Sunday, September 12, 2010

Game of the Week: Pac-Man

Has there ever been a more popular video game than Pac-Man? The original arcade game has had plenty of sequels, literally hundreds of ports to home systems or computers or handheld devices or whatever. Pac-Man has become an icon, probably the most recognizable video game icon of all time. It even had it's own hit song, Pac-Man Fever, which rose high on the charts in 1982.

When it first hit the arcades in 1980s, Pac-Man took the world by storm, and the video gaming world has never been the same since.

Before Pac-Man, video games were just beginning to hit big. Space Invaders had been the big hit game then, though a few other games had their share of fans. Still, it was when Pac-Man was released that arcade games really took off, becoming a gigantic industry for the next decade or so which still has its influence even today.

But what was so great about Pac-Man? By today's gaming standards, Pac-Man seems pretty simplistic. The player controls a little yellow munching ball that goes around a maze eating dots while trying to avoid being killed by ghosts.

Simple, right? Yep, but also lots of fun!

Pac-Man had a lot of things going for it, including bright colors at a time when color screens were just beginning to make waves in arcades, and quality sound. But most importantly, Pac-Man had addictive gameplay.

And it wasn't an easy game. Those pesky ghosts got faster and faster as the game progressed and the player finished one maze and moved on to the next one. Some gamers worked out patterns for the game's maze, patterns that would allow the player to reach some pretty high scores, but eventually even those patterns became just about useless.

Today, when Pac-Man is now more than 30 years old, the game is still fun to play. And with its availability all over the Web, including free play at some sites, it's no wonder Pac-Man continues to draw in fans.

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