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Pac-Man

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Pac-Man
Pac flyer.png
North American sales flyer
Developer(s)Namco
Publisher(s)
Designer(s)Toru Iwatani
Programmer(s)Shigeo Funaki
Shigeichi Ishimura
Artist(s)Hiroshi Ono[4]
Composer(s)Shigeichi Ishimura
Toshio Kai
SeriesPac-Man
Platform(s)
Release
  • JP: May 22, 1980[1]
  • WW: December 1980
Genre(s)Maze
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer (alternating turns)

Pac-Man[a] is a 1980 maze action video game developed and released by Namco for arcades. The original Japanese title of Puck Man was changed to Pac-Man for international releases as a preventative measure against defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an F.[5] In North America, the game was released by Midway Manufacturing as part of its licensing agreement with Namco America. The player controls Pac-Man, who must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts. Eating large flashing dots called "Power Pellets" causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for bonus points.

Game development began in early 1979, directed by Toru Iwatani with a nine-man team. Iwatani wanted to create a game that could appeal to women as well as men, because most video games of the time had themes of war or sports.[6][citation needed] Although the inspiration for the Pac-Man character was the image of a pizza with a slice removed, Iwatani has said he also rounded out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi (Japanese: ). The in-game characters were made to be cute and colorful to appeal to younger players. The original Japanese title of Puckman was derived from the titular character's hockey-puck shape, and is now the mascot and flagship icon of Bandai Namco Entertainment.

Pac-Man was a widespread critical and commercial success, leading to several sequels, merchandise, and two television series, as well as a hit single by Buckner and Garcia. The franchise remains one of the highest-grossing and best-selling games, generating more than $14 billion in revenue (as of 2016) and 43 million units in sales combined, and has an enduring commercial and cultural legacy, commonly listed as one of the greatest video games of all time.

Gameplay

In-game screenshot. The four ghosts are in the center of the screen with Pac-Man situated underneath them. To the bottom is the player's life count and the level icon (represented in this case by a cherry), to the top is the player's score.

Pac-Man is an action[7] maze chase video game; the player controls the eponymous character through an enclosed maze. The objective of the game is to eat all of the dots placed in the maze while avoiding four colored ghosts — Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (cyan), and Clyde (orange) — that pursue him. When Pac-Man eats all of the dots, the player advances to the next level. If Pac-Man makes contact with a ghost, he will lose a life; the game ends when all lives are lost. Each of the four ghosts have their own unique, distinct artificial intelligence (A.I.), or "personalities"; Blinky gives direct chase to Pac-Man, Pinky and Inky try to position themselves in front of Pac-Man, usually by cornering him, and Clyde will switch between chasing Pac-Man and fleeing from him.[8][9]

Placed at the four corners of the maze are large flashing "energizers", or "power pellets". Eating these will cause the ghosts to turn blue with a dizzied expression and reverse direction. Pac-Man can eat blue ghosts for bonus points; when eaten, their eyes make their way back to the center box in the maze, where the ghosts "regenerate" and resume their normal activity. Eating multiple blue ghosts in succession increases their point value. After a certain amount of time, blue-colored ghosts will flash white before turning back into their normal, lethal form. Eating a certain number of dots in a level will cause a bonus item - usually in the form of a fruit – to appear underneath the center box, which can be eaten for bonus points.

The game increases in difficulty as the player progresses; the ghosts become faster and the energizers' effect decreases in duration to the point where the ghosts will no longer turn blue and edible. To the sides of the maze are two "warp tunnels", which allow Pac-Man and the ghosts to travel to the opposite side of the screen. Ghosts become slower when entering and exiting these tunnels. Levels are indicated by the fruit icon at the bottom of the screen. In-between levels are short cutscenes featuring Pac-Man and Blinky in humorous, comical situations. The game becomes unplayable at the 256th level due to an integer overflow that affects the game's memory.[10]

