Happy Birthday Pac-Man

On May 22, 1980, one of the most famous characters in the history of gaming was born. Pac-Man was developed by the Japanese company Namco and amazed many people around the globe.

Even Ronald Reagan – former US president – demonstrated his interest in the little yellow fellow when he congratulated an eight-year-old boy for his game-achievements in 1982. Originally, the game was developed to attract girls, because the arcade centers were overcrowded with male players, only. And indeed, Pac-Man turned out to be a game for the whole family, at the latest when Ms Pac-Man was integrated in the game-play in 1981.

When Pac-Man was released, the most popular arcade video games were space shooters, in particular, Space Invaders and Asteroids. The most visible minority were sports games that were mostly derivatives of Pong. The game was developed primarily by a young employee named Toru Iwatani over the course of a year, beginning in April 1979, employing a nine-man team. It was based on the concept of eating, and the original Japanese title is Pakkuman (パックマン?), inspired by the Japanese onomatopoeic phrase paku-paku taberu (パクパク食べる?), where paku-paku describes (the sound of) the mouth movement when widely opened and then closed in succession.

The game is regarded as one of the most influential video games of all time, for a number of reasons: its titular character was the first original gaming mascot, the game established the maze chase game genre, it demonstrated the potential of characters in video games, it opened gaming to female audiences, and it was gaming’s first licensing success. In addition, it was the first video game to feature power-ups, and the individual ghosts had deterministic artificial intelligence which react to player actions

Pac-Man succeeded by creating a new genre. As a result of the Pac-Man fever around the globe, many real-life creations were made. At yovisto academic search engine, you can watch Pac-Man played by real human-beings sitting in a cinema. It’s the 5th video performance of the GAME OVER Project by the French-Swiss artist Guillaume Reymond. This stop-motion video was shot and played for the new ProHelvetia’s programme GameCulture in Baden, Switzerland. This giant game was played by 111 human pixels that have moved from seat to seat during more than 4 hours.

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