For other uses of Pac-Man, see Pac-Man (disambiguation).

"Did someone say cake?"
— Pac-Man, Pac-Man World 3

Mr. Pac-Man (Japanese: ミスターパックマン Misutā Pakkuman), also known as Sr. Pac-Man (or Pacster in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures), is the protagonist of the Pac-Man series. He is Namco's famed mascot and was created by Toru Iwatani. Since his first appearance in 1980, Pac-Man has become a legendary video game icon and is one of the most recognizable video game characters in the world.[1]



Pac-Man's origin is a confusing mystery, with two unique claims that contradict each other, neither of which can be 100% proven true or false.

Pac-Man's first appearance was not in the original arcade game; unknown to many, the series originated as a line of toys by Tomy in 1974, six years prior to the game. The first of these was a toy bank, in which Pac-Man (also referred to as "Je Je" on some models) would munch down coins by flipping them into his mouth via a lever. Subsequent toys include a board game and a water game, both of which were released overseas as "Mr. Mouth".

The three Pac-Man toys released in the 1970s

The arcade game, originally called Puckman in Japan, was created by Namco employee Toru Iwatani. Some inspiration was clearly drawn from the toy line (although the gameplay premise itself was unique). The exact details of Tomy's relationship with Namco are unknown, but it is likely that the usage of Pac-Man was initially unauthorized.

What is known is that Tomy worked out a licensing deal with Namco, becoming the only company to sell Pac-Man merchandise in Japan. Tomy also likely made Namco change the name from "puck" to "pac" on subsequent releases. Namco, to this day, takes heavy proceedings to try and deny the existence of the toy line.

Pac-Man's original Japanese artwork.

According to more commonly cited reports, Pac-Man was based on a pizza with the first quarter of it cut out, which inspired Toru Iwatani to create the character. Sources also state the name change was due to the fear of the name "puck" closely resembling an obscenity, and the possibility of people from other countries defacing the machine. This story sounds suspiciously like a cover-up, but still cannot be completely disproven.

Popularity in Japan and Overseas


International artwork.

Like other video game franchises. Pac-Man was developed in Japan and quickly became wildly popular. However, his debut in the United States of America proved even more successful, and Pac-Man became the most popular arcade game at the time of its release.

For unknown reasons, an alternate design of Pac-Man was made for international release which bore little to no resemblance to his original design.

Atari's recreation

In 1981, the game company Atari released a new Pac-Man video game for its 2600 video game system. In what is now widely regarded as one of the biggest mistakes in home console history, Atari produced twelve million cartridges, even though it had only sold ten million home console units. They had hoped people who did not already own the system would buy it just to play Pac-Man. The game was universally panned by critics and fans alike for its flickering ghosts and slow moving character. Only seven million cartridges sold, leaving Atari stuck with around five million unsold cartridges.

Midway sequels

After the huge success of the first Pac-Man game, the American distributor, Bally Midway, made several unofficial sequels, without Namco's approval. Each title starred a newly-created member of Pac-Man's family. The first game was Ms. Pac-Man, which starred his wife and featured a larger challenge than the previous game. After a licensing dispute, the rights for the game were turned over to Namco.

After the huge success of the first two sequels, Midway created several more unofficial sequels without Namco's consent; these include Jr. Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, Professor Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man. While the former two were somewhat successful, the latter two were commercial failures (with Professor Pac-Man in particular selling less than 500 machines). Namco eventually terminated their license with Midway due to the unauthorized line of sequels.

Namco sequels

Namco also produced several arcade sequels of their own. Namco took a more "quality over quantity" approach with their sequels, leading to more unique gameplay between titles. These include Super Pac-Man, Pac & Pal and Pac-Land. They were highly successful in Japan, but received little attention overseas.

The Pac-Man Animated Series


Pac-Man from the television show.

In 1982, Hanna-Barbera produced the animated television series Pac-Man, which featured the misadventures of Pac-Man and his family in Pac-Land. Pac-Man is seen in the show taking care of his family, going to work guarding the Power Pellet Forest, or defeating ghosts when he needs to. The Ghosts have a leader in this show - a pale green-skinned humanoid named Mezmaron - who wanted to defeat Pac-Man and seize the Power Pellets.

