It is hardly possible to find someone who, if not playing Pac-Man, at least did not hear about this game, since it became one of the first phenomena of the game world, becoming a true symbol of the 20th century. On 22 May 1980, Japanese arcade machine manufacturer Namco changed video games forever. The yellow, pie-shaped Pac-Man character, who travels around a maze trying to eat dots and avoid four mean ghosts, quickly became an icon of the 1980s. To this day, Pac-Man remains one of the most popular video games in history.
The game was developed by Namco employee Toru Iwatani for eighteen months.
If you ever thought that the Pac-Man character looked like some kind of food, then you and Japanese game developer Toru Iwatani think alike. Iwatani was eating pizza when he came up with the idea for the Pac-Man character. His loveable lead character is effectively a pizza with a slice missing. The enemies are four cute ghosts with names like Blinky, Pinky, Clyde, and Inky, and you collect colorful fruit for bonus scores.
The interest in the game was so great that people had to stand in line to play Pac-Man. Therefore, in the gaming halls, they put on several automatic machines, trying to collect more coins in their boxes for money, which was good for the gaming owners and for Namco. In 1982 an estimated 30 million Americans spent $8 million a week playing Pac-Man, feeding quarters into machines located in arcades or bars.
The maximum points were recorded on July 3, 1999, in Hollywood. The first person who "beat" Pac-Man, having passed all his levels, was the American Billy Mitchell. It took Mitchell about six hours to win the game and he did so with the highest possible score —3,333,360 points. Mitchell completed all 255 levels of Pac-Man. He collected all the points, all the energy, all the fruit, ate all the ghosts.
It's probably a very rare person who has never played Pac-Man. Even for those who may have missed it in the 1980s, Pac-Man has been remade on nearly every video game platform since then. Pac-Man even appeared on the front page of Google (as a playable game) on Pac-Man's 30th anniversary.
Pac-Man’s character has two achievements at once: “The most recognizable video game character” and “The most commercially viable arcade machine in history.” By the way, regarding the first: Pac-Man is one line above the legendary Mario! But personal success is not everything, because the cult character has an army of fans. Thanks to them, in the Guinness Book of Records there is a record as “Pac-Man’s Largest Mass Cosplay”.
It passed almost forty years after the release of Pac-Man, but it is still literally everywhere. We should appreciate its impact on the adoption of gaming by society, on the understanding that achievements in games are as real as in other areas of life. The game continues to be reissued, and its symbol, Pakman, long ago left its boundaries, having set off to travel around the world.