Development

After acquiring the struggling Japanese division of Atari in 1974, video game developer Namco began producing its own video games in-house, as opposed to simply licensing them from other developers and distributing them in Japan.[11][12] Company president Masaya Nakamura created a small video game development group within the company and ordered them to study several NEC-produced microcomputers to potentially create new games with.[13][14] One of the first people assigned to this division was a young 24-year-old employee named Toru Iwatani.[15] He created Namco's first video game Gee Bee in 1978, which while unsuccessful helped the company gain a stronger foothold in the quickly-growing video game industry.[16][17] He also assisted in the production of two sequels, Bomb Bee and Cutie Q, both released in 1979.[18][19]

The Japanese video game industry had surged in popularity with games such as Space Invaders and Breakout, which led to the market being flooded with similar titles from other manufacturers in an attempt to cash in on the success.[20][21] Iwatani felt that arcade games only appealed to men for their crude graphics and violence,[20] and that arcades in general were seen as seedy environments.[22] For his next project, Iwatani chose to create a non-violent, cheerful video game that appealed mostly to women,[23] as he believed that attracting women and couples into arcades would potentially make them appear to be much-more family friendly in tone.[20] Iwatani began thinking of things that women liked to do in their time; he decided to center his game around eating, basing this on women liking to eat desserts and other sweets.[24] His game was initially called Pakkuman, based on the Japanese onomatopoeia term “paku paku taberu”,[25] referencing the mouth movement of opening and closing in succession.[23]

The game that later became Pac-Man began development in early 1979 and took a year and five months to complete, the longest ever for a video game up to that point.[26] Iwatani enlisted the help of nine other Namco employees to assist in production, including composer Toshio Kai, programmer Shigeo Funaki, and hardware engineer Shigeichi Ishimura.[27] Care was taken to make the game appeal to a “non-violent” audience, particularly women, with its usage of simple gameplay and cute, attractive character designs.[26][22] When the game was being developed, Namco was underway with designing Galaxian, which utilized a then-revolutionary RGB color display, allowing sprites to use several colors at once instead of utilizing colored strips of cellophane that was commonplace at the time;[26] this technological accomplishment allowed Iwatani to greatly enhance his game with bright pastel colors, which he felt would help attract players.[26] The idea for energizers was a concept Iwatani borrowed from Popeye the Sailor, a cartoon character that temporarily acquires superhuman strength after eating a can of spinach;[24] it is also believed that Iwatani was also partly inspired by a Japanese children's story about a creature that protected children from monsters by devouring them.[26] Frank Fogleman, the co-founder of Gremlin Industries, believes that the maze-chase gameplay of Pac-Man was inspired by Sega's Head On (1979), a similar arcade game that was popular in Japan.[28]

Iwatani has often claimed that the character of Pac-Man himself was designed after the shape of a pizza with a missing slice while he was at lunch; in a 1986 interview he said that this was only half-truth,[15] and that the Pac-Man character was also based on him rounding out and simplifying the Japanese character “kuchi” (), meaning “mouth”.[29][15] The four ghosts were made to be cute, colorful and appealing, utilizing bright, pastel colors and expressive blue eyes.[26] Iwatani had used this idea before in Cutie Q, which features similar ghost-like characters, and decided to incorporate it into Pac-Man.[20] He was also inspired by the television series Casper the Friendly Ghost and the manga Obake no Q-Taro.[24] Ghosts were chosen as the game's main antagonists due to them being used as villainous characters in animation.[24] The idea for the fruit bonuses was based on graphics displayed on slot machines, which often use symbols such as cherries and bells.[30]

