Pac-Man is 30

24 May

On 1980 May 22, the Japanese video game manufacturer Namco released a new game that was invented by their employee 岩谷徹 (Toru Iwatani).

The game was called 「パックマン」 and was written as “Puckman” in the English alphabet in Japan.
On that day thirty years ago, the game was released at only one video game arcade (ゲームセンター) in 渋谷 (Shibuya, Tokyo).

The game was given the name 「パックマン」 because 「パック」 (“pakku“) or 「パックパック」 (“pakku-pakku“) is the word Japanese use to describe chewing (click here to read a post I wrote that describes this word and other like it in the Japanese language) and the point of the game is to maneuver the yellow Pac-man character around a maze and eat every dot in the maze without running into any of the four ghosts that run around the maze at the same time. There are four strategically-placed “power” dots that temporarily turn the tables and allow Pac-Man to eat the ghosts.

It was probably decided to use the letters “Puckman” to write the game’s name in Japan because “pakku-pakku” sounds similar to “puck-puck“…at least when said with a Japanese accent.

Anyways, this game was an instant success in Japan and caught the attention of “Midway” game manufacturer in America and a deal was struck to bring 「パックマン」 (“Puck-Man“) to the U.S.
But first, Midway decided, the name should be altered before kids in America vandalize the machine to make the “P” in “Puck-man” look like an “F”.

So, “Pac-Man” was introduced to America in the early ’80s and became a part of America’s pop-culture almost instantly.

Just like most kids in America (and probably other countries too) in the early ’80s, I was obsessed with Pac-Man for awhile.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been thirty years since Pac-Man was first introduced to the world!

I heard that Pac-Man was recently added to the “Guiness Book Of World Records” for being the most readily recognized video-game character around the world even today.

Even the Google search engine changed their logo temporarily to honor Pac-Man‘s 30th anniversary.
Click here to try the Pac-Man game on the Google website. Click the “Insert Coin” button the site, a game starts then use your keyboards arrow keys to move Pac-Man around the maze.

6 Responses to “Pac-Man is 30”

  1. cuteandcurls May 28, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    Who would’ve thought Pac Man is 30 years old. I enjoyed playing the round yellow colored eating dude back then and heck it still gets to me when I tried it on Google’s page ..I hope to find this game someday its still lots of fun ..same as Mario Brothers 🙂


    • tokyo5 May 28, 2010 at 11:12 pm #

      >Who would’ve thought Pac Man is 30 years old.

      Yeah. When I came to Japan, Pac-Man had turned ten years old…now he’s 30!
      Times flies!


  2. bartman905 May 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm #

    Yup, I saw this on Google the other day (don’t we all use Google daily?) and played it for a minute – it’s irresistable 🙂

    I tweeted (Twitter) about it at that time, and was going to write a blog post about it later when I had time, but looks like you already done it! Nice.


    • tokyo5 May 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm #

      >don’t we all use Google daily?

      I use Google almost daily but I use the Google search bar in my Firefox browser so I never see the Google top page (or logo).
      I found out about the Pac-Man logo because it was mentioned in the news (that’s also how I found out that Pac-Man turned 30 a couple days ago).


      (Are you still gonna post about it?)


  3. Sir Pent May 25, 2010 at 9:42 am #

    That is hard to do without a joystick.

    Like a good little 10 year old, I was hooked on the game…and loved all the variations of it that came later!!


    • tokyo5 May 25, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

      >That (Google Pac-Man) is hard to do without a joystick.

      Yeah, it’s not so easy to get the Pac-Man to go the way you want everytime with the arrow keys.

      >Like a good little 10 year old, I was hooked on the game…and loved all the variations of it that came later!!

      I played “Ms. Pac-Man“, but by the time Baby Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man and whatever else there was came out, I had grown tired of the game.


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