Note that the machine pictured actually says Puckman
brother was in Australia in 1982 and as he knew I liked Pac-man
(nothing changes, huh) he sent me this interview that appeared
in an Australian newspaper.
MASAYA Nakamura, the father of the popular Pacman
video arcade game, is thrilled about the global success of his
creation, but he isn't crazy about the way some people spend hours
"I am a little concerned about the way some young people play
it so much," Mr Nakamura said.
"It's not a very happy thing to see people spending so much time
on it. Once it goes beyond a certain level, it is not good for
that Mr Nakamura doesn't enjoy Pacman. On a recent visit to Atlantic
City, the bespectacled, paunchy 57-year-old Tokyo businessman
stood in front of one of his creations, grimacing and muttering
in Japanese as the ominous words "Game Over" flashed on the screen.
doesn't like his, score," explained Mr Hideuki Nakajina,
Mr Nakamura's translator and the president of the American subsidiary
of Mr Nakamura's Namco Ltd, the amusement game company.
"What did he get?"
He says he can do much better than that."
Nakamura is already a big winner at Pacman, but the success was
something of a surprise.
never thought it would be this big," he said.
know baseball? Well, I knew it would not be a single. But I thought
maybe a double, not a home run."
fact, Pacman has been a grand slam. More than 250,000 units have
been sold since the game was first introduced in 1979 - 100,000
in the US alone - and a profitable cottage industry of home games,
records, books, even beach towels has also sprung up, making Mr
Nakamura and Namco very happy and very rich.
Nakamura loves to talk about the reasons for the, game's widespread
he said, Pacman was not violent because the "monsters come back
to life after they are eaten". Second, each monster "has its own
personality". Third, players could gain an advantage by eating
energy dots that left them temporarily immune from destruction.
Mr Nakajina said, the game paralleled life by rewarding players
who had good "timing", knowing precisely when be aggressive and
when to walk away.
game was the brainchild an engineer at Namco, which before Pacman
was a 28-year-old moderately successful amusement company. The
engineer, recalling schoolyard harassment by bullies, wanted to
invent game where "he could beat bullies", said Mr Nakajina, the
president of Namco-America in Sunnyville, California.
wanted to put in the game the idea that a good man, even if he
is a weak man, can beat a bully," Mr Nakajina said. "He was, actually
developing a prototype Mr Nakamura took the game out for some
personal test runs running up scores as high as 50,000 points.
Whenever a new game is developed, he brings in the prototypes
and plays up to 23 hours some days," said Mr Nakajina of his boss.
oriented to the player feelings, unlike some in the industry who
care only for the profitability. So he personally tests games
to make sure they are something a player will like."
the game would fly Mr Nakamura's biggest problem was naming it.
"The idea is to eat the monsters so he wanted to use the Japanese
equivalent of 'munch, munch which is 'paku, paku'," Mr Nakajina
said. "But it didn't sound English, the international language,
so he wanted to use 'puck, puck instead."
it's called, the game is still selling, and Namco is continuing
to cash in on the craze. A Ms Pacman game was already the
market, and Baby Pacman, Junior Pacman and Super Pacman
were in the works, Mr Nakajima said.
This document can
be found at the Retrogamer fanzine site: http://retrogamer.merseyworld.com/
have several Pac-man games for a wide variety of computers for
The complete history of Pac-man can be read in Retrogamer 9 and the
story of all the other games in the Pac family in Retrogamer 11.