Pac-Man was often addressed as "Packy" by his wife Ms. Pac-Man, who he would address as "Pepper". Pac-Man himself was voiced by veteran comedian and writer Marty Ingalls.

This show's unique setting would inspire the creation of the game Pac-Land, which included a rendition of the show's theme song and graphics based on the Hanna-Barbera character designs.

3D Era

Pac man

Pac-Man's appearance since Pac-Man World.

Pac-Man reached practically unparalleled fame by the 1990's, with games constantly being released throughout the decade. After numerous other console games, Namco released Pac-Man World, a game that would cater to the ever-growing popularity of 3D platformers. The game was extremely successful, resulting in two sequels and a spinoff title.

Throughout the 2000s, many original Pac-Man games continued to be released, although with reception being mostly mixed, with some harsh negatives between them. Around 2005, Pac-Man releases heavily slowed down, with many games scheduled for an 05/06 release being flat-out canceled.

Reboot and Re-Design

Pac-Man character art - The Adventure Begins

Pac-Man's current appearance from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures onward.

For his 30th anniversary, Pac-Man received a complete reboot. The entire series was completely redesigned, removing almost every character besides Pac-Man himself, giving him a new cast of friends and updated versions of the Ghosts. In addition to several game releases, like Pac-Man Party, an animated series titled Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures was produced, airing on Disney XD in the US. The show spawned two video games, simply called Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 1 and 2.

While sales numbers are undocumented, it is believed the reboot as a whole was a commercial failure. The show went on hiatus in 2015, and has not appeared on television since. The games following the reboot were very poorly received, even more so than the 2000s titles - Ghostly Adventures 1 and 2 especially.

Despite this, one Pac-Man game from this timeframe scored a perfect 10/10 from critics - Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, a game taking the style of the classic 80s Pac-Man titles. After the game's huge success, Namco dropped the reboot completely and is currently releasing titles more in line with the Championship Edition series.


Pac-Man Arcade series


Main article: Pac-Man (game)

"Wakka, wakka, wakka!" - Pac-Man

Pac-Man's first adventure chronologically took place in Pac-Man, wherein he had to fight off a group of Ghosts consisting of Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde while trying to escape an immense maze. Many other titles in the franchise, such as Super Pac-Man and Pac-Mania, follow the same basic plot.

Ms. Pac-Man

Main article: Ms. Pac-Man (game)

In the game Ms. Pac-Man, Pac-Man fell in love with Ms. Pac-Man. Pac-Man only appeared in cutscenes and was not playable.



Pac-Man, as he appears in Pac-Land

Main article: Pac-Land

Sometime later in the game Pac-Land, Pac-Man must travel through his homeland of Pac-Land to save the fairies who have been taken by the mischievous Ghosts.

Pac-Man World series

Pac-Man World

"Oh, no! They're gone!"

- Pac-Man's expression to the kidnapping of his family and friends


Pacman, finding Professor Pacman's gift

His next adventure took place in Pac-Man World. On the day of his 20th birthday, Pac-Man's Family was planning a big surprise party for him, but the evil Pac-Man impostor Toc-Man sent out his minions to kidnap his entire family. Pac-Man set out to rescue his family and get rid of Toc-Man (who, in the end, is revealed to be a ghost named Orson).

Pac-Man World 2

In Pac-Man World 2, the Ghost Gang sneaked into the Pac-Village. They unwittingly picked the Golden Fruit off the tree in the center of the village, releasing Spooky, an ancient ghost imprisoned underneath. Pac-Man must travel from Pac-Land to Ghost Island to reclaim the Golden Fruit and stop Spooky.

Pac-Man World 3

On his 25th birthday, Pac-Man is suddenly teleported all around Pac-Village and into a waste dump. The one responsible for this was Orson, the evil ghost from the first game, who desperately needs Pac-Man's help.

