Gaming Anniversaries May 22’nd – Pac-Man

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Released May 22’nd, 1980- Pac-Man

Pac-Man was first released to arcades on May 22’nd, 1980!

Anyone who knows the words “video game” knows the name Pac-Man. The game is synonymous with arcade culture for decades and is still played today! Although the more beloved version is Ms. Pac-Man which came a little later.

For those that don’t know the Pac-Man franchise, its huge and consisted of many titles and versions, still being made today. Play as a little yellow circle and find your way around a maze, eating all the dots. Along the way, ghosts will chase him down and try to kill him. Luckily, there are some power “Power pellets” in the corners of the maps. All he has to do is avoid the ghosts and get to them to allow him to eat them up. The ghosts, known as “Inky, Blinky, Pinky and …Clyde” all have their own speed and skill to get around the map chasing poor Pac-Man down.

This simple gameplay made the game an enormous success. Bringing player after player to the arcades with their pockets full of quarters. Making Pac-Man one of the most influential video games in any time. The game has seen many different ports of all sizes and varieties with the latest being a Google Streetview version, that allowed you to play the game while traversing real neighborhoods. Additionally, Namco has released a browser-based version of the game that lets users create their own maps and publish them to the site


Pac-Man is known the world over for its gameplay and is revered for what it brings the gaming public. Which is to say, a simple, easy to understand and play game. To that end, there is no shortage of games with the license. Including a version of the popular smartphone game Crossy Road among others. Merchandising for the game was also rampant. Pac-Man was even featured as a breakfast cereal and his face could be found on lunch boxes, shirts, toys and a wide array of other products.

The sheer success of the title worldwide was amazing to the publisher Namco whose president, the late Masaya Nakamura is recorded as saying “I didn’t know it would be this big!”. Between sales of over 400,000 arcade cabinets and the additional revenue brought in through merchandising. Pac-Man is estimated to have raked in over two billion dollars by 1982. Adjusting for inflation, that would be near five billion dollars US today. To repeat, that’s over five billion dollars in 1982! Moreover, the game continues to make money with each new version being pushed out. We haven’t yet reached critical mass in the Pac-Man franchise, and seemingly, the end is nowhere in sight. Pac-Man is undoubtedly and still to this day, one of the most popular games to ever grace the arcade.

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