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As the old saying goes, “Behind every great Pac-Man, there’s a great Ms. Pac-Man.”
Ok, maybe that’s not exactly how it goes, but you get the idea.
The fact of the matter is that Ms. Pac-Man changed arcade game history by being the first ever female main character in an arcade game.
Ms. Pac-Man was developed by General Computer Corporation for Midway Games, which was responsible for Namco’s distribution of Pac-Man in America. They were tasked with coming up with a sequel to the wildly popular Pac-Man and eventually brought concept called Crazy Otto to the table, which Namco bought, revamped, and renamed to Ms. Pac-Man before releasing to the arcade world.
Midway had previously noticed that for the first time, a large amount of women were playing Pac-Man in arcades all over the country, leading to the eventual release of Ms. Pac-Man. Before Crazy Otto was transformed into Ms. Pac-Man, Midway tossed around several ideas for a name, including:
Early results showed that Ms. Pac-Man was a massive success. She quickly rose to prominence in the fanatical world of arcade gaming and eventually stood just as tall as her predecessor.
What Namco was not aware of while Ms. Pac-Man was making a name for herself was that the game was actually an unauthorized modification of the original Pac-Man game. There were actually several unauthorized modifications in circulation, such as Baby Pac-Man. They immediately took legal action on Midway and forced them to hand over the rights to Ms. Pac-Man and all the other unauthorized games to Namco.
Due to its already large and loyal fan base, Namco decided to keep Ms. Pac-Man in circulation and even released new versions of the game.