Today marks the 40th anniversary of the first Pac-Man arcade game.
The first-ever Pac-Man machine was installed in a Tokyo movie theater on May 22, 1980.
The game was originally called Puck-Man.
Puck-Man was changed to Pac-Man when Bally/Midway picked the arcade up for an American audience.
Why the change from Puck-Man to Pac-Man? To prevent vandals from changing Puck-Man to F*#k-Man!
Ten years ago, to celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary, Google made its first playable doodle.
A time management company estimates that around 4.8 million working hours were spent playing the doodle game.
You can still play it here.
Pac-Man designer Toru Iwatani had zero training as a programmer or designer. When he started at Namco in 1977, he expected to work on pinball machines.
Iwatani getting the idea for Pac-Man while eating pizza is only half true. The story goes, Iwatani became inspired by the shape he saw when looking down at his pizza and seeing a slice missing.
Here’s the other half of the story, in Iwatani’s words,
“In Japanese, the character for mouth [kuchi] is a square shape,” Iwatani explained. “It’s not circular like the pizza, but I decided to round it out.”
Pac-Man had some of the first cutscenes in a videogame. One of them saw an enormous Pac-Man chasing a terrified ghost across the screen. Iwatani called these “coffee breaks.”
The development of the game took around 18 months. For that time period that was an exceptionally long time. The reason? Programming the ghost and their unique movements.
Comic book characters Casper The Friendly Ghost and Obake no Q-Taro influenced the ghosts in Pac-Man.
Pac-Man has been played an estimated 10 billion times.
Pac-Man is in the Guinness World Record books as “the most successful coin game.”
The power-up ball that allows Pac-Man to eat the ghosts is inspired by Popeye becoming strong from eating spinach.
Eating each fruit/object gets you a different amount of points.
Cherry – 100 pts.
Strawberry – 200 pts.
Orange – 500 pts.
Apple – 700 pts.
Melon – 1000 pts.
Galaxian Flagship – 2000 pts.
Bell – 3000 pts.
Key – 5000 pts.
Pac-Man has no ending, but a computer programming integer overflow makes the 256th level impossible to clear.
During the 255 levels, if you eat every dot, power pellet, fruit and enemy, you will achieve 3,333,360 points – the highest possible score.