This Day in Tech History

On This Day . . .

Warning – May Be Addictive


October 10, 1980: Pac-Man Released in North America

On this day in 1980 Pac-Man is released in North America. Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway, first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. Immensely popular from its original release to the present day. Pac-Man is considered one of the classics of the medium, virtually synonymous with video games, and an icon of 1980s popular culture.


Upon its release, the game, and subsequently, Pac-Man derivatives, became a social phenomenon that sold a bevy of merchandise and also inspired, among other things, an animated television series and a top-ten hit single.

Pac-Man Fever – Buckner and Garcia on Dick Clark

Tōru Iwatani

Tōru Iwatani

The game was developed primarily by a young Namco employee named Tōru Iwatani. Iwatani has repeatedly stated that the character’s shape was inspired by a pizza missing a slice. torueatspizza-preIwatani attempted to appeal to a wider audience—beyond the typical demographics of young boys and teenagers. His intention was to attract girls to arcades. This led him to add elements of a maze, as well as cute ghost enemy characters. Eating to gain power, Iwatani has said, was a concept he borrowed from Popeye.


The game is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time. In addition, it was the first video game to feature power-ups, and it is frequently credited as the first game to feature cut scenes, in the form of brief comical interludes.

Pac-Man has also influenced many other games, ranging from Grand Theft Auto (where the player runs over pedestrians and gets chased by police in a similar manner) to early first person shooters like MIDI Maze.

wolfenstein_300px Doom1

Game designer John Romero credited Pac-Man as the game that had the biggest influence on his career; Wolfenstein 3D was similar in level design and featured a Pac-Man level from a first-person perspective, while Doom had a similar emphasis on mazes, power-ups, killing monsters, and reaching the next level.

When Pac-Man was released, the most popular arcade video games were space shooters, in particular Space Invaders and Asteroids. The most visible minority were sports games that were mostly derivative of Pong. Pac-Man succeeded by creating a new genre and appealing to both genders. Pac-Man is often credited with being a landmark in video game history, and is among the most famous arcade games of all time. It is also one of the highest-grossing video games of all time, having generated more than $2.5 billion in quarters by the 1990s.

Warning – May be Addictive – Do Not Play at Work 😉

pac man


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