12 Facts Every Pac-Man Fan Should Know
Over the years, it has been possible to find a Pacman arcade game for sale in multiple formats and for different types of console. Nothing, however, beats the original version and the experience of being in an arcade chomping away and avoiding the ghosts. If you were a fan back in the 1980s, here are 12 Pac-Man facts you should know.
1. Pac-Man's original designer, Toru Iwatani, wasn't a programmer – or a designer. He joined Namco to make pinball machines but then got into making arcade games.
2. The name Pac-Man has its inspiration in the Japanese word paku-paku which describes eating or chewing.
3. Pac-Man was originally Puck-Man. Fear in the US that the P would be replaced with an F on the arcade machines helped change minds.
4. Iwatani’s objective when making Pac-Man was to attract female gamers. Until then, many of the most popular arcade titles involved shooting aliens. Iwatani wanted to do something different. The sequel Ms. Pac-Man furthered Iwatani’s goal of attracting female gamers.
5. There is some confusion as to the origins of Pac-Man's design. Some say Iwatani came up with the design when he looked at a pizza he was eating with a missing slice. Others say it comes from the Japanese character for mouth. Over the years, Iwatani has been happy for both origins to exist so there is probably an element of truth in each one.
6. A Pac-Man-related clip was one of the first ever viral videos on YouTube. It involved a man dressing up as Pac-Man and getting his friends to dress up as ghosts to chase him through public spaces. Uploaded in 2009, it has 66 million views and counting.
7. The power-ups in Pac-Man were inspired by Popeye's spinach and the ghosts came from comic book characters like Casper and Q-Taro.
8. Namco developed Rally-X at the same time as Pac-Man and thought it would be the more popular of the two titles. The company couldn't have been more wrong.
9. The ghosts chase Pac-Man in different ways. The red ghost, Blinky, follows wherever he goes. The pink ghost (Pinky) and the blue ghost (Inky) try to get into position a certain number of pixels ahead of Pac-Man. The orange ghost (Clyde) moves randomly.
10. Pac-Man took 18 months to make. The programmers spent much of that time making the ghosts move independently.
11. Pac-Man was one of the first arcade games to have intermissions. These are the cutscenes between levels that are there for entertainment purposes only. Iwatani calls them coffee breaks.
12. On Pac-Man's 30th birthday in 2010, Google released a browser version of the game. Fans spent nearly 500 million hours playing. Some estimates say the cost to business of this in terms of lost productivity was around $122 million.
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