Originally, Namco president Masaya Nakamura had requested that all of the ghosts be red and thus indistinguishable from one another.[31] Iwatani believed that the ghosts should be different colors, and he received unanimous support from his colleagues for this idea.[31] Each of the ghosts were programmed to have their own distinct personalities, so as to keep the game from becoming too boring or impossibly difficult to play.[26][32] Each ghost's name gives a hint to its strategy for tracking down Pac-Man: Shadow ("Blinky") always chases Pac-Man, Speedy ("Pinky") tries to get ahead of him, Bashful ("Inky") uses a more complicated strategy to zero in on him, and Pokey ("Clyde") alternates between chasing him and running away.[26] (The ghosts' Japanese names, translated into English, are Chaser, Ambusher, Fickle, and Stupid, respectively.) To break up the tension of constantly being pursued, humorous intermissions between Pac-Man and Blinky were added.[21] The sound effects were among the last things added to the game,[26] created by Toshio Kai.[22] In a design session, Iwatani noisily ate fruit and made gurgling noises to describe to Kai how he wanted the eating effect to sound.[22] Upon completion, the game was titled Puck Man, based on the working title and the titular character's distinct hockey puck-like shape.[12]

Release

Location testing for Puck Man began on May 22, 1980 in Shibuya, Tokyo, to a relatively positive fanfare from players.[24] A private showing for the game was done in June, followed by a nationwide release in July.[12] Eyeing the game's success in Japan, Namco initialized plans to bring the game to international countries, particularly the United States.[26] Before showing the game to distributors, Namco America made a number of changes, such as altering the names of the ghosts.[26] The biggest of these was the game's title; executives at Namco were worried that vandals would change the “P” in Puck Man to an “F”, forming an obscene name.[12][33] Masaya Nakamura chose to rename it to Pac-Man, as he felt it was closer to the game's original Japanese title of Pakkuman.[12] In Europe, the game was released under both titles, Pac-Man and Puck Man.[34]

When Namco presented Pac-Man and Rally-X to potential distributors at the 1980 AMOA tradeshow in November,[35] executives believed that Rally-X would be the best-selling game of that year.[12][36] According to Play Meter magazine, both Pac-Man and Rally-X received mild attention at the show. Namco had initially approached Atari to distribute Pac-Man, but Atari refused the offer.[37] Midway Manufacturing subsequently agreed to distribute both Pac-Man and Rally-X in North America, announcing their acquisition of the manufacturing rights on November 22[38] and releasing them in December.[39]

Conversions

Pac-Man was ported to a plethora of home video game systems and personal computers; the most infamous of these is the 1982 Atari 2600 conversion, designed by Tod Frye and published by Atari.[40] This version of the game was widely criticized for its inaccurate portrayal of the arcade version and for its peculiar design choices, most notably the flickering effect of the ghosts.[41][42][43] However, it was a commercial success, having sold over seven million copies. Atari also released versions for the Intellivision, Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, Apple II, IBM PC, Texas Instruments TI-99/4A, ZX Spectrum, and the Atari 8-bit family of computers. A port for the Atari 5200 was released in 1983, a version that many have seen as a significant improvement over the Atari 2600 version.[44]

Namco themselves released a version for the Family Computer in 1984 as one of the console's first third-party titles,[45] as well as a port for the MSX computer.[46] The Famicom version was later released in North America for the Nintendo Entertainment System by Tengen, a subsidiary of Atari Games. Tengen also produced an unlicensed version of the game in a black cartridge shell, released during a time where Tengen and Nintendo were in bitter disagreements over the latter's stance on quality control for their consoles; this version was later re-released by Namco as an official title in 1993, featuring a new cartridge label and box. The Famicom version was released for the Famicom Disk System in 1990 as a budget title for the Disk Writer kiosks in retail stores.[45] The same year, Namco released a port of Pac-Man for the Game Boy, which allowed for two-player co-operative play via the Game Link Cable peripheral. A version for the Game Gear was released a year later, which also enabled support for multiplayer. In celebration of the game's 20th anniversary in 1999, Namco re-released the Game Boy version for the Game Boy Color, bundled with Pac-Attack and titled Pac-Man: Special Color Edition.[47] The same year, Namco and SNK co-published a port for the Neo Geo Pocket Color, which came with a circular "Cross Ring" that attached to the d-pad to restrict it to four-directional movement.[48]

