Pac-Man – a classic video game
Who hasn’t seen and played Pac-Man? This classic arcade video game has charmed many kids (and kids at heart) for many generations since its introduction in 1980. The pellet-pecking Pac-Man went beyond being an 1980s icon to become one of the most recognizable video game characters of all time. Let us go back to the interesting and unique story about the game that eventually took the world over by storm, then and now.
The game’s Japanese and American launch, and its eventual success
The shape of Pac-Man is believed to be a pizza with one slice missing, as Iwatani has repeatedly stated himself, although he later admitted that it was only partly true. He said that the design of the character is based on merely simplifying and rounding out the Japanese characterkuchi (mouth). Pakku-Man was later renamed Puck Man, in part because of the main character’s hockey puck shape.
When Puck Man was launched in 1980, it received only lukewarm response. Iwatani’s invention was good but not good enough to catch up with the more wildly popular video games such as Space Invaders. It was later released in the US through Bally division Midway, which renamed it as Pac-Man. The game received more positive and welcoming response from the Americans, and eventually took over the country by storm, which stunned competitors and even the game’s distributors.
A refreshing change
In the 1980s video gaming world, Pac-Man was a perfect, refreshing change from other video games such as Space Invaders and Asteroids. Much of Pac-Man’s appeal was the introduction of the chase-maze video game genre which was unprecedented at that time. Pac-Man influenced other subsequent games in this genre, such as Dig Dug. Pac-Man also attracted female players as well – another feat never seen before. The game introduced an element of humor too.
The legacy of Pac-Man
Pac-Man became the most popular and best-selling video arcade game in the US. The popularity of the beloved giant yellow circle proved to be a fantastic marketing and merchandising base. Aside from hundreds and thousands of Pac-Man video arcade cabinets sold, there were also licensed Pac-Man items like T-shirts and wastepaper baskets. There were also a cartoon made for TV and Pac-Man theme parks. It seems that video game players controlled the national economy as the game’s revenues reached to about a billion dollars during the early 1980s.
Pac-Man is among the highest-grossing video arcade games of all time, having generated $2.5 million from the quarters that players inserted into the arcade boxes.
Today, it still can be spotted in arcades although the original Pac-Man game may be extremely rare to find. Pac-Man’s enduring popularity has produced some licensed spin-off games such as Ms. Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man and Professor Pac-Man. The game has been periodically updated with newer features and is being played on current consoles such as Playstation, Gamecube, and Nintendo Gameboy, Gameboy Advance and Nintendo DS, among others.
Pac-Man has often been considered a breakthrough, trailblazing and landmark video arcade game, and that is still true. Its appeal and influence hasn’t still faded, even after more than 30 years since it was first introduced.