You remember it from the corner arcades of your childhood. You still played it as it transitioned to game consoles. You probably have it downloaded on your phone right now. It’s Pac-Man, quite possibly the world’s most famous video game and a cultural icon to this day.
Even as your game taste has developed into bigger and better graphics and plots, Pac-Man retains its place as one of the best games in your collection—whatever the format. Whether it’s nostalgia or the timeless simplicity of a near-perfect game, that little yellow ball has claimed a permanent place in your gamer heart.
But no matter how many times you’ve played the game, you might not know everything about the little yellow man.
1. Pac-Man Was the First Real “Character” in a Video Game
Video games didn’t really have “characters” before Pac-Man. Space Invaders, Galaga, Asteroids—they all required an anonymous vehicle shooting at enemies. Pac-Man gave the people someone to love, someone to cheer for. His popularity extended into other arenas, such as board games and TV, and he developed a whole Pac family who got merchandise of their own.
2. Perfect Scores Are Near-Impossible
Millions upon millions of people have played Pac-Man across many different formats, but only seven people have ever achieved a perfect Pac-Man score. So if you want that kind of win, you might need to dedicate your life to the quest.
3. Pac-Man Beat Space Invaders for Best-Selling Game
Pac-Man is the most popular coin-operated game of all time. When arcade games first became popular in the 1970s, Space Invaders was all the rage. But Pac-Man quickly took over the shooter game and his rise hasn’t stopped since.
4. Pac-Man’s Name Was Originally Onomatopoeic
If you’ve ever seen “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World,” you may already know the American version of Pac-Man was originally called Puck Man (They changed it for fear of defacement). However, the original Japanese version was called Pakkuman. The name came from a Japanese onomatopoeia for the noise made when gobbling something up. If the game were made in America today, Pac-Man may have ended up Nom-Man.
5. Ms. Pac-Man Is a Feminist Icon . . . Sometimes
Ms. Pacman is a disputed figure. Cultural opinions disagree on whether she is a “Ms. Male” archetype in which the female version of a character only exists because of a male character. However, some also give Ms. Pac-Man credit for being the first female character in a video game ever. Some others even say she’s a symbol of feminism because she “eats whatever she wants.”
6. Pac-Man Has Art Exhibits
Pac-Man has his own exhibit at the New York Museum of Modern Art. The museum says Pac-Man is the most iconic video game in history, and thus has dedicated an arcade-style exhibit to the game. Pac-Man has also won a litany of gaming awards in other arenas.
7. The Game Was Designed for Women
Believe it or not, Japanese designers originally built Pac-Man with women in mind. All existing arcade games were violent and enemy-based. They required shooting and warfare. Pac-Man designers wanted to appeal to a female audience, and they thought, what better way to do that than through food?
8. Pac-Man Launched a New Style of Gaming
Speaking of the shoot-em-up games popular at the time of Pac-Man’s release, Pac-Man brought with him an entirely new style of gaming: he introduced stealth mode. Rather than face his enemies head-on, Pac-Man prefers to run away from them. This innovation inspired whole new gaming techniques.
The world will continue to love Pac-Man for generations yet to come—along with other arcade-style games. If you want to reawaken your childhood arcade game obsession, contact DreamAuthentics about building a custom cabinet of your own.