|Release date(s):|| May 22, 1980|
October 26, 1980
|Arcade system||Namco Pac-Man|
|Number of players||One or two players|
|Input methods||4 way joystick|
Pac-Man (パックマン Pakkuman), originally known as Puckman, is the initial game in the Pac-Man series. It was created by Toru Iwatani and released by Namco in 1980, and published by Bally Midway for U.S. distribution. The game would go on to become a cultural icon worldwide.
Pac-Man was originally released under the English name "Puckman". The game's katakana was actually closer to "Pack Man", meaning the original name was likely translated incorrectly. Upon its release in the US, the name was changed to "Pac-Man" due to fear of vandalism of the "P" in "Puck" being changed into an "F". Due to this actually being closer to the intended name, the name was changed to Pac-Man in Japan for subsequent sequels.
The player guides the titular Pac-Man through a maze to eat Pac-Dots; when all dots are eaten, Pac-Man is taken to the next stage. Four ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde roam the maze, trying to catch Pac-Man - if a ghost touches him, a life is lost. When all lives have been lost, the game ends.
Near the corners of the maze are four larger, flashing dots known as Power Pellets, provide Pac-Man with the temporary ability to eat the ghosts. The ghosts turn deep blue, reverse direction, and move slower when Pac-Man eats one. When a ghost is eaten, its eyes return to the ghost home where it is regenerated in its normal color. Blue ghosts flash white before they become dangerous again.
The amount of time the ghosts remain vulnerable varies from one round to the next, but the time period generally becomes shorter as the game progresses. In later stages, the ghosts don't change colors at all, but still reverse direction when a power pellet is eaten.
In addition to Pac-Dots and Power Pellets, bonus items, usually referred to as Fruits (though not all items are fruits) appear near the center of the maze. These items score extra bonus points when eaten. The items change and bonus values increase throughout the game.
A series of intermissions play after certain levels toward the beginning of the game, showing a humorous set of interactions. There are three total, appearing after levels 2, 5, and 9. The third intermission appears several times afterward on later levels.Pac-Man is awarded a single bonus life at 10,000 points by default–DIP switches inside the machine can change the required points (15,000 or 20,000) or disable the bonus life altogether.
- Pac-Dot - 10 points.
- Power Pellet - 50 points.
- Vulnerable Ghosts:
- #1 in succession - 200 points.
- #2 in succession - 400 points.
- #3 in succession - 800 points.
- #4 in succession - 1600 points.
The four ghosts, formerly known as "monsters", are the enemies in the original arcade game. They cycle through different "modes" of behavior, colloquially known as "scatter"–where they retreat to the four corners of the maze–and "chase"–where their A.I. kicks in. Each ghost has unique A.I., programmed so that the game would not get impossibly difficult or boring.
There are certain one-way areas on the maze–namely, the two "T" formations located directly above and below the Ghost Home (the box in the center of the stage)–that the ghosts can travel down through, but can't go up through. There are also two entrances to a tunnel on either side of the maze that Pac-Man can travel through and come out the opposite side of the screen on, which will slow the ghosts down if they enter it. Yet another advantage Pac-Man has over the quartet is that he can turn slightly faster. Once each ghosts' mannerisms are fully learned, they can be easily manipulated by the player to get a very high score. Here is a breakdown of each ghosts' behavior when in chase mode, generally speaking:
- the red ghost, Blinky, doggedly pursues Pac-Man;
- the pink ghost, Pinky, tries to ambush Pac-Man by moving parallel to him;
- the cyan ghost, Inky, tends not to chase Pac-Man directly unless Blinky is near;
- the orange ghost, Clyde, pursues Pac-Man when far from him, but usually wanders away when he gets close.
Here is a set of all of the ghosts' character names (hinting at their behavior), and nicknames. (The alternate names for Puck Man are triggered through a DIP switch.)
When the player gets to the 256th level, while the left side of the maze is fine, the right side becomes a garbled mess of code, therefore making the level impossible. The right side has some Pac-Dots too, but only 9, and some are inedible. The right side of the screen also traps the ghosts and can make Pac-Man go off the screen. If one uses a hack to skip the level, then the game goes back to the first level. Because of this bug, a perfect game only counts the first 255 levels. This is more commonly known as a kill screen.
This level later inspired its own separate game, called Pac-Man 256.
Pac-Man first appeared on home consoles in 1981, and has appeared on nearly every system since. The game has been released for the following systems and devices in some way, shape or form.
- Amstrad CPC
- Apple II
- Atari 400/800/XL/XE
- Atari 2600
- Atari 5200
- Bally Astrocade (renamed "Muncher")
- ColecoVision (cancelled, ROM available)
- Commodore 64
- Commodore VIC-20
- Famicom / NES
- Game Boy
- Game Boy Color
- Game Boy Advance
- Game Gear
- Handheld LCD Games
- IBM PC
- iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.)
- iPod Classic
- Nelsonic Digital Watch
- Neo Geo Pocket Color
- Nintendo 64
- Nintendo DS
- Nintendo 3DS
- Nintendo Switch
- PlayStation 2
- PlayStation 3
- PlayStation 4
- PlayStation Portable
- Plug 'N Play TV Games
- Sega Genesis
- Sega Dreamcast
- Sharp X1
- Sharp X68000
- Super Famicom / SNES
- Tabletop Arcade Machines
- Wii U
- Windows PC
- Windows Phone
- Xbox 360
- Xbox One
- ZX Spectrum
Homebrew versions of Pac-Man have also been released for the Atari 7800, Fairchild Channel F, and MS-DOS, alongside countless "improved" versions of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (one of which, Pac-Man 4K, was officially licensed by Bandai Namco).