In 2001, Namco released a port of Pac-Man for various Japanese mobile phones, being one of the company's first mobile game releases.[49] The Famicom version of the game was re-released for the Game Boy Advance in 2004 as part of the Famicom Mini series, released to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Famicom; this version was also released in North America and Europe under the Classic NES Series label.[50] Namco Networks released Pac-Man for BREW mobile devices in 2005.[51] The arcade original was released for the Xbox Live Arcade service in 2006, featuring achievements and online leaderboards. In 2009 a version for iOS devices was published; this release was later rebranded as Pac-Man + Tournaments in 2013, featuring new mazes and leaderboards. The NES version was released for the Wii Virtual Console in 2007. A Roku version was released in 2011,[52] alongside a port of the Game Boy release for the 3DS Virtual Console. Pac-Man was one of four titles released under the Arcade Game Series brand, which was published for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC in 2016.[53] In 2021, along with Xevious, it was also released by Hamster Corporation for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 as part of the Arcade Archives series, marking the first of two Namco games to be included as part of the series.

Pac-Man is included in many Namco compilations, including Namco Museum Vol. 1 (1995),[54] Namco Museum 64 (1999),[55] Namco Museum Battle Collection (2005),[56] Namco Museum DS (2007), Namco Museum Essentials (2009),[57] and Namco Museum Megamix (2010).[58] In 1996, it was re-released for arcades as part of Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2, alongside Dig Dug, Rally-X and special "Arrangement" remakes of all three titles.[59][60] Microsoft included Pac-Man in Microsoft Return of Arcade (1995) as a way to help attract video game companies to their Windows 95 operating system.[61] Namco released the game in the third volume of Namco History in Japan in 1998.[62] The 2001 Game Boy Advance compilation Pac-Man Collection compiles Pac-Man, Pac-Mania, Pac-Attack and Pac-Man Arrangement onto one cartridge.[63] Pac-Man is also a hidden extra in the arcade game Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga - Class of 1981 (2001).[64][65] A similar cabinet was released in 2005 that featured Pac-Man as the centerpiece.[66] Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (1993) and Pac-Man World 2 (2002) have Pac-Man as an unlockable extra. Alongside the Xbox 360 remake Pac-Man Championship Edition, it was ported to the Nintendo 3DS in 2012 as part of Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions.[67] The 2010 Wii game Pac-Man Party and its 2011 3DS remake also include Pac-Man as a bonus game, alongside the arcade versions of Dig Dug and Galaga.[68][69] In 2014, Pac-Man was included in the compilation title Pac-Man Museum for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC, alongside several other Pac-Man games.[70] The NES version is one of 30 games included in the NES Classic Edition.[71]

Reception

Upon its North American debut at AMOA 1980, the game initially received a mild response. Play Meter magazine previewed the game and called it "a cute game which appears to grow on players, something which cute games are not prone to do." They said there's "more to the game than at first appears" but criticized the sound as a drawback, saying it's "good for awhile, then becomes annoying." Upon release, the game exceeded expectations with wide critical and commercial success.[37]

Commercial performance

When it was first released in Japan, Pac-Man was initially only a modest success; Namco's own Galaxian (1979) had quickly outdone the game in popularity, due to the predominately male player base being familiar with its shooting gameplay as opposed to Pac-Man's cute characters and maze-chase theme.[26] Pac-Man eventually became very successful in Japan,[85] where it went on to be Japan's highest-grossing arcade game of 1980 according to the annual Game Machine charts,[86] dethroning Space Invaders (1978) which had topped the annual charts for two years in a row and leading to a shift in the Japanese market away from space shooters towards action games featuring comical characters.[87] Pac-Man was also Japan's fourth highest-grossing arcade game of 1981.[88]

