$2.5 Billion is a Lot of Quarters
May 22, 1980: Pac-Man Released
Created by Toru Iwatani, the game has been one of the most popular in Arcades around the world. It inspired spin-offs, songs, a cartoon show and much more. Namco installed the first Pac-Man machine in a movie theater in Tokyo.
Originally it was called ‘Puckman’ as a play on the word ‘paku-paku (パックマン) in Japanese that means something to the effect of flapping your mouth open and closed. By the time the game is released in October in the US, the name is Pac-man.
The U.S. distributor thought that vandals would alter the letter “P” to an “F”. While the game was not officially released until later in the year (October 10th in the US), the creators of the game consider May 22 to be Pac-Man’s birthday because it was the first time the game was shown to the general public.
One of the little known facts about Pac-Man is that it was specifically developed to be popular with women. Most video games of that time had a war or sports theme to them and women were generally not interested in those games. Pac-Mac would be the first game popular with both men and women and was the first video game to become a social phenomenon. Pac-Mac generated over $2.5 billion (that’s a lot of quarters) by the 1990′s, becoming one of the highest grossing video games of all time.
10 little known Pac-Man facts:
- The design for the iconic Pac-Man character is based on a pizza with a slice missing.
- Although Pac-man’s creator, Iwatani, has stated that the character’s shape was inspired by a pizza, he admitted in a 1986 interview that this was a half-truth, and the character design also came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for mouth, ’kuchi’.
- Pac-Man was originally named Puck-man. Fearing that American hoodlums would scratch off part of the ’P’ to make an ’F’, the manufacturers changed it to Pac-Man for North America.
- The ghosts that pursue Pac-Man are nicknamed Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, and each has a distinct personality. Blinky and Pinky are the most predictable and chase Pac-Man directly, sometimes teaming up. Inky’s tactic is to ambush, while Clyde is the one to fear most because his movements are random.
- The arcade version of Pac-Man has a highest possible score of 3,333,360 … which has been achieved by less than 10 people ever.
- Pac-Man was created by Toru Iwatani to pick up girls
- The duo of Buckner and Garcia entered the pop charts in 1982 with a song called ‘Pac-Man Fever’. It went to #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
- In 2005, Guinness World Records named Pac-Man the most successful coin-op ever.
- Guinness also named Pac-Man himself as the most recognizable video game character of all time with 94% consumer recognition.
- The president of NAMCO wanted all the ghosts to be one color: red. The staff convinced him to change his mind.