Pac-Man: Ten Things You Didn't Know

After 30 years, ghosts still tremble at the mere mention of his name.

ByJonathan Silverstein
March 08, 2011, 11:04 AM

March 8, 2011 — -- He's pursued night and day by supernatural forces, fends them off by growing several times his original size and yet despite a jaundiced complexion and an obvious compulsive eating disorder, 30 years later Pac-Man is still one of the most recognizable and ubiquitous video game characters of all time.

With new versions of the game having recently hit video game arcades and home game consoles, and famed movie producer Avi Arad (responsible for such films as "Spider-Man" and "X-Men") working on a 3D animated television show, it would appear that "Pac-Man Fever" remains a worldwide epidemic.

In honor of the legend, Namco/Bandai has given a list of 10 deep, dark secrets, some of which not even the hardest of die-hard fans may know about the mysterious and reclusive Pac-Man.

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.

Pac-Man Is Most Recognized Video Game Character

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".

"10 Things You Didn't Know About PAC-MAN" Source: Namco/Bandai

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