Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pac-man Video Game Celebrates 30th Birthday

Retro Arcade Pac Man TV GameMay 22, 1980, was the date thirty years ago when the Japanese company Namco released one of the most popular video games of all time. I'm talking about Pac-Man, the game where you control a little round yellow ball around a maze while munching dots. And let's not forget the four colorful ghosts who chase Pac-Man around the maze.

Soon released in the United States by the company Midway Games, Pac-Man became an enormously-popular icon of the 1980s, and to this day is still one of the most recognized video games of all time.

The game was originally called Puck-Man in Japan, but renamed Pac-Man in the U.S.

Pac-Man has proven so popular it has spawned 16 sequel arcade games, two pinball games, at least a half dozen versions of the original game for classic (1980s) home gaming systems, at least 16 spin-off games for modern home video game systems and 11 games for mobile phones. Also, there have been several hand-held Pac-Man video games and even a small tabletop version of Pac-Man. There has been a Pac-Man animated cartoon television show, a Pac-Man board game and the song "Pac-Man Fever" which went all the way to number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts in 1981.

Ms. Pac-Man / Galaga Classic Cocktail Table Arcade Game with 19-Inch MonitorBesides its sheer popularity, Pac-Man had a huge influence on video games of the day and continues to have an influence today. Pac-Man might not have been the first maze game, but it definitely was the first popular maze game, and it changed the faces of video games during a time when the majority of games where science fiction or military shooting games.

So, Pac-Man, I salute you. Happy 30th birthday!

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