Pacman is one of the most known and recognisable games all over the world. Almost every one at least once played in some kind of Pacman games, but a few knows, that the origins of the game date back to japanese company Namco, and more precisely – Toru Iwatani, one of its employees. At first he called it Pakku-Man (what was the Japanese word for eaiting by snapping mouth) , but after a while he decided to change it into Puck Man. Although, this name didn’t catch on in English-speaking countries because of the noticeable similarity to the very popular F-word When Pacman was released, most arcade video games in North America were primarily space shooters such as Space Invaders, Defender, or Asteroids. The most visible minority were sports games that were mostly derivative of Pong. Pacman succeeded by creating a new genre and appealing to males and, what was unusual, females. Pacman is often credited with being a landmark in video game history, and is among the most famous arcade games of all time. This funny and amusing game have lots of fans despite it’s quite old – however it’s hard to believe but Pacman is 29 years old! Despite the lapse of time, plain graphics this game and lots of other pacman-like games still do not lose in popularity.
For those, who had never played in Pacman – the idea of it is to use the arrow keys on your computer keyboard to move Pacman through the maze and eat all the white dots. The game becomes complicated because Pacman must avoid the four ghosts, named Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, who can kill him. Pacman can, however, eat a power pill, which allows him to eat the ghosts, and he can earn extra points by eating fruit which appears in the maze on occasion.
Eating the power pills does have an interesting affect on the ghosts. They change color to deep blue and change direction, moving slowly. The game ends when all the lives have been lost. It is possible to play all 256 levels for maximum points yet not lose a life, but it is not quick nor is it easy to do.
The Word record, which is unbreakable, set Billy Mitchell on 3rd of July in 1999. His highscore is 3,333,360 points (on 256 boards) – he reached it in six hours. The least 257 is impossible to pass – the half of it is deformed. There is no board after it – the author of Pacman didn’t expect that someone could get so high. Bill Mitchell playing Pacman had eaten all of the dots, special dots, all scared ghosts and fruit bonuses, which appear only twicely on one board. He didn’t miss not a single dot! After that, he set a special award – 100 000 dollars – for a person, who will pass the least 257 split-screen level. Still, nobody manage to do this.
In 1982 the band Buckner and Garcia recorded a song called Pacman Fever, where the sounds from the game were used. After the song became a hit, they released Pacman Fever, a full album consisting entirely of songs about arcade video games. In the eighties the game was so popular that the companies make a lot gadgets with Pacman – cubs, stickers, cartoons, even pyjamas. But the game is still inspiration for companies – in 2008, Crystal Sky bought laws to make a movie about Pacman – the rumour says, that he would be a hero in a city where ghosts are haunting people and, of course, fights with them.
The company Namco, encouraged the success of Pacman, released subsequent pacman games: they were enriched with shooting capability, more ghosts or Pacman’s assistants (such as Mirru or his dog, Chomp Chomp), or made in 3d graphics. Namco made also a lot of pacman games, some kind different from the original idea – such as puzzle games ( Pac-Attack), adventure games (Pacman World), or even kart racer (Pacman World Rally). Apart from the official pacman games, there are those non-official, pacman-like versions, which plot and design are similar to the original Pacman – for example, Njam (the idea remains, but the maze and characters look different) or Pacuby.
The first Pacman World Championship was held on June 5th in 2007 in New York. Ten competitors from eight countries take part in it. In the end, for the title of Pacman World Champion contested just two players: Robert Glashuettner of Austria and Carlos Daniel Borrego of Mexico. Finally, Borrego won and received the title with an Xbox 360 console, specially decorated and signed by the author of the game, Toru Iwatani.
Pacman received many awards, not only from players, but even from the Guiness World Record – in eight categories. One of them was, of course, “First Perfect Pacman Player” for Billy Mitchell’s on July 3rd in 1999. The others which were, for example, “Most Successful Coin-Operated Game” and “Largest Pacman Game”. The lattest dotyczyła a group of students from New York University who played in pacman in reality, precisely in Manhattan. They called their project Pac-Manhattan and it was simply based on the well-known game, but the characters became real – all of players were dressed as Pacman or as ghosts. It’s not difficult to guess what they were doing – just chasing around the city blocks, using cellular phones to communicate