Where were you today in 1980? Myself, I was probably fumbling around the backyard and trying to learn to tie my own shoes. I was four years old. I would not find out about Pac-Man for a few more years when I was exposed to it on the Atari 2600. It would be several years after this that I find an arcade that had a Pac-Man machine in it (I grew up in backwoods Arkansas around this time). Namco knew they had a hit on their hands with this game, I just don’t think they knew how big of a hit they had. I guess it is possible that there are retro gaming fans out there that have not played Pac-Man yet.
When Namco released Pac-Man it was a major departure over the other games available in arcades at the time. Space Invaders and Asteroids were kings of the arcade in mid-1980 and there were no signs they were willing to relent that spot. Pac-Man not only had to worry about the ghosts in the game but the competition that was entrenched with gamers. It was going to be a challenge to get potential players to part with their money for a go at this new arcade machine. Part with their money they did. Willingly.
Pac-Man and the related characters has appeared in nearly as many games as Mario and his friends. That is an accomplishment as not many company mascots have that kind of staying power with fans. It all started with the maze game that required you to eat all of the white dots on the screen while avoiding the multi colored enemies. There was a period of time, after ingesting the larger white dots you can turn the tables on those mean ghosts.
Pac-Man has appeared in Kart games on Android and iPhone, puzzle and action games on the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis and more over the years. Bandai Namco has kept the characters alive and well with updates to the original formula such as Pac-Man 256 and even simple ports of the original arcade game.
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