The world’s most famous arcade game, Pac-Man, celebrated Pacman 30th anniversary on May 22, 2010. Since its launch in Japan on May 22, 1980, by Namco, Pac-Man has been played by billions of people and has appeared in more than 70 titles for home consoles, personal computers, and other gaming devices. Here’s the history of Pac-Man from his humble arcade beginnings to his latest 3D release.
What is a Pac-Man video game?
The first and one of the most popular video games ever created is celebrating a huge milestone – its 30th anniversary. Created by Japanese designer Toru Iwatani, it was released in Japan in May 1980 and has since been played over 50 billion times across all platforms. It’s now seen as one of not only Japan’s biggest cultural exports but one of gaming’s as well. Here are some facts you might not know about Pac-Man to mark its special birthday. Iwatani designed Pac-Man after noticing a pizza with a slice missing on his way home from work.
His idea was to create something that would resemble his inspiration, hence how he came up with those iconic curves and edges that we see in today’s game.
One of my favorite little tidbits about Pac-Man is that there were plans for an Adventure Mode (sound familiar?). This would have involved guiding Ms. Pac through maze-like levels trying to collect items and avoid ghosts!
Development of Pac-Man video game
The original concept for Pac-Man was developed by Toru Iwatani of Namco in 1979. Iwatani reportedly spent several months designing and coding many different video games, including Grand Prix, Rally-X, and Bosconian. At first, he assumed that these games would be hits. However, when he tested them with focus groups in Japan and North America (the latter using college students), he found out they were very unpopular with test players.
When Iwatani discovered that one of his programmers had accidentally left a prototype version of an arcade game behind after a meeting, he decided to make it into a commercial game. He named it Puck Man and released it to Japanese arcades in May 1980. It became a huge success there, so much so that within three years over 100 Puck-Man clones were created.
Original Pac-Man arcade cabinet
1979’s Pac-Man was a revolutionary arcade game in more ways than one. It featured cute, simple characters and a straightforward concept that made it appealing to players of all ages—particularly kids, who formed its major fan base. But Pac-Man also ushered in a new era of video games, one where graphics took center stage over gameplay. For many years, Pac-Man remained king of arcades; no other game came close to matching its popularity until Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros., which launched on NES in 1985.
In fact, it wasn’t until 1996 that another arcade hit, Midway’s Mortal Kombat II, finally surpassed Pac-Man in total revenue generated (though not necessarily units sold). Today, Pac-Man remains an iconic symbol of 1980s pop culture—even if most people have long since moved on from playing its sequels.
Reception of original arcade version
While fans and critics agreed that it was one of Namco’s best releases to date, Pac-Man’s first appearance on American shores was greeted with mixed reviews. Soon after its U.S. debut in 1980, Pac-Man became a national phenomenon. The game would go on to sell more than 100,000 arcade cabinets and gross over $1 billion in quarters by 1982—the highest revenue for any single video game until Space Invaders ‘ popularity surpassed it in 1984. In fact, for a brief period of time during 1981, Pac-Man outsold both Coca-Cola and Kleenex!
Later ports, sequels, and remakes
In October 1982, Namco released Ms. Pac-Man for arcades in North America and Europe, developed by a team led by Galaxian creator Tōru Iwatani and Pac-Man developer Toshio Kurihara. The game was licensed to Midway/Namco in North America and Leland Corp. In Europe and Australia—Ms. Pac-Man became one of the most successful video games ever produced, selling 115,000 arcade cabinets in its first year and over 350,000 units overall before it was discontinued in 1984. The game also spawned an animated television series from Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Other adaptations(Pacman 30th Anniversary)
There were four other arcade versions released during Pac-Man’s original run from 1980 to 1999. Additionally, a plethora of new versions has since been developed for home consoles, cell phones, and even touchscreens. After the Pacman 30th Anniversary In 2013 Namco Bandai teamed up with Google to make an interactive HTML5 version of the game. In 2016 they announced the,y would be releasing a VR version in 2017.
The game was adapted into a short-lived cartoon series called The Pac-Man Show which ran on ABC between 1982 and 1983. It also inspired a spinoff called Ms. Pac-Man that featured female characters instead of male ones. Ms. Pac-man doodle was so popular it became its own franchise, spawning several sequels over time including Jr. Pac-man (1982), Super Pac Man (1984), and Baby Pac man (1985).
Impact on popular culture
Even before it arrived in North America, a word about Puck-Man had spread throughout Japan. It became so popular that it was even featured on television. In April 1980, three months after its release, Atari released their version of Puck Man for home consoles and within two years more than twenty different versions were sold worldwide.
All of these made Puck-Man a sensation in homes around America and in Europe, as well as Japan. The popularity of Puck Man has continued to grow over time and is still one of the most recognized video games today. The character has appeared in numerous TV shows, movies, comics, and advertisements since his creation in 1979.
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