Tag Archives: Pac-Man

Technology

9 Jun

When I was a teenager in the ’80s, my parents finally got a microwave oven and a VHS VCR…they both seemed so “high-tech” back then.
The microwave could heat food in literally seconds! It seemed so “futuristic”! And the VCR allowed us to program it to record a TV show while we weren’t at home so that we could watch it later! How convenient!
(Never mind that no one could actually understand how to program it…even setting the clock on it was a chore!)

I think every housewife had a copy of this video in the ’80s when VCRs became popular.

Other “new” technology back then were CD players, the “Walkman“, and video games. They were all so popular.

(Click here and read a post I wrote a while back about the Walkman).

In the ’80s, everyone was surprised how “small” this music player was!

A popular TV show when I was in junior high was “Knight Rider“. It was about a vigilante and his “partner”…a super-intelligent Trans-Am that was bullet-proof (even the tires!) and it could do an endless array of unbelievable things. But the three things it did in every episode were: carry on a “witty” conversation with it’s driver and/or whomever else was near it, drive itself and “turbo-boost” over things.
I couldn’t wait for cars like that to become reality!

How often would this really be necessary?

A teacher of mine in the ’80s once told my classmates and me that by the time we were thirty there would be “flying cars”. Obviously that didn’t happen! What a let-down!

I was looking forward to this!

Another “high-tech” item that my family got was I was a kid was a “push-button” telephone with a “re-dial” button. It seems so ordinary now…but it was such a time-saver compared to how telephones had been until then!

Remember these? Yes? Then you must be at least my age. πŸ˜‰

Now we have a huge variety of technology all around us that we would have never dreamed of even twenty years ago.
For example, when I was dating my wife, one time I misunderstood our meeting place and we couldn’t find each other. That date was lost!
Today’s young people couldn’t imagine such a thing happening because they grew up after cell-phones were invented and became something that everyone carries at all times—like a wallet and keys. If my wife and I had cell-phones when we were dating, my mistake wouldn’t have been an incident at all.

The internet and computers are extremely convenient and useful. They can do so many things and are practical in our daily lives now.
I have had a cell-phone with internet-access for a number of years now…I can barely remember how I used to “kill time” on the train during my daily commute before I had a cell-phone!

Nowadays, nearly everyone uses the phone on the trains in Japan.

But all of this new technology isn’t always good.
When I came to Japan, I had no idea what to expect. There was no internet back then.
And when I got here, everything was different and unusual to me!
But nowadays, most people never travel anywhere without “researching” the destination online first. Nothing’s a surprise! Is that always good?

And there are often stories in the news about people (usually teenagers) bullying others online. It’s regrettable.

I wonder what new technology we’ll see in the future.

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 γ€Œγƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γƒžγƒ³γ€ 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 ζΈ‹θ°· (Shibuya, Tokyo).

The game was given the name γ€Œγƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γƒžγƒ³γ€ because γ€Œγƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γ€ (“pakku“) or γ€Œγƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γ€ (“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 γ€Œγƒ‘γƒƒγ‚―γƒžγƒ³γ€ (“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.