Tag Archives: arcade

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.

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秋祭

4 Oct

Today we went to a small local festival.

We enjoyed great Japanese festival foods such as fish, soup…and beer! 🙂

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From there we went to a nearby shopping center.
Among the other stores we went into, we played a few games in the ゲーム・センター (video game arcade).

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This "UFO Catcher" (crane game) has ice cream.

This one has potato chips.

This one has potato chips.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.

This is a タイコ (Japanese drum) drumming game.

Sunday afternoon

9 Nov

Today my wife met a couple friends that she hadn’t seen in a long time.
My oldest daughter had to go to school for a test, and my second daughter went out with one of her friends.

So, it was just me and the “baby” at home together today (alright, she’s twelve years old…but she’s my youngest and therefore the “baby” to me!).

She told me that her friend’s birthday coming up and she wanted to go to the mall to get her a gift.
So, we went to the mall together and had a “father-daughter” day. 🙂
It’s not often that I get to spend quality time with just one of my kids alone…so when the chance arises, I enjoy it!

After she bought her friend’s birthday present we went to the game center (arcade) and played the “UFO Catcher ” (crane game) a few times. One machine had a “Play Station Portable” that we tried to get and another had tickets to 東京ディズニーランド (Tokyo Disneyland) that we tried four times to get…we didn’t manage to get either! Oh well.

Do they have “crane games” in arcades in your country? What types of prizes do they have?
Japan has all kinds of crane games. Most offer small toys or candy…but there are also machines with Ipods®, watches, radios, Nintendo DS®, amusement park tickets, ice cream (in refrigerated crane games)…and I’ve even seen one with live lobsters!

Here’s one with ice cream:

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And another had パン (bread):

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I guess only shopping malls in Japan have 着物屋 (kimono stores).

This kimono costs ¥98,000 (about US$970):

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Winter’s almost here. The weather’s getting colder, and on the way to the mall we saw a 焼きいも (Grilled potato) truck (a sure sign of winter in Japan 🙂 )…and many stores have their x-mas decorations up—and the 文具店 (stationery stores) have the 年賀状 (Japanese New Years postcards) on sale.

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We had a good time together. We got home at about 5:00 and my wife and two oldest daughters got home at about 5:30.

Then the four of them made an excellent burrito dinner for my birthday! 🙂 [明日誕生日 (Tomorrow is my birthday)…]

DAIGO

22 Sep

DAIGO is a new celebrity in Japan. (His official blog is here (Japanese only)).
His grandfather was a former Prime Minister of Japan (竹下登 (Takeshita Noboru)).

DAIGO is the singer of a rock band called “Breakerz“, and he often appears on TV and says funny things and does his trademark pose.

Also, his band’s song appears in the Japan showings of the Hollywood movie “Wanted” and DAIGO dubs in Japanese for the lines of James McAvoy in that movie.

Recently, James McAvoy was in Tokyo to promote the movie “Wanted“, and he met DAIGO.
James McAvoy is 29 years old and DAIGO is 30. When James was told DAIGO’s age, he said “I thought he was nineteen!”

Here’s a picture of DAIGO and James McAvoy promoting “Wanted” in Tokyo. They are both doing DAIGO’s trademark pose:

Last week, we found out that DAIGO would be appearing at a shopping mall on the outskirts of Tokyo on September 21 (yesterday).

So we went there yesterday to see him. And it seemed that every other person in Tokyo had the same idea!
It was really crowded!

Here’s the crowd that gathered to see him:

All the girls in the crowd starting screaming once he appeared. Like a rock concert!

We got there too late to get a good spot…we could only hear him. We couldn’t see him past the crowd. But we didn’t really mind…we still had a good time at the mall.

Here are four videos I took (only the immense crowd can be seen):

After DAIGO finished and left, the crowd disappeared and the shopping mall was much more normal:

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At the mall, we went to many stores of course…one of them was the game center (arcade).

Here’s a short video I took in there. At the end of the video, you can see a UFO catcher (crane game) with ice cream in it:

ミタマ祭

17 Jul

The day before yesterday, I had to go up to Saitama for a few hours.

Do you know what station this lion statue is near?

Here’s a short video I took of a Game Center (video game arcade) in Saitama:

And here’s a video I took while walking into the train station:

And this is on the platform, waiting for the train:

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Then, that evening, I met my family at the 靖国神社 (Yasukuni Shrine) for the annual みたま祭 (Mitama Festival).

This festival takes place during お盆 (O-bon) (click here to read my FAQ about O-bon). Most of Japan has Obon in August…but it’s often celebrated in July in Tokyo.

Here’s a video of the outside of the Haunted House attraction at the Mitama Festival:

And all around Japan during the summer there are many festivals big and small that have 盆踊り (Bon Dancing) to remember the deceased. Here’s a video of the Bon Dance at the Mitama Festival:

青森県 (Aomori Prefecture) in Northern Japan has a cool festival called ねぶた祭り (Nebuta Festival).

At the Mitama Festival in Tokyo, a group of Nebuta Festival dancers come and do a show.
Here are two videos that I took of them:

Finally, here’s a slideshow that I made of some photos I took at the festival:

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