One of the most iconic video games of all times is Pac-Man. Even non-gamers will nostalgically muse about a Pac-Man experience in their youth. Many legends surround the classic, but here are some Pac-Man fun facts that you probably didn’t know. There’s even a bonus that nobody could have known prior to this article 🙂
PAC-MAN Fun Facts #1: Pac-Man’s unruly mistress stole the show
She isn’t known for her looks alone. Ms. Pac-Man’s pellet-chomping dexterity gave her husband a real run for his money. Literally. Ms. Pac-Man starts with some cunning indie devs…
An unlicensed mod of the original Pac-Man called “Crazy Otto” was sold to Midway. Midway then worked with GCC and Namco and rebranded “Crazy Otto” into “Ms. Pac-Man” which was released in North America in February 1981. It was almost murder she wrote.
Ms. Pac-Man was so popular that she holds the 5th place in TIME’s 50 Best Video Games of All Time. The original Pac-Man doesn’t even feature. Ms. Pac-Man was credited for having four mazes (compared to Pac-Man’s one), smarter ghosts and dynamic fruit bonuses. Ms. Pac-Man is now available as DLC for PAC-MAN Museum.
PAC-MAN Fun Facts #2: The pizza inspiration is only half true
For old-school gamers, the history behind this Pac-Man fun fact may be hazy in your memory. Still, you can probably recall that everyone said that Pac-Man’s peculiar shape was inspired by pizza (like Ninja Pizza Girl). The game’s designer, Toru Iwatani, fanned the flames of this legend with a publicity photo where he posed with a half-eaten pizza.
However, Iwatani later admitted in a 1986 interview that the legend was only “half true”.
“In Japanese, the character for mouth [kuchi] is a square shape,” Iwatani revealed. “It’s not circular like pizza, but I decided to round it out.” And this is the other half of the truth of Pac-Man‘s character design.
PAC-MAN Fun Facts #3: The maximum high score possible is 3,333,360
Pac-Man doesn’t really have any storylike ending, but an integer overflow makes the 256th level impossible to clear. In other words, if every dot, power pellet, fruit, and enemy is consumed on each of the 255 levels, the maximum possible score is 3,333,360 points. (A totally random thought just occurred: that also happens to be 299,997.600019 times less than Trillion‘s boss’ HP 🤓)
One of arcade gaming’s legendary champions, Billy Mitchell, was the first player to achieve the flawless Pac-Man score.
PAC-MAN Fun Facts #4: The secret to Pac-Man‘s success is Enemy AI
Enemy AI has come a long way since the days of Pac-Man. Just think of all the different ways an enemy can react in stealth games like Sniper: Ghost Warrior. Still, Pac-Man brought thrilling new enemy AI innovations in its time.
“It was tricky because the monster movements are quite complex,” Iwatani said. “This is the heart of the game…” One of the cleverest aspects was making each ghost behave differently. One chasing the player, two charging with frontal attacks, and a fourth chasing and abruptly changing course. The enemy AI was the most challenging feature in Pac-Man’s 18-month development (unusually long for its era) and it paid off.
PAC-MAN Fun Facts #5: It was first called Puck-Man
When Pac-Man was produced it was actually called Puck-Man. The first ever machine was installed in a Tokyo movie theater on May 22, 1980. Puck-Man charmed women and younger players but seasoned gamers (like most of you reading this) didn’t warm up to it. Luckily, the competition was not as brutal as it is today and Puck-Man managed to make an impression. It was picked up for American distribution by Midway, its name changed from Puck-Man to Pac-Man, and the writing was on the wall.
We hope this little fun fact encourages you to think of all the amazing indies you’re probably overlooking.
Pac-Man Fun Facts #6: Pac-Man is forever free
Even though TIME thinks Ms. Pac-Man is sexier than her husband, Google disagrees. Pac-Man became the first playable Google Doodle on his 30th birthday back in 2010. According to a report issued by a time management company, the game’s 24-hour appearance managed to rob the world of around 4.8 million working hours. The search engine’s anniversary version of Pac-Man can still be played today. Play it now.
Pac-Man Fun Facts #7: Only 3 IndieGala team members are older than Pac-Man
But unfortunately, we’ve been forbidden (on pain of game over) to tell you who they are. At least you know that most of us are (ahem) young 😀
We hoped you enjoyed these Pac-Man Fun Facts. If you’ve just taken a trip down memory lane and feel like some retrograded, nostalgic gaming, you can pick up everything Pac-Man at 75% off today over at IndieGala.
If you’re interested in more BANDAI NAMCO games then you’ll be happy to know that our Summer Scratchy Sale is now live. It’s the season where you buy a game and get a free one. Who knows, you may just stumble upon another classic.