One of the most popular gaming icons in the 21st century and not showing any signs of stopping, Pac-Man is seen featured on a variety of objects from belts and mugs to shirts and even shoes! This month, we want to celebrate Pac-Man’s birthday as it was released in May of 1980 in Japan. But where did the idea for a yellow round man come from? And who created this classic arcade game?
It all began with the beloved food of pizza. Back in 1979, 27-year-old Toru Iwatani was innocently eating a pizza when he noticed that when the pie was missing a slice or two it resembled a mouth. What resulted was Pakkuman, a name derived from the Japanese phrase “paku-paku taberu” which is a term used to describe the sound of chewing.
Up until this point, the most popular arcade games revolved around space and aliens such as Asteroids and Space Invaders, but Iwatani wanted to create something that would appeal to a larger demographic, rather than just teenage boys. That’s what led him to incorporate the maze element of the game, as well as the ghost enemies. You know who we mean – Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.
The arcade game become an overnight hit when it was released in the United States in October of 1980, quickly surpassing Space Asteroids in revenue. The difficulty was quickly increased after its release in order to appeal to a Western audience along with the pace of the game. By the 1990s, the arcade game had generated about two and a half million dollars. Now that’s a lot of quarters!
Come celebrate Pac-Man’s birthday with us this month with our Eat N’ Play cards. Whether you are craving pizza like Toru or something else, we have just what you need. After your delicious meal, pay tribute to Pac Man by playing a round or two and collecting points for our Redemption Store. Just imagine if Toru Iwatani had decided to go out for Chinese food that night instead of pizza…