Pac-Man is one of the most popular gaming icons of the twenty-first century and doesn’t show any signs of stopping. The icon features on many objects such as belts, mugs, shirts – even shoes!
But where did the idea for a yellow round man come from? Who created it? Read on to find out all about the game.
In 1980, Toru Iwatami wanted to create a game to introduce women into Japan’s arcades. He imagined they didn’t want to play games about aliens – bet he didn’t bet on the trends that appear now! Originally going to be about fashion and shopping, he settled on food. Whatever he made would have neutral colours that symbolized the most popular food of his time.
Still not sure on his game, Iwatami went to lunch. He ordered pizza. He took a slice, looked at his food and Pac-Man was born (or Puck-Man as he was originally known in Japan).
In Japanese the name means ‘pakupaku’, which translates as to the sound of eating or munching. He imagined the pellets that Pac-Man would eat would be big cookies.
The aim of Pac-Man is to survive many levels of puzzles whilst not being eaten by ghosts. The ghosts are an integral part of the gaming experience, moving at different algorithms to surprise the gamer.
- Blinky is the red ghost. After eating him, he takes you to the shortest route, but immediately follows you.
- Inky is the blue ghost. He is unpredictable and dangerous.
- Pinky is the pink ghost. He likes to take you to roundabout paths to surprise you.
- Clyde, not only breaks the rhyming pattern, but is the last ghost. He is orange and is the least threatening, as he often wonders off on his accord. He also guest stars in the Disney film Wreck It Ralph (2012), as a villain. He is voiced by Kevin Deters.
In 1980, when it was introduced to America it sold over 100.000 units in its first year of game-play, leading to another equally successful game Ms Pac-Man (1981).
1982 saw the release of the Pac-Man cartoon on television, attracting fans of the games in wide numbers.
In 1984, Pac-Man introduced the first side scrolling game in the series, which is the game everyone knows today.
When you control Pac-Man, you not only come across pellets, but special fruits and objects which give extra points such as:
– Cherry – 100 pts.
– Strawberry – 200 pts.
– Orange – 500 pts.
– Apple – 700 pts.
– Melon – 1000 pts.
– Galaxian – 2000 pts.
– Bell – 3000 pts.
– Key 5000 pts.
When Pac-Man sadly dies, he has a sparkly dissolve. This effect was inspired by the showering of fireworks in the night sky.
Pac-Man was also the symbol for Google’s homepage once. It was a playable Google Doodle and it gobbled up over 5 million hours of people’s work time!
It is not surprising then that Pac-Man lands itself into the Guinness World Record books. It is classed as ‘the most successful coin game’.
If you really want to challenge yourself with the Pac-Man experience, search for ‘biggest maze’. The record is held by fans who built it and it includes a colossal 25,000 levels of play.