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Genre(s) Action game
Year of Release 1980
Platform(s) Originally arcade, conversions have been made since
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) Namco

Pac-Man is an action arcade game designed by Tōru Iwatani for Namco and first released in Japan in May 1980 under the name Pakkuman (パックマン ).


© Photo: Sandra Pompe
Tōru Iwatani with some of the original design sketches for Pac-man.

I wanted to make a game that would also appeal to women, because arcades back then were really the domain of men. I wanted to make something they could play together on a date, or just on their own. That's why I wanted to make a game that was fun and accessible, and characters that were cute (kawaii).

For the setting I thought of several things that would appeal to ladies, like fashion or shopping. Miy girl friend back then really liked to eat, so that was going to be my theme. When I was eating at Mickey's Pizza, - an American pizza restaurant in Japan, because Japanese pizza's are not really tasty- and had eaten a slice, I looked at the rest of the pizza, and there was the character I was looking for: cute and edible. Pac-Man was born. He was named after the Japanese term for 'the sounds of the movement of the mouth when eating': paku-paku taberu.

The ghosts were also created with the idea of kawaii characters in mind. Something like aliens would not appeal to the ladies, but the colorful little ghosts were really the adversaries I wanted for Pac-Man. It made the rivalry become a bit like Tom and Jerry: adversaries, but with a bit of comic relief.

— Tōru Iwatani, speaking at the 2010 Festival of Games[1]