In North America, Pac-Man became a nationwide success. Within one year, more than 100,000 arcade units had been sold which grossed more than $1 billion in quarters.[89][90] Midway had limited expectations prior to release, initially manufacturing 5,000 units for the US, before it caught on immediately upon release there.[91] Some arcades purchased entire rows of Pac-Man cabinets.[12] It overtook Atari's Asteroids (1979) as the best-selling arcade game in the country,[92] and surpassed the film Star Wars: A New Hope (1977) with more than $1 billion in revenue.[93][94] Pac-Man was America's highest-grossing arcade game of 1981,[95][96] and second highest game of 1982.[97] By 1982, it was estimated to have had 30 million active players across the United States.[98] The game's success was partly driven by its popularity among female audiences, becoming "the first commercial videogame to involve large numbers of women as players" according to Midway's Stan Jarocki, with Pac-Man being the favorite coin-op game among female gamers through 1982.[99] Among the nine arcade games covered by How to Win Video Games (1982), Pac-Man was the only one with females accounting for a majority of players.[100]

The number of arcade units sold had tripled to 400,000 by 1982, receiving an estimated total of between seven billion coins[101] and $6 billion.[102][103][104] In a 1983 interview, Nakamura said that though he did expect Pac-Man to be successful, "I never thought it would be this big."[11] Pac-Man is the best-selling arcade game of all time (surpassing Space Invaders), with total estimated earnings ranging from 10 billion coins[90][105] and $3.5 billion ($7.7 billion adjusted for inflation)[106] to $6 billion[102][103][104] ($16.1 billion adjusted for inflation) in arcades. Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man also topped the US RePlay cocktail arcade cabinet charts for 23 months, from February 1982[107] through 1983[108] up until February 1984.[109]

The Atari 2600 version of the game sold over 8 million copies,[b] making it the console's best-selling title.[112] In addition, Coleco's tabletop mini-arcade unit sold over 1.5 million units in 1982,[113][114] the Pac-Man Nelsonic Game Watch sold more than 500,000 units the same year,[115] the Family Computer (Famicom) version and its 2004 Game Boy Advance re-release sold a combined 598,000 copies in Japan,[116][117] the Atari 5200 version sold 35,011 cartridges between 1986 and 1988,[111] the Atari XE computer version sold 42,359 copies in 1986 and 1990,[111] Thunder Mountain's 1986 budget release for home computers received a Diamond certification from the Software Publishers Association in 1989 for selling over 500,000 copies,[118] and mobile phone ports have sold over 30 million paid downloads as of 2010.[119] II Computing also listed the Atarisoft port tenth on the magazine's list of top Apple II games as of late 1985, based on sales and market-share data.[120] As of 2016, all versions of Pac-Man are estimated to have grossed a total of more than $12 billion in revenue.[121]

Accolades

Pac-Man was awarded "Best Commercial Arcade Game" at the 1982 Arcade Awards.[81] Pac-Man also won the Video Software Dealers Association's VSDA Award for Best Videogame.[82] In 2001, Pac-Man was voted the greatest video game of all time by a Dixons poll in the UK.[83] The Killer List of Videogames listed Pac-Man as the most popular game of all time.[84] The list aggregator site Playthatgame currently ranks Pac-Man as the #53rd top game of all-time & game of the year.[122]

Impact

Pac-Man is considered by many to be one of the most influential video games of all time;[123][124][125] The game established the maze chase game genre,[123] the first video game with power-ups,[126] and the individual ghosts have deterministic artificial intelligence (AI) that reacts to player actions.[127] Pac-Man is considered one of the first video games to demonstrated the potential of characters in video games;[123][128] its title character was the first original gaming mascot, it increased the appeal of video games with female audiences, and it was gaming's first broad licensing success.[123] It is often cited as the first game with cutscenes (in the form of brief comical interludes about Pac-Man and Blinky chasing each other),[129]: 2  though actually Space Invaders Part II employed a similar style of between-level intermissions in 1979.[130]

