In 1980 a little known distributor by the name of Midway released a game destined to become one of the greatest arcade classics of all time. Developed by Namco, Pacman is a maze game in which a player navigates Pac-man, a yellow figure, through a maze eating pills and avoiding ghosts.
Pacman has undeniably had a significant impact on the video game industry. Until Pacman, video games were almost exclusively “Space Shooters” – games in which a player controls a space craft that has to shoot something. Pacman was the first game to break out of that model and be incredibly successful. Since then, video games have diversified considerably and continuously branch out into new and creative areas.
The name Pacman is derived from the Japanese phrase Pakupaku which loosely translates into “he eats, he eats”. In fact, the game was originally released under the name Puck Man in Japan, but when the game was picked up by Midway to be released in the US the name was changed to Pacman for fear of vandalism that could potentially be inflicted by Americans in arcades and will include scratching the P into an F in the Japanese name “Puck Man”.
The first known “perfect Pacman game”, in which a player must complete all 255 levels, collect all the bonuses and never be caught by a ghost, was played by Billy Mitchell at 1999. Billy set the record at a local arcade in New Hampshire while employing a strategy of improvising throughout the 6 hours of game play and not using any repeating patterns or tactics. The final score was 3,333,360.