On May 22, 1980, the Pac-Man video game was released in Japan and by October of the same year it was released in the United States. The yellow, pie-shaped Pac-Man character, who travels around a maze trying to eat dots and avoid four mean ghosts, quickly became an icon of the 1980s. To this day, Pac-Man remains one of the most popular video games in history.
If you ever thought that the Pac-Man character looked like some kind of food, then you and Japanese game designer Toru Iwatani think alike. Iwatani was eating pizza when he came up with the idea for the Pac-Man character.
While a pizza with a slice out of it turned into the main character of Pac-Man, cookies became the power pellets. (The pellets lost their cookie-look when the game came to the U.S.)
Apparently Namco, the company that made Pac-Man, was hoping to create a video game that would entice girls to play as well as boys. And everyone knows that girls like food, right? Hmmm. Anyway, a food-based video game with cute little ghosts and a bit of humor did appeal to both genders, which quickly made Pac-Man an unquestionable success.
The name "Pac-Man" continues the eating theme of the game. Apparently in Japanese, "puck-puck" (sometimes said "paku-paku) is a word used for munching. So, in Japan, Namco named the video game Puck-Man. After all, it was a video game about a pizza eating super-powered cookies.
However, when it was time for the video game to be sold in the U.S., many were worried about the name "Puck-Man." Mostly because the name sounded a bit too similar to a particularly foul four-letter word in English. Thus, Puck-Man underwent a name change and became Pac-Man when the game came to the U.S.
Game Controls: Click start and use the arrow keys.