Pac-Man is now considered the most successful and highest grossing arcade game in history. Within its first year, it blew past Space Invaders to take the top spot, making over $1 billion in coin sales. Due to these massive sales, you are likely aware of the game, but here are some interesting facts about this odd little game though that you may not be aware of.

It started with a Japanese pizza

In 1979, Namco’s star arcade game designer, Toru Iwatani, was eating a pizza by himself trying to work out a problem. The arcade industry was gaining some success, but it was very niche and had almost exclusively male fans. Iwatani was tasked with making arcade gaming more mainstream and more female friendly.

As he stared at the pizza box, an idea came to him for a game that is not quite so focused on killing and fighting. The pizza with a couple of slices out of it looked like a mouth. What if the character just ate things rather than killed things? Iwatani designed a game with this mouthed pizza moving around a maze eating cookies. Pac-Man was born.

Why ‘Pac-Man?

To the American audience, it has never been immediately clear what the name is referring to. It’s actually an amended version of a Japanese slang word. In Japan, the game was first launched by Namco under the name Puck-Man. ‘Puck’ is a casual word meaning to eat, chomp, munch, etc.

When Namco partnered with Midway Games to release the game in North America, they had to discuss the real possibility that teenage boys with sharpies would change the ‘P’ in ‘Puck-Man’ to an ‘F,’ and therefore alter its meaning to a less appropriate English word. To avoid this, the name was slightly altered to ‘Pac-Man’ and has been so ever since.

The wild success of Pac-Man

The ‘Puck’ version that was released in Japan was a success, but Toru Iwatani and Namco had no idea of the explosion of interest they would achieve by releasing the game in North America. The game is often credited with creating the 1980s arcade game culture. Being released in October of 1980, Pac-Man was indeed present for the entire 80s era. By the 90s it had raked in over $2.5 billion in sales. There was now a cartoon for kids, toys, multiple spin-off games and a broader arcade industry that was thankful for the attention it brought their businesses.

Triangle Home Gamerooms has multiple platforms to play Pac-Man

The arcade game craze is hardly over. There is a newfound interest in arcade games in recent years, and Pac-Man is still center stage. Those in Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, Chapel Hill and the surrounding greater Triangle who are interested in rekindling their love for Pac-Man, or being introduced, can stop by our storefront or give us a call at (919) 661-2738. We have mutlicade arcade systems, both tabletop and upright, that have multiple versions of Pac-Man for you to enjoy.