Pac-Man World Rally

Main article: Pac-Man World Rally

In the racing game Pac-Man World Rally, Pac-Man appears as one of the playable characters. Pac-Man is a fast character and drives a "light", four-wheeler vehicle.

Pac 'n Roll

Main article: Pac 'n Roll


"I wanna train, Pac-Master!" - Pac-Man to Pac-Master


Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man in their youth.

Pac-Man's first adventure (prior to the reboot) canonically began in the DS game Pac 'n Roll. In his youth, Pac-Man trained under the mighty Pac-Master during his summer vacation. He taught Pac-Man all about fighting and power pellets, so he could help in defending Pac-Land from the many Ghosts that plagued it. During his training he grew close to Pac-Master's family, he especially grew close to Pac-Master's beautiful daughter who would one day become his future sweetheart, Ms. Pac-Man.

Sadly, the joy would not last for long, as a young group of Ghosts were planning to summon a powerful Ghost named Golvis, who had been banished to the far reaches of space, to defeat Pac-Master. Golvis used his magic guitar Jack to turn every Pac-Person into limbless orbs, thus making them unable to move. The guardian spirit of Pac-Land, Krystal, temporarily defeated Golvis, but was only capable of saving the young Pac-Man. She then convinces Pac-Man to help her save Pac-Land, as he is the only one left. After traveling throughout all of Pac-Land they finally reach Golvis' home base where, with their combined forces, finally defeat Golvis, thus restoring the bodies and saving all the Pac-People.

Pac-Man Monsters

Main article: Pac-Man Monsters

After a new evil comes to Pac-Land, Pac-Man must travel far and wide defeating and recruiting all manner of Ghosts and Monsters while gaining more power to combat the new evil.

Pac-Man 256

Main article: Pac-Man 256

A game seemingly taking place right after the original Pac-Man, in which Pac-Man must continue to survive against the ghosts in the maze while also trying to escape from the evil Glitch destroying everything.



Mario and Pac-Man

Kick / Kick Man

Pac-Man's very first video game guest shot was in Bally Midway's 1981 arcade game Kick, where he appeared as a power-up. To further capitalize on the success of Pac-Man, the game was renamed Kick Man to further connect the two.

Mario Kart

Pac-Man has appeared in all three Mario Kart Arcade GP titles. Alongside Mario and all his friends, he is joined by Ms. Pac-Man and Blinky.

other Namco titles


Pac-Man in Rally X Remix, a game from Namco Museum Remix.

Pac-Man has had many cameos in other Namco titles. One of the most prevalent cases is in Namco Museum Remix, where Pac-Man appears in every single remixed game. Pac-Man also has smaller background cameos in games like Mappy Kids and Tinkle Pit.

Street Fighter X Tekken

830px-Dynamic duo

Pac-Man and "Bad Box Art" Megaman ready to fight in Street Fighter X Tekken.

Pac-Man appears in Street Fighter X Tekken as an exclusive guest character. In battle, he pilots a Mokujin-like mech. Here, Pac-Man has few lines, so little is known about his personality save his immense hunger. In his story, he seeks the box known as Pandora.

Wreck-It Ralph

Pacman wreck-it ralph

Pac-Man's cameo appearance in Wreck-It Ralph.

Pac-Man also makes a cameo appearance in Disney's 2012 film Wreck-It Ralph, where he was shown at Fix-It Felix Jr.'s Penthouse party, commemorating his game's 30th anniversary. Later, Ralph loses his temper and accidentally wrecks a cake, pelting Pac-Man with bits of it, and Pac-Man does a jaw drop at Ralph's behavior. Here, Pac-Man's appearance here shows him resembling his in-game sprite rather than any of his official artwork designs by Namco.

Everybody's Golf / Hot Shots Golf

Pac-Man HotShotsGolf

Pac-Man holding his signature golf club.

Pac-Man appears in Everybody's Golf 6 (known as Hot Shots Golf: World Invitational in North America) as a playable guest golfer via DLC. Pac-Man's a Novice player, and unlike the other golfers in the game, starts off with MAX loyalty. He also comes with his own gear set which increases the player's power.

Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U


Pac-Man's Artwork for Super Smash Bros.

Pac-Man appears as a third party character, along with Sonic and Mega Man, in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U. His appearance and moveset is largely influenced by arcade Pac-Man and other Namco titles from the 80s (most prominently Pac-Man, Super Pac-Man, Pac-Land and Mappy). The game also contains two stages based off of Pac-Man games: a Wii U stage based off of Pac-Land, and a 3DS stage based off of the classic Pac-Man maze.


Pacman Pixels

Pac-Man in Pixels.

Pac-Man appeared as an antagonist in the 2015 film Pixels as one of the arcade invaders attacking New York City. When confronted by the films protagonists, Toru Iwatani is among them and tries to reason with his creation, even calling him his son. However his touching words have no affect on the alien Pac-Man who proceeds to bite off Iwatani's hand and continue rampaging through the city.

While eating everything in his path, Pac-Man is then chased by the heroes in their souped-up ghost cars which they use to tackle Pac-Man with fields of energy which KO him on impact. After several chases throughout the city and three hits, Pac-Man is seemingly destroyed and the city saved. At the end of the film, Iwatani's hand is restored by the aliens after their defeat.

Kamen Rider Heisei Generations: Dr. Pac-Man vs. Ex-Aid & Ghost with Legend Rider


Dr. Pac-Man, the main antagonist of the film.


Pac-Man is attacking Kamen Rider Ghost and Kamen Rider Ex-Aid.

This film is the eighth of a series of Kamen Rider crossover films called Movie Wars. Much like in Pixels, Pac-Man is an antagonist, but isn't actually at fault as his likeness was used by the main villain to infect the world with a virus of his likeness.

A Pac-Man game themed item, known as the Pac Adventure Gashat, is given to Kamen Rider Ex-Aid in a spin-off YouTube Special. Numerous references are made to the original game with this power-up (such as Ex-Aid needing to obtain a 'Power Cookie', based on the Power Pellet, to be able to successfully damage his foe).

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Starlord as PacMan

Peter Quill/Star-Lord as Pac-Man in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Pac-Man also has a small cameo in the film Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The main protagonist, Star-Lord, conjured up a Pac-Man form to fight against the main antagonist Ego.



Pac-Man's voracious appetite.

Pac-Man loves to eat. His regular meal includes Pac-Dots and fruits such as strawberries, green grapes, cherries, oranges, peaches, bananas, pears, apples, Power Pellets and ghosts. He also seems very good at mazes, due to his extensive time in them.

In the 1980's cartoon and the later games of Pac-Man (before the "Ghostly Adventures" Era), Pac-Man was a fairly easygoing sort and a dedicated father and husband. While he would often get perplexed by most situations he found himself in, he would always come out on top of them.

In the newer show/spinoff, he is shown to love making jokes and puns about the powers the berries give him, such as when he eats an ice berry, he often says "Cool". Other then that, there was not much to his character other than his appetite, as Namco redid the character with a very confusing background.


World series

Pac-Man has different abilities as well as those received from Power Ups found in the Pac-Man World games.

Butt Bounce

This attack can be used by jumping with the X button, then pressing it again while in air. There is a rare power-up where if the player touches it, Pac-Man gains the ability to do a Super Butt Bounce where if the player does the control for a normal butt bounce, a huge explosion will occur and any enemies in a certain radius will be terminated. It can only be used once per power-up.

Rev Roll

Pac-Man will run in place at a high speed and releasing the button will have him roll into a ball in any direction in which he is pointed. Using the Rev Roll on a ramp will send him high into the air. It can be used to destroy most enemies. It is similar to Sonic's Spin Dash.

Pac-Dot Shoot

If Pac-Man has at least one Pac-Dot he can shoot one from his hand like a bullet and damage enemies. It is similar to Mega Buster from Mega Man series.

