May 22 is the 30th anniversary of the release of the most popular video game ever, Pac-Man. The game still resonates today.
Countdown to 30 years
On May 22, Namco Bandai's Pac-Man will turn 30 years old. The game was originally released in Japan on that date in 1980--but not in the United States until October of the same year. And though video games have come a very long way since then, Pac-Man is still considered one of the most influential games of all time, and is the most recognized video game character in history.
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, Google on Friday unveiled its official Pac-Man "doodle," or home page logo. It is the first-ever truly interactive Google Doodle, and allows users access to a fully-playable version of Pac-Man, directly through their browser.
When it was first released, Pac-Man was known as Puck-Man because of the eating sound for "chomp" in Japan, which is "paku-paku." But because of the potential for the "P" in "Puck-Man" to chip off and look like an "F," "Puck-Man" was rejected in the United States and renamed "Pac-Man."
In 1982, Namco Bandai released Super Pac-Man as a Japanese sequel to the original game.
That same year, an American Pac-Man cartoon that ran in ABC's prime-time schedule was released by Hanna-Barbera Productions. It had viewer ratings as high as 56 percent. Also that year, the song "Pac-Man Fever" from Buckner and Garcia came out and made it to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.
Namco Bandai has released a series of artists' renditions of scenes from Pac-Man. This one is by cartoonist and novelist Mitsuru Sugaya, the creator of the cartoon "Game Center Arashi (eng: Game Arcade, Arashi)." The piece shows Arashi controlling Pac-Man and chasing down some ghosts. "Game Center Arashi" is a hit Japanese cartoon about a Arashi Ishino, a young boy obsessed with video games.
Another piece in Namco's series of artist renderings of Pac-Man is this one by Katsuya Terada. Terada is known in many fields, including cartoons, games, illustrations, animation, and the design of movie characters.