A little yellow pizza with a slice missing was born May 22, 1980. Pac-Man, hungry for “Pac Dots” or “dots” he aims to navigate the entire map eating them all before being eaten by the four colorful ghosts. Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde. Colored Red, Pink, Cyan, and Orange respectively.
I originally wanted to title this, “10 reasons Pac-Man is the best, and another 10 reasons why you’re wrong.” Based on that knowledge you can assume I am a huge fan. Not to the level of hording old school lunch boxes, but I do have a tattoo of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man representative of my wife and I. I’m also wearing my Pac-Man pajama pants as I am writing this for inspiration, so there’s that as well.
I won’t go into the extensive history of Pac-Man and it’s lore. That can easily be turned into a novel, and I’ll make it easy for you to find all the information of our subject here. However, we will dive into some of the more fascinating facts that you may or may not know about this famous yellow dot. Most of which you can google around and find yourself, but this is a quick and easy top ten for you.
After (coming up on) 42 years of limelight exposure, Pac-Man has had numerous iterations and spotlights. Every year around his birthday he gets lift in the mainstream, and it’s always refreshing to see the younger generations learn about him and his history.
For Pac-Man’s 30th birthday Google provided the world with a playable game. It is reported the Google Doodle lost millions of dollars of labor hours from people playing at work. Play here!
Without too much blabbering, let’s get to the facts!
- Pac-Man’s original title was Puck Man. But for international distribution, it was changed to avoid defacement (changing the P to an F). If you saw the movie “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World” You may have already known this.
- Why Puck-Man? In Japanese, “puck puck” is similar to the Japanese onomatopoeic word “paku paku” or “to gobble something up” as a slight English variation.
- This fun fact comes from Found Item Clothing. “The highest possible score in the original arcade Pac-Man version can be achieved by playing the so-called perfect game. To reach the perfect game, the player needs to bag the maximum score on the first 255 levels by eating every possible dot, fruit, power pellet and enemy ghost, and then get the maximum score once again at the final level, the so-called split screen level at which the game crashes. The maximum number of points sums up to a total of 3,333,360.”
- If you thought the game may be rigged, well it isn’t necessarily in the players favor. As you progress through the game, the ghosts get faster, while Pac-Man slows down.
- In 2009, The Guinness Book of World Records named Pac-Man the most recognizable video game character of all time (94% of Americans polled recognized him).
- The ghosts are programmed with predetermined paths. They can be learned and it is possible to play the entire game avoiding them altogether.
- Pac-Man was the first game to ever include cut-scenes. This helps drive the narrative as well as give the player a small break between levels.
- The focus of the the original game was to influence more females to gaming. The creator, Toru Iwatani wanted gaming to appeal to women and families. “Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter.”
- “Weird Al” Yankovic proposed a parody to The Beatles “Taxman” titled, “Pac-Man” which was denied by George Harrison until 2017 and can be found on his compilation album.
- If you put your finger in your ear and wiggle it around it sounds like Pac-Man.
To this day, I still find Pac-Man (or Ms. Pac-Man) an extremely fun game to play. Most likely conditioned that when I see something related, I have to stop and check it out. I hope this fascination carries on and younger generations know that the start of video games, the grandfathers of modern gaming came from a yellow pizza. Yes, even before that plumber guy and his brother.