Pac-Man is just one of those videogames that everyone has played and everyone, regardless of age, enjoys. It is part of pop-culture that has survive for over 30 years (not many games can say that)!
At the recent Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, let slip five things about the 30 year old game that most people never really knew (via YahooGames).
1) The point of the game was to attract girls
“The reason I created Pac-Man was because we wanted to attract female gamers,” he says. “Back then, there were no home games. People had to go to the arcade center to play games. That was a playground for boys. It was dirty and smelly. So we wanted to include female players, so it would become cleaner and brighter.”
2) Every ghost had specific orders of what to do
Instead, it’s only Blinky, the red ghost, who doggedly pursues you throughout the game. Pinky, the pink ghost (naturally), simply wants to position itself at a point that’s 32 pixels in front of Pac-Man‘s mouth. The blue ghost, Inky, is seeking to position itself at a similar fixed spot. And Clyde, the orange ghost, moves completely at random.
3) What does Pac-Man even mean?
In Japanese, “puck puck” is akin to the U.S. saying “munch munch”. So the original name – Puck-Man – translated as “Munch man”. (A savvy Midway Games official changed it to Pac-Man when the game hit the U.S. to discourage vandals from shaving off part of the “P,” thereby creating an obscene word.)
4) The missing piece of the game
“I wanted to have a shelter and it would move up and down,” he says. “When the ghost comes, the ghost would be pinched by the shelter which would disfigure the ghost.”
5) The ghosts were almost all one color
The president of Namco ordered him to make the ghosts a single color – red, to be precise – since she believed players would be confused that some ghosts, perhaps, were Pac-Man‘s ally.
Iwatani refused the order and on questionnaires to the game’s testers, asked if they would prefer a single color ghost or four. Not a single person wanted the single-color option. That ultimately convinced the president she was wrong.
I must say, I am glad the game stayed exactly how it was! So many of the aspects of the game, such as the deceptively simplistic designs and the different colored ghosts, will always be associated with Pac-Man for me.
After all, how can you be angry when the games villains are ghosts named Inky, Binky, Pinky and Clyde?