Super Pac-Dot Shoot

This attack is a stronger form of the previous attack. To use this attack, hold down the O button and Pac-Man will do the exact same thing, except he will spin around and then shoot a huge blast of Pac-Dots from his hand. There is also a requirement for this attack. Pac-Man must have at least 10 Pac-Dots to use it.


If Pac-Man enters water, he instantly floats on the water. To go underwater, press and hold the triangle button. To go back to the surface, press and hold the X button. Pac-Man can do a dolphin flip if you jump out of the water while holding the X button.

Flip Kick

By jumping in the air, and pressing the Square or X buttons, Pac-Man jumps in the air, and flips with his foot extended. This can be used to smash high up boxes.

Steel Body

Steel Pac power

Pac-Man's steel body from the Steel Ball Power Up.

Using the Steel Ball Power Up, Pac-Man's body will become steel and he can hardly be damaged. He can stand on fire and walk across lava.

Tiny Pac/Shrink Pellet

Using the Shrink Pellet Pac-Man will shrink in size and will be able to go through small doors. But enemies can squish him like a bug. Pac-Man is very good at using this ability. It is very uncommon for him to be attacked when he is very small.


Using the O or B button, Pac-Man can punch at enemies.

Electro Shock

Electric shock

Pac-Man giving Armalopes a zap.

With the Electro-Shock Power Pellet, Pac-Man can also perform an Electric Shock with the same button command. Pac-Man will be able to shoot electricity from his hands and can damage or stun enemies.

Triple Butt Bounce

If you hit the X or A button 4 times, Pac-Man will preform a Triple Butt Bounce. A small shockwave comes out of Pac-Man.It can kill up to 2 enemies at a time.

Ribbon Ring Power

Ribbon power

The afterimage will close in on enemies when formed into a ring.

Using the Red Ribbon Power Pellet Pac-Man's body will glow. When running a red afterimage will follow behind him. If he creates a ring around enemies the ring will close and do damage to them.



  • This character gave an alias to a famous athlete.
  • Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, has stated that Pac-Man is his favorite video game character.
  • Due to his popularity, Pac-Man appears or is referenced in a wide range of media, such as movies, TV shows, and cartoons.
    • Many forms of media make use of the sound effects from Atari's ill-fated adaptation of Pac-Man. In the soap opera "Days of Our Lives", sounds from the game are usually dubbed in when kids play video games. The death sound was also incorporated into the theme for Lord Crump, a villain from Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door. Many other examples exist as well.
    • In the early 1980's, a Dick Tracy storyline featured a plot point that centered around two video games named "Pac-Rat" and "Kongy-Donk".
    • Pac-Man made a cameo appearance in the original TRON movie. A graphic bearing an identical likeness to him could be seen briefly on a map screen in front of the film's secondary villain, Sark, as he directs tank in pursuit of protagonists Flynn and Tron. You could even hear Pac-Man's signature eating sound.
    • In a parody of Time Magazine's annual "Man of the Year" issue, MAD Magazine did a cover featuring Pac-Man as "Man of the Year". For the sole purpose of the cover he was given the name "Irving Pac".
    • Funnily enough, Pac-Man appeared on an actual Time Magazine cover in 1982, in the form of a political parody.
    • In the 2010 film "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World", the titular character, Scott Pilgrim (Michael Cera) commonly tells people about Pac-Man's original name "Puck-Man" and how people would vandalize the name, even using it as a pickup line. Various sounds from the game appear in the film as well.
  • Pac-Man and Mario share a prominent yet friendly rivalry. The names however have a big comparison as Mario was originally known as "Jumpman" sounding similar to "Pac-Man".
  • Pac-Man was the main mascot for the children's play area "Pac-Man Land" which came out in 1983 in Six Flags Over Texas. It was changed to "Looney Tunes Land" in 1985.


  1. According to the Davie-Brown Index, Pac-Man and Mario have the highest brand awareness of any video game characters among consumers. Davie Brown Celebrity Index: Mario, Pac-Man Most Appealing Video Game Characters Among Consumers - PR Newswire.

External Links

[v · e · ?]