Whaddya mean there’s no ‘fire’ button? I only get a silly little joystick for this game?
Indeed, pal… for this is the 80s, and you have dropped your quarter into the most popular arcade game this (or any) decade has seen.
Pac-Man burst onto the scene in 1980, thanks to our friends in Japan (specifically, Tōru Iwatani, who is credited with its development). Within a year it had burst onto American shores, quickly putting the ol’ stand-bys Space Invaders and Asteroids in the rear-view mirror.
The concept was extremely simple. Control your guy (a yellow circle with a pie slice cut out) through a maze, avoiding four ghosts. (But can you name them? Ah, look at you being all smart. Yep, they were, indeed, Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde).
The whole time, you’re munching up little white dots (wakka-wakka-wakka) until you reach the bigger white dots, which turned the ghosts blue and edible. And remember, be on the lookout for the fruit, so you can snatch up some bonus points!
Originally called Pakkuman, the game became ‘Puck-Man’ when it headed across the Pacific, but Bally/Midway realized that ‘Puck’ was very close to a not-so-nice word, and thus ‘Pac’-Man was born, to avoid… er, confusion.
It went on to become the best-selling arcade game of all time, and it inspired a Saturday morning cartoon, toys, fashion, and even the insanely catchy song “Pac-Man Fever” by Buckner & Garcia. Yeah, remember that one?
Indeed, Pac-Man drove us all crazy, and we all were going out of our mind.
So just how big a deal was Pac-Man? it’s one of only three games, with Pong and Dragon’s Lair (we love it!), that are part of the permanent collection of the Smithsonian Institution.
Not too shabby, my little yellow friend.
If only you had a female companion with a little pink bow…
We ♥ Pac-Man.