Pac-Man was a turning point for the arcade video game industry, which had previously been dominated by space shoot 'em ups since Space Invaders (1978). Pac-Man popularized a genre of "character-led" action games, leading to a wave of character action games involving player characters in 1981, such as Nintendo's prototypical platform game Donkey Kong, Konami's Frogger and Universal Entertainment's Lady Bug.[131] Pac-Man was one of the first popular non-shooting action games, defining key elements of the genre such as "parallel visual processing" which requires simultaneously keeping track of multiple entities, including the player's location, the enemies, and the energizers.[7]

"Maze chase" games exploded on home computers after the release of Pac-Man. Some of them appeared before official ports and garnered more attention from consumers, and sometimes lawyers, as a result. These include Taxman (1981) and Snack Attack (1982) for the Apple II, Jawbreaker (1981) for the Atari 8-bit family, Scarfman (1981) for the TRS-80, and K.C. Munchkin! (1981) for the Odyssey². Namco themselves produced several other maze chase games, including Rally-X (1980), Dig Dug (1982), Exvania (1992), and Tinkle Pit (1994).[citation needed] Atari sued Philips for creating K.C. Munchkin in the case Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp., leading to Munchkin being pulled from store shelves under court order.[132] No major competitors emerged to challenge Pac-Man in the maze-chase subgenre.[133]

Pac-Man also inspired 3D variants of the concept, such as Monster Maze (1982),[134] Spectre (1982), and early first-person shooters such as MIDI Maze (1987; which also had similar character designs).[129]: 5 [135] John Romero credited Pac-Man as the game that had the biggest influence on his career;[136] Wolfenstein 3D includes a Pac-Man level from a first-person perspective.[137][138] Many post-Pac-Man titles include power-ups that briefly turn the tables on the enemy. The game's artificial intelligence inspired programmers who later worked for companies like Bethesda.[127]

Legacy

Pac-Man interactive exposition at The Art of Video Games

Guinness World Records has awarded the Pac-Man series eight records in Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008, including "Most Successful Coin-Operated Game". On June 3, 2010, at the NLGD Festival of Games, the game's creator Toru Iwatani officially received the certificate from Guinness World Records for Pac-Man having had the most "coin-operated arcade machines" installed worldwide: 293,822. The record was set and recognized in 2005 and mentioned in the Guinness World Records: Gamer's Edition 2008, but finally actually awarded in 2010.[139] The Pac-Man character and game series became an icon of video game culture during the 1980s.

The game has inspired various real-life recreations, involving real people or robots. One event called Pac-Manhattan set a Guinness World Record for "Largest Pac-Man Game" in 2004.[140][141][142]

The business term "Pac-Man defense" in mergers and acquisitions refers to a hostile takeover target that attempts to reverse the situation and instead acquire its attempted acquirer, a reference to Pac-Man's energizers.[143] The "Pac-Man renormalization" is named for a cosmetic resemblance to the character, in the mathematical study of the Mandelbrot set.[144][145] The game's popularity has also led to "Pac-Man" being adopted as a nickname, such as by boxer Manny Pacquiao[146] and the American football player Adam Jones.

On August 21, 2016, in the 2016 Summer Olympics closing ceremony, during a video which showcases Tokyo as the host of the 2020 Summer Olympics, a small segment shows Pac-Man and the ghosts racing and eating dots on a running track.[147]

Merchandise

A wide variety of Pac-Man merchandise have been marketed with the character's image. By 1982, Midway had about 95-105 licensees selling Pac-Man merchandise, including major companies, such as AT&T selling a Pac-Man telephone. There were more than 500 Pac-Man related products.[91]

Pac-Man themed merchandise sales had exceeded $1 billion ($2.7 billion adjusted for inflation) in the US by 1982.[101][148] Pac-Man related merchandise products included bumber stickers, jewellery, accessories (such as a $20,000 Ms. Pac-Man choker with 14 karat gold), bicycles, breakfast cereals, popsicles,[91] t-shirts, toys, handheld electronic game imitations, and pasta.

