Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Pac-Man

26 January 2021  |  AG

Pac-Man is arguably among the best known and best loved arcade games in the history of the industry. Despite the game approaching its 41st birthday, the greedy little yellow guy is still almost universally recognised. He’s been in books, films, spin-off games. In the ‘80s, you could even get a Pac-Man board game. Even still, there may be a few things you still don’t know about the game.

So, if you’ve got five minutes, pull up a pew and find out…

Everything You Never Wanted to Know About Pac-Man

1. Pac-Man was originally called ‘Puck-man’. The name changed because marketers were concerned about the potential for vandalism. You can probably fill in the blanks yourself.

2. The name was inspired by the Japanese phrase, “paku-paku taberu.” Which apparently means eating with gusto.

3. And eating influenced Pac-Man’s design too. The Japanese symbol for mouth looks kind of like a square on legs. Pac-Man’s creator purportedly took that symbol and rounded it out.

4. Only three people were involved in the original creation of Pac-Man. Toru Iwatani came up with the iconic design and plan. Shigeichi Ishimura Toshio Kai composed the music. Shigeo Funaki programmed. Six others came in later.

5. Despite the fact that there are more than 30 Pac-Man spin-offs. Toru Iwatani was only involved in the creation of one.

6. Each of the Pac-Man ghosts has its own personality. Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde were created with different behavioural patterns to keep the game interesting. So, while Pinky likes to ambush, Blinky likes to chase. Clyde also likes to chase, but quickly loses interest. And Inky is unpredictable.

7. In the original Japanese game, the ghosts were given names to reflect their personality. Oikake (Chaser), Machibuse (Ambusher), Kimagure (Fickle), and Otoboke (Feigning Ignorance).

8. And while we’re talking about the ghosts, the fact that they’re kind of cute is no coincidence. Namco (the publisher) was looking for a game that would appeal outside of the traditional male demographic. It may seem like a fairly sexist approach, but we have to admit that it worked.  

9. If you managed to avoid those ghosts, you will never successfully pass beyond level 255 of Pac-Man. 254 is the last complete round. Beyond that lies only glitches.

10. A perfect score on the original Pac-Man arcade game is 3,333,360 points. Pro gamer, Billy Mitchell, achieved this in 1999.

11. Such was the enthusiasm for the game, two Pac-Man user guides featured in the New York Times Bestsellers list in 1982.

12. Those small dots that Pac-Man is so intent on eating? They were originally meant to be cookies. Gobble, gobble, gobble.

13. Oh, and the big dots? Power cookies. Obviously.

14. In 2005 Pac-Man received the Guinness World Records award for being the "Most Successful Coin-Operated Game".

15. Pac-Man was the first game to feature intermissions between levels.

16. The file size of the original Pac-Man was just 24 kilobytes. In comparison, iPhone photo files range from 1.5 - 4MB.

17. You can run AND you can hide. There is a spot in the original Pac-Man where you can hide indefinitely and the ghosts will never find you… We’re not going to tell you where.

18. In the first 18 months following release, more than 350,000 Pac-Man arcade machines were sold.

19. In Stockholm metro trains have a Pac-Man motif hidden in their ventilation system. Why? Who cares! We only know that more train companies should do this.

20. If you want to make a pilgrimage, you can find an original Pac-Man machine in Washington D.C.’s Smithsonian Institution.

So, there you go. Everything you never wanted to know about Pac-Man. Did we miss something? Let us know [is there a social media link we can add in here?]

All fired up for a spot of ghost busting? Order your bespoke Pac-Man arcade cabinet today.