Tag Archives: video games

Mario is 25 today

13 Sep

I saw a commercial on TV today that said Mario, the main character in the Nintendo “Super Mario Bros.” video games, turned 25 today.

So I guess “Mario” turned five years old when I first came to Japan twenty years ago. That really makes it seem like I’ve been living in Japan for a long time!

I’ve never been very interested in video games. When I was a kid, I occasionally played “Pac-Man”, “Astroids”, “Centipede” and other games like that which were new at that time.

I have a sister who is ten years younger than me and I remember when she got a Nintendo television-game system with a “Mario” game (I’m not sure which one) when she was in elementary school.

And my children have Nintendo DS game machines and a number of game cassettes…including a few different “Mario” game titles.
I’ve tried playing them but I’m not so good at them though.

Even though I don’t play video games often at all, I know that Mario is the “King” of video games. He’s more popular than Pac-Man ever was.

There was even a Hollywood “Super Mario Bros.” movie. I haven’t watched it. Just like all other “video game” themed movies…it looks like a really dumb movie.

Anyways, to celebrate Mario turning twenty-five years old today (2010 September 13), Nintendo Japan is giving away:

red “Mario” or green “Luigi” tote-bags to 2,000 people,

“Happy 25th anniversary, Mario” T-shirts to 3,000 people

and decks of “Mario 25th anniversary” playing cards to 5,000 people.

You can enter into the drawing for these items via the Nintendo Japan website.
The entry deadline is 2011 January 10.

Are you a “Mario fan”?

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.