November 5, 2022

Feeling Flushed? You Probably Have Pac-Man Fever

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Fun Facts You Probably Didn't Know About Pac Man or Maybe You Did

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades


Pac-Man Forever

Even if you never played the classic arcade game Pac-Man, you've no doubt heard of it. Here are some fun facts about the iconic yellow character that you may not have known.

For example, did you know that Pac-Man was originally intended to be a popcorn character? Or that in 1982, Pac-Man became the first video game to be turned into a cartoon series? I bet you didn't! Read on for more interesting tidbits about this popular gaming icon.

1. The original Japanese name for Pac-Man is Puck Man. The name was changed to Pac-Man for the US release because Puck Man could be easily vandalized to say *uck Man by vandals. Plus, there were hefty fines leveled at companies during that time for breaching the "code of conduct" values. That's why you never heard curse words on TV, in music, or in print magazines back in those days.

2. Popcorn to Pizza - Pac-Man's original design was intended for the character to look like a piece of popcorn moving about in the maze because Iwantani thought the popcorn shape would be easier for players to recognize. That's of course before he had pizza...

3. Pizza Anyone? - The creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, has said in numerous publications that the final inspiration for the Pac-Man character came from a whole pizza with a missing slice. Iwatani claims that he stared at the pizza and thought it would be more relatable to players than a character designed as a popcorn or potato chip. Thus, the legend was born. I bet after reading this you'll never look at a pepperoni pizza the same way again.

4. Pac-Man Sound - The “Wakka Wakka Wakka” sound made by Pac-Man when eating ghosts is actually derived from the sound of a mouth being opened and closed repeatedly which is a common practice in many Asian cultures. Did you know burping and slurping during and after a meal is a sign of appreciation in many Asian cultures? Here in the US, it would get you a smack in the face.

5. Ready, Set, Go! - Did you know that the first level of Pac-Man is based on the Japanese character for “mouth” (口), which also inspired the name Pakkuman.

4. Who's the Best? - In the early 1980s, there was a real-life Pac-Man World Championship held in New York City. The winner, Billy Mitchell, scored over 6 million points which was the highest score ever recorded in one playthrough.

5. TV Success - In 1990, an episode of the popular TV show Digimon featured a character named Agumon who transformed into a giant golden Pac-Man called Graniyan.

6. Time After Time - Pac-Man is one of only a few video game characters to have been featured on the cover of Time magazine (in May 1982) and also inducted into the Video Game Hall of Fame in 2015.

7. Truth Unknown - One of the biggest myths about Pac-Man is that if you eat enough dots, you will be able to see a secret message from the creators. Despite the many attempts to verify this, no one has ever been able to prove this to be true.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades

Gameplay: Simple But Addicting

The rules of Pac-Man are simple. The player controls the titular character with a four-way joystick. As Pac-Man moves around the maze, he must consume all of the dots within it while avoiding contact with four ghosts: Blinky (red), Pinky (pink), Inky (blue), and Clyde (orange). If Pac-Man bumps into a ghost, he will lose a life; if all lives are lost, the game ends.

There are also four power pellets scattered around the maze that allow Pac-Man to eat the ghosts for a short period of time; during this "frightened" state, the ghosts turn blue and run away from Pac-Man. If Pac-Man consumes all of the dots in the maze, he will advance to the next stage.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades


Characters: More than Meets the Eye

The original Japanese name for the game was simply Puck Man, named after the Japanese term for “munching” (codenamed as Pakku-Man). The name was later changed to Pac-Man for the international release after it was discovered that Puck Man could easily be vandalized to read *uck Man.

There are only four possible mazes in the game, and only three different monsters AI types. The pellets that Pac-Man eats are actually called “power pellets” – eating one turns the tables and allows Pac-Man to eat the ghosts.

The Japanese character for “mouth” is represented by the character “Kuchi”, which is where Pac-Man gets his name. The name “Pac-Man” is actually a play on words – in Japan, Kuchi can also mean “addition” or “plus”, making Pac-Man a pun for “addition man” or “plus man”.

Picture of arcades relating to Pac-Man and Pac-Man Arcades

Reception: Awards and Recognition

When it was first released in Japan, Pac-Man was not a big hit. In fact, it was quite the opposite. The game was so unpopular that its creator, Toru Iwatani, considered quitting the video game industry altogether. Thankfully, he didn't give up and Pac-Man went on to become one of the most popular video games of all time.

It's estimated that the average person spends about six days of their life playing Pac-Man. That's a lot of time spent chomping on the dots! Pac-Man is such an icon that he has even been featured in a few movies, including Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Pixels. In 2010, Google turned the Google doodle into a playable game of Pac-Man to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the game's release.

Lasting Legacy

In many ways, Pac-Man is the perfect video game. It's easy to learn but difficult to master. It's appropriate for all ages but still challenging for adults, and most importantly, it's an incredibly fun game that can be enjoyed over and over again.

We hope you enjoyed reading our list of fun facts about Pac-Man. If you have any additional information or corrections, please let us know in the comments below. And, as always, if you found this article enjoyable, be sure to share it with your friends and followers. Thanks for reading!

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