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Christmas Gift Guide

Countdown to 30 years

30th anniversary logo

Google Pac-Man Doodle

In play

Puck-Man

Puck-Man leaflet

Pac-Man on PC

Arcade Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man

Super Pac-Man

Pac and Pal

Pac Land

Pacmania

Pac-Man on iPhone

Pac-Man on the run

Mitsuru Sugaya's Pac-Man

Pac-Man plus hat

Katsuya Terada's Pac-Man

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.

This is the official countdown timer on Namco's official Pac-Man site. Note the modern, 3D Pac-Man.

Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
The official Pac-Man 30th anniversary logo, created by Namco Bandai to celebrate three decades of Pac-Man.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
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.
Caption by / Photo by Google
A screenshot of a game of Pac-Man being played live on the Google home page.
Caption by / Photo by Google
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."
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
A reproduction of an original Puck-Man leaflet from Japan.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
For most people who came of age in the 1980s, this screenshot brings back visceral memories of long childhood days spent playing Pac-Man. This is a screenshot of the game from a PC version.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
How many billions of quarters were stuffed into Pac-Man arcade games like this one?
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
In 1981, Namco Bandai released Ms. Pac-Man, a very similar version of the game, except that the Pac-Man character now featured a bow. The game was such a hit that it out-sold Pac-Man.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai

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.

Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
In 1983, Namco Bandai came out with its latest Pac-Man sequel, Pac and Pal.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
In 1984, Namco Bandai released Pac Land, the first side-scrolling game in the Pac-Man franchise.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
In 1987, Pacmania was released. It was the first game since the original Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man to have dot-eating be an important part of the game play.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
Nearly 30 years after its original release, Pac-Man is going strong. There are now iPhone and iPad versions of the game. This is a screenshot from the iPhone version of Pac-Man Remix.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
Pac-Man art is also popular. This is "Pac-Man on the run," which depicts the game's ghosts running for their lives after Pac-Man has "chomped down a power pellet."
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
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.
Caption by / Photo by Mitsuru Sugaya/Namco Bandai
Not surprisingly, there are all kinds of Pac-Man items for sale on Namco Bandai's Web site. This is a plush Pac-Man hat.
Caption by / Photo by Namco Bandai
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.
Caption by / Photo by Katsuya Terada/Namco Bandai
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