Celebrating 40 Years of Pac-Man, Here is What You Probably Didn’t Know

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(Newswire.net— May 24, 2020) —  As is usually the case when it comes to the pop culture icons of the eighties, when Pac-Man made his debut in Tokyo exactly 40 years ago, it never occurred to anyone that it would grow into one of the greatest games of all time, CNN reports.

It all started back in 1979 when 27-year-old Namco employee Toru Iwatani went out to get some pizza. That inspired him to come to the idea to create hungry entities that chase pizza through a maze.

Pac-Man itself was created as Iwatani noticed that with two missing slices his pizza resembled an open mouth. The result was Pakkuman (later Pac-Man) – a name that was derivative of the Japanese phrase “paku-paku taberu” which depicts the onomatopoeic slang term that is used to describe the sound that a mouth makes when it’s opened wide and then closed again in close succession.

But it’s much more than a world-famous video game. The creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, created one of the most recognizable symbols of today.

“When I started drafting up this project in the late 1970s, the arcades were filled with violent games all about killing aliens,” said Iwatani, who was working for the Japanese games firm Namco at the time. “They were gloomy places where only boys went to hang out. What I wanted to do was make arcades into livelier places that women and couples might enjoy visiting, so I thought it best to design a game with women in mind.”

With a recognition rate of 90 percent, Pac-Man is one of the world’s most famous brands that knows no generational boundaries. Pac-Man stands freely side by side with Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and similar representatives of globalization.
And all a 25-year-old Japanese video game designer wanted to do in 1980 was to attempt to do something completely different.

As the hungry yellow little man celebrates his 40th birthday on May 22, here are a few interesting facts about Pac-Man that you probably didn’t know:
1. The ghosts in the game actually have names – Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde and each of them has a pattern of behavior. For example, Blinky is constantly chasing Pac-Man.
2. The idea for the energy pill that Pac-Man swallows came from Popeye and his love of spinach.
3. A certain Billy Mitchell achieved the highest result on the Pac-Man game in 1999 – 3,333,360 points, eating every point, energy pill and spirit and playing all bonus levels, without losing a single life. Mitchell was later accused of cheating. David Reyes set the same record again in 2012.
4. It is impossible to score more than 3,333,360 points due to a game error that blurs the screen at level 256.
5. In 2004, New York University students organized a real-world Pac-Man game in which a player, dressed as a Pac-Man, had to run through the city and avoid students disguised as ghosts. Players used GPS devices to track the position of one another.
6. Pac-Man has been part of the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Modern Art in New York since 2012.