Pac-Man turns 41: Celebrating one of the gaming industry’s great founders

The yellow guy has come along a long way...

Pac-Man, one of the forefathers that laid the foundation for the success of today’s gaming industry, is now turning 41 years old. Released in the 1980s and starring in more than 120 games and countless movies, Pac-Man has become a pop culture and gaming icon. Gamers and even regular people alike would have probably enjoyed playing Pac-Man titles, especially in their childhood, and what more can we do but celebrate our childhood gaming friend, Pac-Man. In this article, as Pac-Man turns 41, we are going to discuss the big events and things that happened year by year from the release to date.

Pac-Man: The global sensation

What better way there is to celebrate Pac-Man’s 41st birthday than to have a quick rundown on what our hungry, yellow, pellet-eating favorite has achieved so far.

The birth of a phenomenon

Pac-man was first developed and released by Toru Iwatani for Bandai Games in 1980. As most arcade games at the time were “violent” shoot-em-up games, Pac-Man was considered to be a refreshing new addition to the arcade gaming platform. Instead of shooting enemies in the face to progress further into the game, Pac-Man progresses by eating his way up to the next level. The original game has several food references as Pac-Man’s design itself is inspired by a pizza with a missing slice. Food powerups are in different fruit shapes and the power pellet, that was originally designed to be a cookie.

Rise of the Pac-Fever

For the early 1980s, due to the game’s refreshing and simple mechanics, Pac-Man easily became a big hit in arcades and bars. In America alone, an estimate of 30 million Americans spends up to $8 million a week. Which led to many regulations being set by the American government against arcade games. The game also became Japan’s highest-grossing arcade game of 1980, which overthrows another classic of the time, Space Invaders (1978). Pac-Man is also credited to being “the first commercial videogame to involve large numbers of women as players” according to Midway’s Stan Jarocki.

Pac-Man turns 41

Pac-Man becoming a huge hit led to numerous different spin-offs being released only a year after the release of the original Pac-Man game. Different spin-off games that are released including Ms. Pac-Man, which was an unauthorized release by Midway, the same company that was authorized in selling the original game in the US, eventually have authorization from Bandai. These spin-offs also led to Pac-Man becoming a household name and symbol being recognized by most people.

Growth of the Pac-Culture

Pac-Man turns 41

As Pac-Man becomes more and more recognized by every people, more movies, games, songs, and merchandise are being released by different companies. This further immortalized the legend that is our hockey puck-shaped hero. Different movies and even animated series featuring and Pac-Man are released like Pacman and the Ghostly Adventures (2013), and Pixels (2015). Even up to this day there are several merchandise releases from t-shirts to hoodies, even lunchboxes, and tumblers. These recent releases are further proof of Pac-Man’s success still going as strong as it was since the 1980s and will surely continue to be so as long as we love our yellow puck-shaped hero.

Happy Birthday, Pac-Man!

Pac-Man which was released in May 1980, turns 41 years old this month. As thanks to more than four decades of fun memories and experiences of gaming, we gamers would like to wish our yellow friend, Pac-Man, a Happy-Happy Birthday!. Cheers to decades more to come in the success of our gaming icon Pac-Man and hoping to play more Pac-Man releases by Bandai especially in the mobile platform we all know and love today.

What are your thoughts as Pac-Man the global gaming sensation turns 41? How much did you enjoy Pac-Man in your childhood days? Tell us in the comment section below!

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