Pac-Man (arcade)  1980


First game with cutscenes, first glitch


Arcade system: Namco Pac Man


Gameplay video

Earliest Review  - By ALJEAN HARMETZ   Published: July 6, 1981 (New York times)

Is hard to imagine most of the electronic games existing before George Lucas's ''Star Wars'' in 1977. The exception is Midway's Pac-Man, a relatively gentle game with a sense of humor in which a round, anthropomorphic ball with an enormous appetite gobbles up shining gold beads and an occasional piece of fruit while four fuzzy monsters try to gobble him up. Pac-Man is, so far, the most successful game of this year; more than 60,000 have come off the assembly line during the last eight months. It has not been lost on the industry that Pac-Man is the only game played equally by males and females. The industry has described its classic customer as ''a 13- to 30-year-old male.''

Midway, which licensed Pac-Man from a Japanese concern, is as surprised as everyone else by the game's appeal to women. ''We only became aware of it when women kept calling us and saying it was 'adorable,' '' Larry Berke, Midway's director of sales, said.

''Even though the games require hand-eye coordination, not strength,'' Mr. Rubin of Gottlieb said, ''my 10-year-old daughter plays them halfheartedly when there's nothing else to do. My 9-yearold son is a master. Once we learn how to appeal to women, we can double our business.'' 


By Katya Goncharoff      November 15, 1981 (New York times)

For a year now, the best seller in the $5-billion-a-year video-game market has been Pac-man, a hide-and-seek game that has to do with eating fruit, gobbling energy dots, and eluding amorphous monster globs. It is made by the Midway division of the Bally Corporation.

''At first blush, Pac-man seems like a kid's game, but anyone can be entranced by it,'' says Ray E. Tilley, managing editor of Playmeter, a trade magazine that reports on coin-operated amusements.

Since Pac-man was introduced in October 1980, the video game playing public has been entranced in excess of $1 billion, according to industry analysts. That adds up to more than four billion quarters consumed by Pac-man alone. The price of a Pac-man ranges from $2,500 to $3,000, depending on the model.

''Pac-man is the most popular video game ever,'' says Harold Vogel, games analyst at Merrill Lynch. ''It's had an unusual life span already. With 100,000 units out there, that's an all-time record.''

It is a record that many predict will grow. The life span for a video game is far shorter than its barroom precursers, pinball machines. It's generally a mere six months. On average, a video game swallows $186 in quarters a week. The Pac-man, however, has been averaging $230 or $240.

''Traditionally, what happens to a successful video game is that it earns a phenomenal amount of money in the early weeks and then 10 percent less money as interest wanes,'' says Lee S. Isgur, leisure time analyst at Paine Webber Mitchell Hutchins. ''Pac-man doesn't hit the peaks that others do; In initial weeks, it earns $200 to $400 a week and then stays steady as a rock.''

On some college campuses and at resorts, games like Pac-man can earn up to $500 a week. For that reason, pinball and video-game arcades usually have five or six or more Pac-mans, and video games can now be found at suburban family entertainment centers, in college dormitories, in movie theater lobbies, at supermarkets and airports - even at a taco stand on 72d Street on the West Side of Manhattan.

Wherever a Pac-man game appears, it is often a standout not only because it makes money but because, unlike most successful video games, it has nothing to do with war, space or shooting. According to a Paine Webber report entitled ''Video Games: A New Growth Industry,'' these are three activities that appeal especially to men. The report points out that the Pac-man game appeals to nearly as many women as men and thus has a broader player base.

The game itself is difficult to describe. As one player, a snack bar manager who averages seven to eight hours of video game play a week, explains it, ''It is so simple, but it has no relation to reality. It's different from space games, tank games and war games. The motivation is eating. This creature moves and eats dots.''

 The game has even generated its own vernacular. Pattern players have devined that the four monster globs move in a set way and make their moves accordingly. Free-style players might know how the monsters move, but they don't care. Fruit greed refers to the fruit images that appear on the screen for 15 seconds. If the yellow eater or Pac-man consumes the fruit, the player gets bonus points. 

Magazine review- Electronic Games (1983)
Magazine commercial- Electronic Games (1982)
Pac-Man arcade
Magazine commercial -Vidiot (1982)
Magazine commmercial - Vidiot (1982)

1) In December 1982, an 8-year-old boy, Jeffrey R. Yee, supposedly received a letter from U.S. President Ronald Reagan congratulating him on a worldwide record of 6,131,940 points in Pac-Man, a score only possible if he had passed the unbeatable Split-Screen Level.

2) Game based on the concept of eating, and the original Japanese title was Pakkuman (inspired by the Japanese onomatopoeic slang phrase paku-paku taberu where paku-paku describes (the sound of) the mouth movement when widely opened and then closed in succession).Paku is also an onomatopoeia modelled after the smacking sound of lips. This could explain the sound Pac-Man emits when moving around.
3) Developer Iwatani has said that eating to gain power, was a concept he borrowed from Popeye. He named a game Puck Man, as a reference to the main character's hockey puck shape;
4) Midway changed the game's name from Puck Man to Pac-Man in an effort to avoid vandalism from people changing the letter 'P' into an 'F' to form the word fuck.
5) Pac-Man has influenced many other games, like early first-person shooter MIDI Maze (which had similar maze-based gameplay and character designs).
6) In the multi-racial country of Malaysia, 'Pac-Man' is a slang term coined to describe men who only date ladies of other races.

7) The name 'Pac-Man' has been given to a nebula, cataloged as NGC 281. The Pac-Man Nebula is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia. It includes or is near the open cluster IC 1590, the double star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. The shape of the nebula resembles the famous video game icon, Pac-Man. It is visible in amateur telescopes from dark sky locations.
8) During the later levels, the special item in the middle of the level (cherry, strawberry, apple, etc.) is a Galaxian. The Galaxian comes from an earlier Namco game of the same name.

9) First glitch in videogames -  In the 256th level of Pac-Man, a bug results in a kill screen. The maximum number of fruit available is seven and when that number rolls over, it causes the entire right side of the screen  to become a jumbled mess of symbols while the left side remains normal

(watch video).

10) A cutscene is a sequence in a video game that is not interactive, breaking up the gameplay. Such scenes could be used to show conversations between characters, bring exposition to the player, set the mood, reward the player, introduce new gameplay elements, show the effects of a player's actions, create emotional connections, improve pacing or foreshadow future events.Cutscenes often feature "on the fly" rendering, using the gameplay graphics to create scripted events. Cutscenes can also be pre-rendered computer graphics streamed from a video file. Pre-made videos used in video games (either during cutscenes or during the gameplay itself) are referred to as "full motion videos" or "FMVs".(Wild Gunman). Cutscenes can also appear in other forms, such as a series of images or as plain text and audio.

11) Second highest grossing videogame ever -$12.81 billion (after Space Invaders).

12) It was the first ever game that has its music released on audio album. Buckner & Garcia ‎released "Pac-Man Fever" in 1982, that included short music tunes that Pac-man game has, plus other short tunes from various arcade games, mixed with original music.

13) Emulated in: MAME

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