In other games
The first Pac-Man is also featured in some newer games in the series. The following Pac-Man games contain the original arcade version.
- Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
- Pac-Man World
- Pac-Man World 2
- Pac-Man World 3
- Pac 'n Roll
- Pac-Man Party
- Pac-Man Party 3D
- Pac-Man and Galaga Dimensions
Namco Museum port
This version of the game, introduced in Namco Museum Volume 1 (1995), is notable for being perhaps the most frequently rereleased "official" version of Pac-Man from 1995 to 2005. This version is easy to identify, as it features an 8-bit border with Puckman artwork surrounding it. Being based off the original's source code, it is mostly faithful to the arcade version, but a few things were altered in gameplay:
- Pinky always aims exactly four spaces in front of Pac-Man when in chase mode (in the original, this became four spaces up and four spaces to the left when Pac-Man was facing up, due to an overflow bug).
- Inky's behavior has been considerably altered; he exclusively aims for Blinky's position in chase mode.
- The ghosts' eyes will not travel up through the one-way paths when returning to regenerate.
- When a ghost is sent back to the Ghost Home to regenerate, they will always come back out instantly, even if Pac-Man lost a life on the current round. (Incidentally, this fixes a glitch that can occur in the original wherein Pac-Man can trap Pinky, Inky, and Clyde in the Ghost Home.)
- Ghosts will exit the Ghost Home to the right if their target position happens to be there (in the original, they will never exit to the right unless the behavior mode changes while they are in the Ghost Home).
- If a bonus fruit appears and Pac-Man eats a ghost, the timer that controls how long the fruit stays onscreen halts with everything else. This makes it impossible for fruit to disappear while Pac-Man is eating a ghost.
Most versions of Pac-Man after 2005 are completely accurate recreations of the arcade version rather than ports (with references to Midway removed); as such, the ghosts all behave as they originally did, and any patterns applicable to the original version will work on these. The Namco Museum 50th Anniversary and Xbox Live Arcade versions were among of the first of them. The latter featured an updated screen border with artwork based on Pac-Man World instead of the original Puckman.
These versions of Pac-Man are either listed in the public domain or are considered abandonware. Clicking the game title will lead you to a playable online version of it from archive.org (mobile compatibility may vary).
- Recommended: Super ABC (Pac-Man multigame kit) (Arcade, 1999)
- Recommended: Pac PC II (Fullscreen Mode) (MS-DOS, 1995)
- Recommended: Champ Pac-em (MS-DOS, 1996)
- Ghostmuncher Galaxian (Arcade, 1981)
- Muncher (Bally Astrocade, 19xx)
- Pac-Man (Apple II, 1983)
- Pac-Man (Atari 400/800/XL/XE, 1982)
- Pac-Man (Atari 2600, 1982)
- Pac-Man (Coleco, Rev. 29) (Tabletop Arcade Machine, 1981)
- Pac-Man (ColecoVision, 1983)
- Pac-Man (Commodore 64, 1983)
- Pac-Man (Game Gear, 1990)
- Pac-Man (IBM PC, 1983)
- Pac-Man (Tomy) (Handheld LCD Game, 1982)
- Pac Man 2 (Entex, Red Pacman Variant) (Handheld LCD Game, 1981)
- For the game's 30th anniversary, Google briefly updated their homepage on May 21, 2010 for 48 hours to allow players to play a version of Pac-Man in a maze based off of the Google Logo. This version plays exactly like the original (including Ghost A.I.), but with the following differences:
- If "Insert Coin" is clicked after the game has started, the Ms. Pac-Man theme plays and two players may then play cooperatively as Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The two play exactly the same except for sound effects made when munching dots.
- The maze, as aforementioned, is derived from the Google logo, and it is no longer symmetrical.
- There are five power pellets instead of four.
- The Google version of Pac-Man has been made permanently available here.
- Toru Iwatani states in a Yahoo Article , that the ghosts were all almost the same color, red. Toru refused the order and on questionnaires to the game testers asking if they would want a single-colored ghost instead of one, none wanted a single-color.
- The game features a rare glitch where Pac-Man can walk through a ghost.
- Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, and Pac-Man Arrangement are the only games in the series to formally feature the ghosts' "character" names.
- The Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2 version of Pac-Man featured a mix of the Puck Man alternate character names and the Pac-Man nicknames as the new default for international audiences. This is the only version of the game to do so, as any other versions either port over the Pac-Man or Puck Man default names (for worldwide and Japan, respectively).
- The Xbox Live Arcade version of Pac-Man features an arcade cabinet in the background of its title screen. It is quite clearly based off of the Puck Man cabinet, but taking a closer look at it will show that all instances of "Puck Man" are replaced with "Pac-Man", and all of the art of Pac-Man on the cabinet has a shorter nose (not unlike the Namco Museum screen border).
- The Pac-Man Dossier – an in-depth look at the game mechanics of Pac-Man