Television

The Pac-Man animated television series produced by Hanna–Barbera aired on ABC from 1982 to 1983.[149] It was the highest-rated Saturday morning cartoon show in the US during late 1982.[91]

A computer-generated animated series titled Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures aired on Disney XD in June 2013.[150][151]

Music

The Buckner & Garcia song "Pac-Man Fever" (1981) went to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts,[152] and received a Gold certification for more than 1 million records sold by 1982,[153] and a total of 2.5 million copies sold as of 2008.[154] More than one million copies of the group's Pac-Man Fever album (1982) were sold.[155]

In 1982, "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of "Taxman" by the Beatles as "Pac-Man". It was eventually released in 2017 as part of Squeeze Box: The Complete Works of "Weird Al" Yankovic.[156][157] In 1992, Aphex Twin (with the name Power-Pill) released Pac-Man, a techno album which consists mostly of samples from the game.

On July 20, 2020, Gorillaz and ScHoolboy Q, released a track entitled "PAC-MAN" as a part of Gorillaz' Song Machine series to commemorate the game's 40th anniversary, with the music video depicting the band's frontman, 2-D, playing a Gorillaz-themed Pac-Man arcade game.[158]

Film

The Pac-Man character appears in the film Pixels (2015), with Denis Akiyama playing series creator Toru Iwatani. Iwatani makes a cameo at the beginning of the film as an arcade technician.[159][160] Pac-Man is referenced and makes an appearance in the 2017 film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.[161] The game, the character, and the ghosts all also appear in the film Wreck-It Ralph,[162][163] as well as the sequel Ralph Breaks the Internet.

In Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale where Kirito and his friends beat a virtual reality game called PAC-Man 2024.[164] In the Japanese tokusatsu film Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Riders, a Pac-Man-like character is the main villain.[165]

The 2018 film Relaxer uses Pac-Man as a strong plot element in the story of a 1999 couch-bound man who attempts to beat the game (and encounters the famous Level 256 glitch) before the year 2000 problem occurs.[166]

In 2008, a feature film based on the game was in development.[167][168]

Other gaming media

In 1982, Milton Bradley released a board game based on Pac-Man.[169] Players move up to four Pac-Man characters (traditional yellow plus red, green, and blue) plus two ghosts as per the throws of a pair of dice. The two ghost pieces were randomly packed with one of four colors.[170]

Sticker manufacturer Fleer included rub-off game cards with its Pac-Man stickers. The card packages contain a Pac-Man style maze with all points along the path hidden with opaque coverings. From the starting position, the player moves around the maze while scratching off the coverings to score points.[171]

A Pac-Man-themed downloadable content package for Minecraft was released in 2020 in commemoration of the game's 40th anniversary. This pack introduced a new ghost called 'Creepy', based on the Creeper.[172]

Perfect scores and other records

A perfect score on the original Pac-Man arcade game is 3,333,360 points, achieved when the player obtains the maximum score on the first 255 levels by eating every dot, energizer, fruit and blue ghost without losing a man, then uses all six men to obtain the maximum possible number of points on level 256.[173][174]

The first person to achieve a publicly witnessed and verified perfect score without manipulating the game's hardware to freeze play was Billy Mitchell, who performed the feat on July 3, 1999.[174][175] Some recordkeeping organizations removed Mitchell's score after a 2018 investigation by Twin Galaxies concluded that two unrelated Donkey Kong score performances submitted by Mitchell had not used an unmodified original circuit board.[176] As of July 2020, seven other gamers had achieved perfect Pac-Man scores on original arcade hardware.[177] The world record for the fastest completion of a perfect score, according to Twin Galaxies, is currently held by David Race with a time of 3 hours, 28 minutes, 49 seconds.[178][179]

