The Return of Pac-Man

It was a long 30 years ago that Pac-Man made its appearance in arcades everywhere, and became an instant phenomenon. It was designed and developed by, a then young Tōru Iwatani, and a team of nine developers in little less than a year. He’s goal was to design a game that would appeal to everyone, not just boys, who were the majority of gamers back then. Its newest incarnation comes to all the consoles as a downloadable game, and it’s called “Pac-ManChampionship Edition DX”.

The core of the game hasn’t change, you still play a round yellow character who opens his mouth and is pursued by ghosts. The new additions can be seen immediately in the art and soundtrack (which are amazing), but the gameplay additions are what make this new incarnation all the more notable. For one thing there are more than four ghosts, which chase you, numerous ones get into a single file and the purpose, depending on the game mode, is to eat as many of them in a row to score the most points. And the result: Fun. After 30 years this game continues to entertain everyone across the board.

Now we are seeing the resurgence of small team of game devs, thanks to the mobile, direct download, social, and web platforms. And that initial spirit of innovation is newly present. Pac-Man makes use of the social aspects quite beautifully in the precense of its international leaderboard. Pac-Man is a testament to great game design, and like any other art or craft when made with love and professionalism, it stands the test of time and transcends generations and fabs.

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  1. Thirty years ago my father-in-law worked for Midway, and gave me many Pac Man promotional items – towels, hot pads, glasses, beer mugs, you name it. I think I’ll unpack my Pac Man beer mug and raise a toast to 30 years of a fun game.