It was 40 years ago when Pac-Man first entered the Japanese arcades and captured our hearts with its simple, yet challenging, gameplay. Even after all this time, Pac-Man still rules as a cultural icon. Let's see why this game is such a much loved and enduring phenomenon.
In the original arcade version from Pac-Man from 1
At the time of its release, Pac-Man was also notable for being a relatively nonviolent game. It is free from shooting, killing and explosions that were common in other arcade games at the time. Indeed, the game's creator, Toru Iwatani, avoided specific violence in Pac-Man to make the game more attractive to women. This crossover appeal contributed greatly to the game's unusual mainstream success at the time.
It is likely that Pac-Man has proved eternally popular because it is so easy for anyone to pick up and learn. There is only one interface: a four-way joystick and no buttons required. The gameplay concept is clear, yet challenging enough to keep you coming back for more.
When Pac-Man came home in the early 1980s, the game was as wildly popular on consoles and home computers as it had been in arcades. In the past 40 years, the original Pac-Man arcade game has appeared on at least 37 computer and video game platforms. You can play an officially licensed version of the game on everything from an Xbox 360 to a click-wheel iPod. If you count games and clones without a license, Pac-Man is basically everything.
The best-received home ports of the time were the Atari 800 and 5200 versions of the game. However, later releases, such as the Namco Museum series in the mid-'90s, had the ability to mimic the original arcade game code for a more authentic experience.
lesser gates go, who can forget the story of Pac-Man & # 39; s controversial Atari 2600 version? Atari famously rushed out of the harbor, despite the poor quality. The company produced more copies of the game than the existing Atari 2600 consoles, then had to bury unsold inventory in the New Mexico desert. It still sold 7 million copies, but it left a bad taste with many Atari customers and contributed to the video game crash in North America in 1983.
Not long after its release in 1980 players discovered Pac-Man is a deterministic game. This means that it plays exactly the same if you give it exactly the same inputs. A player who is fast enough and remembers a set of five patterns can play Pac-Man indefinitely for 15 minutes (or until he or she hits the kill screen).
The makers of Mrs. Pac-Man (1981) corrected these shortcomings in their sequel with more mazes and improved ghost AI to add. Mrs. Pac-Man is a continued success in arcades. It even surpassed Pac-Man in the sale of standalone machines in the US.
Other early follow-ups, such as the matte Pac-Man Plus and the underrated Super Pac-Man failed to make a big impact on the market. They are still relatively niche games.
Pac-Man has become more than just a game – it's a franchise. Mobygames, a database of online video games, currently contains 92 licensed Pac-Man spin-offs. A few striking points are madam. Pac-Man Maze Madness Pac-Man World Pac-Man Package and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX .
After introducing such an iconic set of characters, it is not surprising Pac-Man inspired a huge wave of licensed merchandise. In the 1980s, elements of the game found their way into hundreds of products, including trash cans, bedspreads, roller skates, drum sets, lunch boxes, puzzles, board games, clothing, cereals and much more.
And don't forget Pac-Man chewable multi-vitamin plus iron for kids that allowed kids to chew their hero of strength pills in search of good health.
Pac-Man merchandise is still common. You can order Pac-Man socks, water bottles, fleece blankets or even a functional 1/4 size replica of the original arcade cabinet. And it never ends.
Pac-Man was perhaps the first video game in America to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon. It was regularly discussed by the press and sometimes even demonized .
The game also inspired an American hit single called "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia. It reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in March 1982.
Pac-Man is still a culturally strong person. In 2015, the character played a prominent role as a traffic cracker monster in the movie Pixels . Although the film received largely negative reviews, it was still a reminder of the evergreen, iconic nature Pac-Man .
Recently, to celebrate the game's 40th anniversary is author Tim Lapetino . tweets about Pac-Man daily . His goal is to do something Pac-Man related every day this year. It's nice to follow the interesting facts he shares.
How to play the original Pac-Man Today
Unlike many 40-year-old video games, Pac-Man is still available on modern hardware. You can of course play it on its own. But it is also in collections on most modern gaming platforms, including Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, iPad and Android.
Pac-Man may also still be lurking at your local arcade. Namco & # 39; s World & # 39; s Largest Pac-Man machine lets you play the iconic original on a nearly nine meter high screen.
You can even play an interpretation of Pac-Man as Google Doodle in your web browser. It is another reminder that Pac-Man is everywhere and is likely to continue for decades to come. Happy birthday, Pac-Man !