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40 years later, "Pac-Man" is still conquering our hearts



  Pac-Man eats a pellet.
Atari

It was 40 years ago when Pac-Man devoured his way into Japanese arcades and our hearts with his simple but challenging, conquered way of playing. Even after all this time, Pac-Man still ruled as a cultural icon. Let us examine what makes this game such a popular and enduring phenomenon.

The Game

In the original arcade version of Pac-Man from 1

980, you play your way through a labyrinth as a yellow, disk-shaped hero and munch. Your goal is to eat all the dots while avoiding four ghosts of different colors that you are chasing. However, if you collect one of the four power pellets on the stage, the spit turns. Pac-Man temporarily gains the ability to eat the ghosts and they run away from you.

  The
Namco

At the time of its release, Pac-Man was also remarkable to be a relatively non-violent game. It is free of shots, kills, and explosions that were common in other arcade games at the time. Indeed, the game's creator, Toru Iwatani, specifically avoided violence in Pac-Man to make the game more attractive to women. This crossover appeal contributed significantly to the game's unusual mainstream success.

It is likely that Pac-Man has proven extremely popular because it is so easy for anyone to learn. There is only one interface: a four-way joystick and no buttons required. The gameplay concept is obvious, but challenging enough to get you to keep coming back.

The Ports

When Pac-Man came home in the early 1980s, the game was as popular as consoles and home computers as it was in arcades. Over the past 40 years, the original arcade game Pac-Man has been released on at least 37 computer and video game platforms. You can play an officially licensed version of the game from an Xbox 360 to an iPod with a click wheel. If you count unlicensed games and clones, Pac-Man is basically everything.

The best accepted home ports at the time were the Atari 800 and 5200 versions of the game. However, later releases, such as the Namco Museum series in the mid-1990s, had the power to emulate the original arcade game code for a more authentic experience.

As far as fewer ports go, who can forget the story of Pac-Mans controversial Atari 2600 version? Atari stormed the port out of the door despite its poor quality. The company made more copies of the game than Atari 2600 consoles, and then had to bury unsold inventory in the New Mexico desert. It still sold 7 million copies, but left many Atari customers with bad taste and contributed to the crash of the North American video game in 1983.

The sequels

Not long after its release in 1980, players discovered Pac-Man is a deterministic game. This means that if you give it exactly the same input, it will be rendered exactly the same. A player who is fast enough and memorizes a set of five patterns can play Pac-Man indefinitely in a quarter (or until he or she reaches the kill screen).

  Ms. Pac-Man's arcade marquee
Bally-Midway

The creators of Ms. Pac-Man (1981) continued to correct these shortcomings by adding more labyrinths and improved ghost AI. woman. Pac-Man was a permanent success in arcades. It even sold Pac-Man in the sale of individual US machines.

Other early follow-up measures, such as the lackluster Pac-Man Plus and the underestimated Super Pac-Man had no major impact on the market. They are still relatively niche games.

Bally-Midway

Pac-Man is more than just a game – it's a franchise. The online video game database Mobygames currently lists 92 licensed Pac-Man spin-offs. Some outstanding features are women. Pac-Man Maze Madness Pac-Man World Pac-Man Arrangement and Pac-Man Championship Edition DX .

The Merch

  Milton Bradley Pac-Man board game box cover
Milton Bradley

After the introduction of such an iconic character set, it is not surprising that Pac-Man was a big one Wave of licensed goods inspired. In the 1980s, elements of the game came across hundreds of products, including trash cans, bedspreads, roller skates, drum sets, lunch boxes, puzzles, board games, clothing, cereals, and more.

And don’t forget Pac-Man Children’s Chewable Multi-Vitamin Plus Iron that children can use to imitate their hero who eats power pellets in pursuit of health.

  An advertisement for Pac-Man Children's Chewable Multi-Vitamin Plus Iron.
Rexall

Pac-Man goods are still widely used today. You can order Pac-Man socks, water bottles, fleece blankets or even a 1/4 functional replica of the original arcade cabinet. And there is no end in sight.

The Phenomenon

Pac-Man was perhaps the first video game in America to become a mainstream cultural phenomenon. It was frequently reported by the press and even sometimes demonized .

The game also inspired an American hit single called "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia. In March 1982, it reached number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Pac-Man is still a cultural star. In 2015 the character played a prominent role as a traffic-eating monster in the film pixel . 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, the author was Tim Lapetino tweeting about Pac-Man daily . His goal is to have something to do with Pac-Man every day this year. It's fun to follow the interesting tidbits 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 also play it as a standalone game. It's also included in collections on most modern gaming platforms, including Windows, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Pac-Man may also be lurking in your local arcade. On Namco's world's largest Pac-Man machine, you can play the iconic original on a screen that is almost three meters high.

You can even play an interpretation of Pac-Man . as a Google Doodle in your web browser. It is just another reminder that Pac-Man is everywhere and will likely stay that way for decades to come. Happy Birthday, Pac-Man !


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