When Toru Iwatani hungrily stared into his pizza box, containing 2 slices short of a full pie, the idea for one of the greatest arcade games was born. At 27 years, the Japanese student came up with the idea for Pac-Man – a game that became legend, and spawned numerous sequels and clones. At the time, electronic gaming with a business with few success stories. Games like Asteroids, Space Invaders, Pong, and Break-out were all great games, but none of them were popular with mainstream society. A year after the idea was conceived, the game was finally finished and released. It took the world by storm and soon became a household name. (Source)
1. There were only three core people involved in the development of the original Pac-Man. The planning and designs were done by Toru Iwatani, and there was one additional person who worked on programming development, and one focused on music.
2. Within 15 months of its U.S. release, Namco/Bandai sold more than 100,000 arcade units and fans spent more than $1 billion in quarters to spark the pop-culture phenomenon.
3. First released as “Puck-Man,” the name was later changed to Pac-Man. The original Japanese name was Puckman, which evolved from the Japanese word paku, meaning “chomp.” Given the closeness to a certain explicit four-letter English word, a lot of arcade operators at the time were worried that vandals would alter the letter P. Eventually, “Pac” was suggested as an alternate name. Hence the name “Pac-Man” came to be.
4. Pac-Man’s favorite snack pellets — the tiny dots he munches as he moves around the video game board — were originally cookies. The “power cookies” are now the larger pellets he uses to eat the ghosts.
5. Each of the four ghosts in the game has both Japanese and English names. In Japan they started as Fickle, Chaser, Ambusher and Stupid. Their English names are Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde.
6. Due to the game’s wild success, Pac-Man became an economic term. When a company that is about to be acquired instead takes over the hostile company that was attempting to acquire it, it’s called the “Pac-Man” defense. The name was coined after the role reversal that occurs when Pac-Man eats power cookies.
7. Pac-Man was created as a “cute” game designed to have both good and bad characters that were colorful and endearing. This was one of the first games to appeal to an audience beyond the traditional male audience.
8. Initially, the ghosts were referred to as monsters on the original arcade cabinets. It was not until later that they were known as ghosts. Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde were each created with their own distinct personalities so that the game would never get boring yet would have behaviors that players could learn. For instance, Blinky has a chaser personality while Pinky likes to ambush Pac-Man.
9. The 2010 Edition of the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition named Pac-Man the Most Recognized Video Game Character at 94 percent of Americans recognizing the distinctive yellow ghost gobbler.
10. In 2005 Pac-Man received the Guinness World Records award for being the “Most Successful Coin-Operated Game”.
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