball machines rather than video games. His first game, “Gee Bee” in 1978, was essentially a digital version of a pinball machine and was not a huge success.

    

On this day in 1980, one of the game’s most iconic characters made his debut. Pac-Man became the first gaming mascot to be sold alongside licensed merchandise, including lunch boxes, joke books, t-shirts, board games, pajamas, and Valentine’s Day cards for romantic gamers. While the protagonist is a bit like a puck, American game distributor Midway is concerned that kids might scrape off the awning by replacing the “P” with an “F”. After the name change, the game became an instant hit, selling some 300,000 units worldwide between 1981 and 1987. In honor of its pivotal role in video game history, Pac-Man became one of the permanent favorites. 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York.

    

For today’s gamers, Pac-Man seems simple and uninteresting, but for serious gamers, it remains a game to be beaten. Pac-Man is often considered the groundbreaking, innovative, and historic arcade video game, and that’s still true. Its charm and influence has not yet faded, even more than 30 years after its first appearance. It can still be seen in slot machines today, although the original Pac-Man game is extremely rare to find.

    

At a time when adult males were the default audience for video games, Pac-Man successfully appealed to women and children, becoming one of the first games to gain significant media exposure in both the United States and Japan. Japanese arcades of the late 1970s and early 1980s were dark, masculine places filled with space shooters inspired by the success of Space Invaders, including Namcos’ hugely successful Galaxian. They were wrong, of course, and Pac-Man was an instant success in the US, quickly surpassing Space Asteroids in revenue and earning over a billion dollars in quarters in its first year; in the 1990s, the arcade game brought in about two and a half billion dollars.

    

It is hardly possible to find a person who, if not played Pac-Man, then at least did not hear about this game, since it became one of the first phenomena of the gaming world that penetrated into the sphere of mass culture. . Therefore, several machines were installed in the halls, trying to collect more coins for money in their boxes, which was good for both the owners of the game and for Namco. Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani joined Namco, then Nakamura Manufacturing, in 1977 when he was 22 years old. He first repaired black and white licensed Atari video game cards distributed in Japan.

    

After a successful trial in Chicago, Bally Midway bought Crazy Otto in October 1981, offering GCC royalties on each set sold. Development of the game began in early 1979 under the direction of Toru Iwatani with a team of nine people. At a time when most games were pong scams or space shooters whose goal was to kill, the idea of ​​a non-violent food game was incomprehensible to most, but Toru and his team were able to design and build the game in 18 years. months.

    

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