On this day:At 22nd May of 1980, Namco releases 'Pac-Man' (which was originally known as 'Puck Man' in Japan). It becomes the highest-grossing game of all time. It had the first gaming mascot character, established the maze chase genre, opened gaming to female audiences, introduced power-ups and featured cutscenes.
Originally known as “Puck Man”, Pac-Man was developed by a Japanese game designer, Toru Iwatani, who came up with the idea after eating pizza one night with friends. Puck meant “to eat”, and this is how the original name was derived. The original ghosts that chase after Pac Man were actually considered monsters in the Japanese version. Their original names were “oikake” (Chaser), Machibuse (Ambusher), Kimagure (fickle), and Otoboke (stupid).
Apparently Namco, the company that made Pac-Man, was hoping to create a video game that would entice girls to play as well as boys. And everyone knows that girls like food, right ? Hmmm. Anyway, a food-based video game with cute little ghosts and a bit of humor did appeal to both genders, which quickly made Pac-Man an unquestionable success.
When Puck Man hit the American Arcades and Atari home game consoles back in 1980, the name was changed by Bally Midway to Pac Man. The monsters were now known as ghosts and their names were changed to “Blinky” (red ghost), “Pinky” (pink ghost), “Inky” (blue ghost), and “Clyde” (orange ghost).
Even for those who may have missed it in the 1980s, Pac-Man has been re-made on nearly every video game platform since then. However, for those few who are unfamiliar with the game, here are the basics. You, the player, control the yellow, circular Pac-Man using either keyboard arrows or a joystick.
The goal is to move Pac-Man around the maze-like screen gobbling up all 240 dots before the four ghosts (sometimes called monsters) get you. The four ghosts are all different colors: Blinky (red), Inky (light blue), Pinky (pink), and Clyde (orange). However, they all turn dark blue when Pac-Man eats one of the four power pellets available on each level; the pellets enable Pac-Man to eat the ghosts.
Occasionally, fruit will appear on the screen. If Pac-Man gobbles those up then he earns a point bonus, with different fruit worth different values. While all this is happening, Pac-Man makes a wocka-wocka sound that is nearly as memorable as the yellow character himself.
Many people are impressed with themselves if they get to level five or six on Pac-Man. However, there are always those die-hards out there who are determined to finish the game. Despite how popular Pac-Man was in the 1980s, it actually took 19 years for the first person to ever finish Pac-Man. That amazing feat was accomplished by 33-year-old Billy Mitchell, who finished Pac-Man with a perfect game on July 3, 1999.
Mitchell completed all 255 levels of Pac-Man and then when he reached level 256, half the screen became jumbled. This is an impossible level to complete and thus the end of the game. It took Mitchell about six hours to win the game and he did so with the highest possible score: 3,333,360 points.
The Pac-Man video game was so immensely popular that within a year there were spin-offs being created and released, some of them being unauthorized. The most popular of these was Ms. Pac-Man, which first appeared in 1981 as an unauthorized version of the game.
Ms. Pac-Man was created by Midway, the same company who was authorized to sell the original Pac-Man in the U.S. Ms. Pac-Man became so popular that Namco eventually made it an official game. A few of the notable spin-offs were Pac-Man Plus, Professor Pac-Man, Junior Pac-Man, Pac-Land, Pac-Man World, and Pac-Pix.
As with anything super popular, merchandising went wild with the Pac-Man image. You could purchase Pac-Man t-shirts, mugs, stickers, a board game, plush dolls, belt buckles, puzzles, a card game, wind-up toys, wrapping paper, pajamas, lunch boxes, sheets, bumper stickers, plus so much more. In addition to buying Pac-Man merchandise, kids could satisfy their Pac-Man cravings by watching a 30-minute Pac-Man cartoon that started airing in 1982. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, the cartoon lasted for two seasons.
In case you really wanted that wocka-wocka sound to stay in your head, listen again to the 1982 song by Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia called "Pac-Man Fever," which made it all the way up to number nine on Billboard's Top 100 chart. (You can now listen to "Pac-Man Fever" on YouTube.)
Although the decade of "Pac-Man Fever" might be over, Pac-Man continues to be loved and played year after year.#PacMan #PacMan35ThAnniversary#Gaming #Oldschool#ArcadeVideoGame #TheGoodOldDays#Arcade #RetroGaming#Onthisday #Retro