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A Look Back at the Iconic Pac-Man 8 Years Later

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To celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary, we decided to look back at the iconic game, which has stood the test of time and led to many other popular games today. While many people remember Pac-Man, it might be surprised how much you don't know about him! Check out our informative guide on the history of Pac-Man after his initial release in 1980 below to learn about his beginnings, the changes he has undergone over the years, and what Pac-Man means to people from all walks of life!


How it All Started


Pac-Man was born in 1980 as a pixelated yellow circle with a mouth and eyes. The game, created by Toru Iwatani, is widely considered one of the most influential video games of all time—and it only took about six months to create! The original arcade version sold more than 100,000 units within three years of its release. In 2007, Pac-Man was inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame as one of the most popular arcade games enjoyed for 30 years.


The Mechanics


Did you spend much time trying to power through Pac-Man in an arcade? Did you stay up late with your friends on a school night, staring at a glowing screen, mesmerized by ghosts, dots and circular fruit? When you hear people talking about iconic games from their youth, they remember most precisely what they were doing while playing them. What was going on around them? Who was there with them? Where were they playing it? And what did it smell like? As we celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary, let's look at how one game became an international sensation that changed gaming forever. The first time I played Pac-Man, I sat on my dad's lap in our kitchen as he tried to teach me how to play. He didn't have much luck; it wasn't until years later that I finally got good enough to beat him without cheating (using my toes). It turns out that many other players had similar experiences: whether it was learning from older siblings or parents or simply picking up tips from other kids who seemed more skilled than you, mastering the game took dedication and lots of practice.


The Merchandise


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Over three decades since Pac-Man first started capturing hearts, minds and quarters in arcades worldwide. In honour of its 30th anniversary, here are some facts you might not know about one of gaming's most iconic characters: #1 The earliest versions of Pac-Man were red, white and blue. He was changed to his now-iconic yellow colour because red and white buttons on arcade machines look similar when seen from a distance. #2 When Ms Pac-Man was released in 1982, it became one of only four games to be inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame. #3 The original Pac-Man is considered by many to be an early example of what we now call emergent gameplay. For example, players have developed tricks like pacifism (letting ghosts eat PAC-dots, so they don't kill you) and chomping (eating as many dots as possible before going after your enemies). There's even a Pac-Man hacking group called The Hackers Conference. #4 A version of Pac-Man has been created for just about every platform imaginable—including mobile phones, tablets and even calculators!


How It's Impacted Society


Thirty years ago today, something extraordinary happened. On May 22, 1980—President Carter was in office, anyone who could afford a home had one, and cell phones were still almost 30 years away—a game about a yellow circle eating dots on a screen hit arcades across America. It was called Pac-Man, and it was an instant sensation. The following year, Americans spent $2 billion on arcade games alone. Pac-Man became a household name overnight. And while he's not as popular as he once was (he's currently ranked number 19 among all video game characters), he's not going anywhere anytime soon: He has more than 100 licensed products, including toys, apparel, and even plush pillows for sale online right now! The impact of Pac-Man is hard to overstate: In addition to being one of the first games with multiple levels (it took gamers four months to complete its 255 mazes), it also introduced us to power pellets that let you eat ghosts when you're in trouble; Ms.


The Evolution of the Franchise


Twenty-eight years is a long time, and in that time, it's unlikely anyone could have predicted just how successful Pac-Man would become. Even with the game doing well right out of the gate (and it did – like most games of its era, it was ported to almost every device available in 1980), it took six months for sales to hit one million units. By March 1982, it had sold over two million copies. By September 1983, that number had jumped to five million. And by February 1984? Ten million copies sold!


Reliving the Experience Today


Eight years ago, we were in awe of one of gaming's iconic characters: Pac-Man. It's been nearly 30 years since that fateful game made its debut, and we recently took a look back at it to see how it has held up after all these years. (Spoiler alert: pretty well.) Check out our nostalgic trip down memory lane. And then grab your Power Pellets and get ready for an exciting adventure through Pac-Man's history! The 1980s may have only just begun, but already things were changing. More people had access to computers thanks to increased affordability and government initiatives like America Online—which became hugely popular in 1983—and CompuServe. Soon everyone was hooked on their new PCs, including legendary Japanese video game designer Toru Iwatani.

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