2 Ten Fun Facts About Pac-Man on His 30th Anniversary

Pac-Man, Google Doodle
Pac-Man was first released in Japan on May 22, 1980.
[Image courtesy: Google]
Chomp, chomp! Pac-Man, the most successful coin-operated video game in history, turns 30 this week. On May 22, 1980, the Japanese gamemaker Namco installed the first Pac-Man machine in a movie theater in Tokyo.

If you've visited Google today (someone hasn't?), then you've probably seen one of their cutest Doodles yet—the interactive Pac-Man game.

All of us children of the 80s have played the game, but here are 10 interesting facts about Pac-Man that you may not know:

1. Game designer Toru Iwatani created Pac-Man with the ladies in mind. Historically, most video games were aggressive and targeted toward men, so Iwatani planned Pac-Man around the concept of "Let's have girls in game arcades."

2. The name Pac-Man comes from the onomatopoeic eating sound paku-paku often heard in Asian cartoons ("paku" is the Japanese sound for "chomp").

3. Originally, the Japanese game was called "Puck-man," but American arcade owners were concerned that vandals would chip off part of the "P" to create an "F" (forming a common expletive).

4. Pac-Man's shape emerged after Iwatani removed one slice from a pizza. (Side note: I mostly recall playing Pac-Man at Pizza Hut...no wonder!)

5. Illustrators made Pac-Man yellow because the color is perceived as neutral and peaceful.

6. In the initial version, instead of eating white dots, Pac-Man ate cookies; the ghosts—Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde—were called monsters.

7. There are 244 dots in the maze, and Pac-Man must eat them all in order to proceed to the next round. The 240 small dots are worth ten points each, the four large, flashing dots are worth 50 points each, and each bonus item (cherry, strawberry, orange, apple, pineapple, Galaxian spaceship, bell, or key) is worth 100-5,000 points.

8. The game idea of eating power-pellets and powering up to defeat the evil ghosts was inspired by Popeye eating spinach to defeat Bluto. The business world has adopted a similar strategy, known as the Pac-Man defense; this occurs when a defending company protects against a hostile takeover by swallowing the larger company.

9. Pac-Man merch includes over 400 products: a cartoon, a breakfast cereal, a hit song, pasta, lunchboxes, bedspreads and apparel, among others.

10. In 1999, 33-year-old Billy Mitchell of Florida navigated through the game's 256 boards to become the first player to achieve a perfect Pac-Man score—3,333,360.

Lost your joystick? No spare quarters? No prob! Google is offering its free PC-compatible version of Pac-Man for the next 48 hours...what's your high score?

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2 Response to "Ten Fun Facts About Pac-Man on His 30th Anniversary"

  1. That is high praise for someone working in a medium which won't reach the status of art within any of our lifetimes.

    Unless you read sophisticated, artful graphic novels (or play video games of the same quality) these things will always seem like silly splashes of color that are distracting

    wastes of time and money.

    Ebert is "entitled" to his uninformed and biased opinion as much as much as anybody else is. With that said, I appreciate and respect the man as a film critic. I just wish he

    would be more open minded about other entertainment media.

    I think is interesting that the BAFTAs are now recognizing games and game development, and has given 3 men a place of honor as Academy Fellows.

    "From Alfred Hitchcock in 1971, the Academy Fellowship has been awarded in recognition of outstanding achievement in the art forms of the moving image. "

    And the recent addition of Shigeru Miyamoto as a Fellow led to a statement of introduction which seems important for this conversation.

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