Arguably the most famous video game ever, Namco’s Pac-Man was inducted into the Amusement Industry Hall of Fame’s inaugural group. According to Guinness World Records, the machine was the “most successful coin-operated game of all-time.”
A game-changer for the industry, Pac-Man (originally called Puck Man in Japan) came out in 1980 and spawned uber-successful sequels like Ms. Pac-Man. Prior to its release, all video games were block breakers or space shooters and appealed mostly to male players. Pac-Man was designed to widen gaming’s appeal to women.
Games also did not have “characters” to play, but Pac-Man gave the industry its first video game “mascot.” It was the first video game that told a story, paving the way for so many future games.
Pac-Man and the ghosts appealed to males and females of all ages and truly sparked an interest in coin-operated games that went way beyond all predecessors. That love continues today, more than four decades later where surveys show 97% character recognition for all Americans over 7 years old.
The game and character were designed by Toru Iwatani and his team of seven Namco employees. We all know and love Iwatani’s iconic character design, inspired by a pizza missing a single slice. Pac-Man is also the only video game character to be recognized by Variety magazine in its list of the “Top 100 Icons of the 20th Century.”