Pac-Man was first introduced to the arcades around May of 1980 and immediately captured the hearts and imaginations of the public like no other game before it, and few since. It is still regarded as the hallmark of the 'golden age' of video games. Midway first released the Pac-Man arcade in 1980 as both an upright and cocktail table model. Two variations of the upright were made: the standard arcade model had art on the sides and below the coin slots, and the Mini-Myte model had a woodgrain pattern in those areas. Pac-Man was licensed to Midway for US manufacture and distribution (ATARI did not want it...). 96,000 units were produced in the U.S.A. - According to the Davie-Brown Index, Pac-Man has the highest brand awareness of any video game character among American consumers, recognized by 94 percent of them.
Waka-waka-waka-waka-bwok-bwok - developed by Namco in 1980,
the original Japanese release was called "Puckman" but, due to the West's predilection with changing words to vulgarities by scratching part of the word off (in this case, changing the word 'Puck' to something rather less socially acceptable by scratching off part of the letter 'P'), was changed to 'Pac-Man'. The name Pac-Man is derived from the Japanese slang term 'paku-paku', which describes the motion of the mouth opening and closing during eating and translates in English as 'to eat'.
In Brazil, the game was unofficially named by the children as 'Come-Come' (lit. he eats-he eats, in Portuguese). Also an onomatopoeic, from the sound the character does when walking/eating. In Italy, the same sound is referred as a meaningless 'Gabo Gabo'. In Spain it was called 'Comecocos' (coconut-eater). Pac-Man's ghosts have names and nicknames which were: Shadow (Blinky), Speedy (Pinky), Bashful (Inky), and Pokey (Clyde). In the original "Puckman", the ghosts were named Oikake (Akabei), Machibuse (Pinky), Kimagure (Aosuke), and Otoboke (Guzuta). Puckman also had a DIP switch for alternate ghost names : Urchin (Macky), Romp (Micky), Stylist (Mucky), and Crybaby (Mocky). Initially, Pac-Man's enemies were referred to as monsters on the arcade cabinet, but soon became colloquially known as ghosts.
The ghosts are bound by the maze in the same way as Pac-Man, but generally move slightly faster than the player, although they slow down when turning corners and slow down significantly while passing through the tunnels on the sides of the maze (Pac-Man passes through these tunnels unhindered). Pac-Man slows down slightly while eating dots, potentially allowing a chasing ghost to catch him. Blinky, the red ghost, also speeds up after a certain number of dots are eaten (this number gets lower in higher levels).
Over the years, Pac-Man's popularity called for more diversity and gameplay. Society cried for something new and fresh. Like most success stories, the creators decided to expand on the original idea. Like many marketing preach, "When you have a great idea, just make it better." This theory gave rise to Ms. Pac-Man the following year, in 1982. Ms. Pac-Man was similar to the original, but put a fresh face on the main character. In 1983, Jr. Pac-Man was introduced, this time adding a larger play area, where the user would "scroll" between areas. From there came Pac-land, a platform scroller, and then Pac-Mania, placing Pac-Man in 3D. From there a whole field of Pac-Man games grew without limit. Pac-Man 2, Pac-Man VR, Pac-In-Time, Pac-Man 3D, etc. Namco re-released the arcade version in 1996 as part of the Namco Classics Vol. 2, which includes an "updated arrangement" of Pac-Man.
Last but not least, the name 'Pac-Man' has been given to a nebula, cataloged as NGC 281. The Pac-Man Nebula is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia. It includes or is near the open cluster IC 1590, the double star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. The shape of the nebula resembles the famous video game icon, Pac-Man. It is visible in amateur telescopes from dark sky locations.
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