The Legacy of Pac-Man

Do you remember the first time you played Pac-Man? Chances are that you do. The infamous arcade game and its main character are one of the most highly recognized video games of all time. Since its introduction to the world in 1980, Pac-Man has experienced continuous success. Nearly every human has either played the original arcade game one of the many spin-off or franchise video games. Take a look at the lengthy history and popularity of the famous video game.

Early History

On May 22, 1980, Namco introduced the legendary Pac-Man arcade game to the Japanese market. The game was developed starting in 1979 by a nine-man team led by Tōru Iwatani. Ironically enough, the game was based on the concept of eating. In fact, that “woka-woka” sound is supposed to replicate the sound the mouth makes when open and closed repeatedly, such as when eating. The game was originally named Puck Man, inspired by a Japanese slang word for the noise made by eating. In Japan, the vintage arcade game did not raise much of a buzz. However, when introduced to the North American market in October 1980, with a name change to Pac-Man, the success was nearly instantaneous. With the popularity of games such as Space Invaders, the rapid success of Pac-Man came as a total shock to the arcade game market.

Within 18 months, 350,000 arcade cabinets of Pac-Man were sold at a retail price of $2400 each. Considering inflation, that would equate to around $2.4 billion dollars today. In fact, by the end of the 1980s, Pac-Man had generated revenues surpassing that of the highest-grossing film Star Wars. An estimated 10 billion quarters had been inserted into Pac-Man machines world-wide by the end of the 20th century.

Emergence into Pop Culture

For Pac-Man, the success didn’t stop at the door of the arcade or entertainment center. The classic game became a world-wide phenomenon. Like many other video game characters or pop culture icons, a variety of merchandise was created for Pac-Man. From clothing to food to additional video games, Pac-Man was everywhere! The most recent pop culture appearance for Pac-Man and the ghosts was in the 2013 Disney animated film, Wreck-It Ralph, where Pac-Main, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde all make cameo appearances throughout the film based upon vintage arcade games.

Aside from merchandise, the video game has been mentioned in several songs including the popular Buckner & Garcia song “Pac-Man Fever”, which went all the way to No.9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1981. Other songs including a Weird Al parody called “Pac-Man” to the tune of The Beatles song entitled “Taxman”.

In addition to becoming a musical sensation, Pac-Man has also been in books, toys, animated series, and now ‘real-life recreations’. In 2004, a Guinness World Record was set for the “Largest Pac-Man Game” at an event called Pac-Manhattan. Individuals dressed up like Pac-Man, the ghosts and even the pac-dots to recreate an entire live-action game of Pac-Man.

Awards and Accolades

Not surprisingly, Pac-Man has garnered a variety of awards over the past 30+ years. Check out the list below of awards, bragging rights, and accolades that Pac-Man has received over the years.

“Best Commercial Arcade Game” at the 1981 Arcade Awards.

1st video game to feature power-ups.
Credited as the first game to lay the foundation for “stealth games”, which involve avoiding enemies instead of battling them.
One of the highest-grossing video games of all time.
Highest brand awareness of any video game character according to the Davie-Brown Index.
A Pac-Man World Championship was held in NYC on June 5, 2007. Carlos Daniel Borrego of Mexico was crowned champion.

Mexico was crowned champion.

Pacman Today

The legacy of Pac-Man has not wavered over the years. In fact, with the latest innovations in technology, Pac-Man’s popularity has increased. Recent Pac-Man video games include:

Pac-Man: Adventures in Time (2000)
Pac-Man Fever (2002)
Pac ‘n Roll (2005)
Pac-Man World, Pac-Man World 2, Pac-Man World 3 (1999-2005)
Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007)
Pac-Man Party (2010)
Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (2013)

Clearly, the Pac-Man arcade game franchise is one of the most successful video games in history. If you haven’t played this iconic arcade game in a while, you owe it to yourself to grab a handful of quarters, find a classic Pac-Man arcade cabinet and play a few rounds. If you’re still looking for some Pac-Man fun, try out the newer video games for a good time.

Are you looking to purchase a Pac-Man arcade game for your entertainment center, arcade or bar? Auction Game Sales has what you’re looking for. Visit one of our auction events or give us a call at 1-800-551-0660.