In December 1982, eight-year-old boy Jeffrey R. Yee received a letter from United States president Ronald Reagan congratulating him on a world record score of 6,131,940 points, possible only if he had passed level 256.[174] In September 1983, Walter Day, chief scorekeeper at Twin Galaxies at the time, took the U.S. National Video Game Team on a tour of the East Coast to visit gamers who claimed the ability to pass that level. None demonstrated such an ability. In 1999, Billy Mitchell offered $100,000 to anyone who could pass level 256 before January 1, 2000. The offer expired with the prize unclaimed.[174]

After announcing in 2018 that it would no longer recognize the first perfect score on Pac-Man, Guinness World Records reversed that decision and reinstated Billy Mitchell's 1999 performance on June 18, 2020.[180]

Remakes and sequels

Pac-Man inspired a long series of sequels, remakes, and re-imaginings, and is one of the longest-running video game franchises in history. The first of these was Ms. Pac-Man, developed by the American-based General Computer Corporation and published by Midway in 1982. The character's gender was changed to female in response to Pac-Man's popularity with women, with new mazes, moving bonus items, and faster gameplay being implemented to increase its appeal. Ms. Pac-Man is one of the best-selling arcade games in North America, where Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man had become the most successful machines in the history of the amusement arcade industry.[181] Legal concerns raised over who owned the game caused Ms. Pac-Man to become owned by Namco, who assisted in production of the game. Ms. Pac-Man inspired its own line of remakes, including Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness (2000), and Ms. Pac-Man: Quest for the Golden Maze, and is also included in many Namco and Pac-Man collections for consoles.

Namco's own follow-up to the original was Super Pac-Man, released in 1982. This was followed by the Japan-exclusive Pac & Pal in 1983.[182] Midway produced many other Pac-Man sequels during the early 1980s, including Pac-Man Plus (1982), Jr. Pac-Man (1983), Baby Pac-Man (1983), and Professor Pac-Man (1984). Other games include the isometric Pac-Mania (1987), the side-scrollers Pac-Land (1984), Hello! Pac-Man (1994), and Pac-In-Time (1995),[183] the 3D platformer Pac-Man World (1999), and the puzzle games Pac-Attack (1991) and Pac-Pix (2005). Iwatani designed Pac-Land and Pac-Mania, both of which remain his favorite games in the series. Pac-Man Championship Edition, published for the Xbox 360 in 2007, was Iwatani's final game before leaving the company. Its neon visuals and fast-paced gameplay was met with acclaim,[184] leading to the creation of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (2010) and Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (2016).[185]

Coleco's tabletop Mini-Arcade versions of the game yielded 1.5 million units sold in 1982.[186][187] Nelsonic Industries produced a Pac-Man LCD wristwatch game with a simplified maze also in 1982.[188]

Namco Networks sold a downloadable Windows PC version of Pac-Man in 2009 which also includes an enhanced mode which replaces all of the original sprites with the sprites from Pac-Man Championship Edition. Namco Networks made a downloadable bundle which includes its PC version of Pac-Man and its port of Dig Dug called Namco All-Stars: Pac-Man and Dig Dug. In 2010, Namco Bandai announced the release of the game on Windows Phone 7 as an Xbox Live game.[189]

For the weekend of May 21–23, 2010, Google changed the logo on its homepage to a playable version of the game[190] in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the game's release. The Google Doodle version of Pac-Man was estimated to have been played by more than 1 billion people worldwide in 2010,[191] so Google later gave the game its own page.[192]

In April 2011, Soap Creative published World's Biggest Pac-Man, working together with Microsoft and Namco-Bandai to celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary. It is a multiplayer browser-based game with user-created, interlocking mazes.[193]

Notes

  1. ^ Japanese: パックマン, Hepburn: Pakkuman
  2. ^ 7,271,844 in 1982. 684,569 in 1983.[110] 37,063 in 1986. 61,685 in 1987. 3,885 in 1988. 34,374 in 1989. 2,166 in 1990.[111]

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Further reading

External links