Pac-Man series
File:Pac-Man character art - The Adventure Begins.png
Current appearance of Pac-Man, from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
First appearance Pac-Man (1980)
Created by Tōru Iwatani
Designed by Tōru Iwatani
Voiced by
Marty Ingels (television series)
Martin T. Sherman (Pac-Man World 3)
Debi Derryberry (Street Fighter X Tekken and Pac Man Party)
Erin Mathews (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures TV series)
Erica Mendez (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures video game)

Pac-Man is the protagonist of the popular series of the same name who primarily starred in the arcade game Pac-Man. Ever since its release in the United States, the character has been successful–he spawned Pac-Man merchandise with his image, from t-shirts to toys to handheld video game imitations and even specially shaped pasta; also, a television series produced by Hanna–Barbera aired on ABC from 1982 to 1983.[1]

The origins of Pac-Man are stated by Iwatani himself to be a pizza without a slice;[2] however, he also admittedly said in a 1986 interview that the design of the character also came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for a mouth, kuchi.[3]

Pac-Man became a social phenomenon worldwide, although the reason of his success might have been Pac-Man itself.


Pac-Man and his origins are debated. It is believed that Pac-Man was conceived from a pizza missing a slice;[2] however, Tōru Iwatani said in a 1986 interview that the character's design came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for a mouth, kuchi.[3]

His name comes from the Japanese folk hero "Paku", who was known for his appetite as well as by the Japanese onomatopoeic slang phrase paku-paku taberu.[4] The objective of the original Pac-Man was to control the character through a maze while devouring tiny dots named "pac-dots"; between some stages, an intermission of animations plays.


Video games


Pac-Man first appeared in the original game of the same name, where the objective was to traverse through a maze, eating pac-dots. To keep the game from becoming boring to play, Iwatani added enemies (known variously as "ghosts" and "monsters") with their own diverse personality;[5][6] their moves are highly deterministic. Despite Pac-Man's legacy, Pac-Man himself would not appear again until in 1982, with the arcade release of Super Pac-Man. The gameplay is very similar to that of the original Pac-Man, as the only difference being that the player is required to open doors that contain unique items rather than consume pac-dots, and this time the power-up is a "Super" pellet (the power pellet is included but is less important), which increases Pac-Man's size and invulnerability, transforming him into Super Pac-Man; other than that, gameplay is related to the game.

A modifier chip of the original game named Pac-Man Plus was also released in 1982, despite advertising of the game calling it "Exciting!" and "New!" (this is read on the marquee of the game). This game became very rare in the United States. A game released in 1983 named Professor Pac-Man had gameplay which required a Pac-Man eating a row of dots; the more dots left when a correct answer is given, the higher the score awarded. Despite usage of the Pac-Man character, Professor Pac-Man became a flop due to its slow pace and abandonment of the famous maze game.[7] Another very rare game named Pac & Pal was released in 1983, where, as the original game, Pac-Man travels through a maze. Despite this, new features were included, such as a ghost named Miru.

Pac-Land, released in 1984, introduced a new genre to the series. Instead of controlling Pac-Man through a maze, Pac-Man must travel through Pac-Land, assisting a fairy in reaching her home; when this goal is achieved, Pac-Man returns to his home. It is also the very first game in the series to feature parallax scrolling (due to its location). Other arcade games include Pac-Mania and Pac-Man Arrangement, a remake of the original Pac-Man.

The primary console release was a port of Pac-Man to the Atari 2600. However, it only somewhat resembled the original game, and by summer 1982, unsold copies were still in large quantities.[8][9][10][11][12][13] Also, the famous Pac-Man World was released in 1999 on the PlayStation, and introduced new abilities to him (reminiscent to Mario's and Sonic the Hedgehog's abilities).[14] The game contributed heavily to the series as well as the character; it spawned two sequels and a spin-off as well.


The game Pac-Man World 2 was released as the first sequel of Pac-Man World. It features Pac-Man on an adventure to rescue Pac-Land from an ancient spirit known as Spooky. Its gameplay also features incarnations of classic Namco games, and have been praised by critics (describing them as "perfect emulations"[15]). The player controls Pac-Man through linear, yet three-dimensional landscapes with the objective of simply reaching the end.

In Pac-Man World 3 (released in 2005 to celebrate Pac-Man's 25th anniversary), Pac-Man is teleported by Orson on his birthday. Orson explains that a short evil genius named Erwin has found a way to suck raw energy from the Spectral Realm and created a syphon that can penetrate into it, thus allying with him to defeat Erwin.[16][17]

In other media

Pac-Man starred in the television series of the same name, being voiced by Marty Ingels.[1] At one time, a feature film was in development.[18][19] In 2010, a computer-generated animated series was reported to be in the works.[20][21] Several spin-offs have been released, including Pac-Man World Rally.


The character is generally described as having an appetite similar to the Japanese folk hero Paku.[4] This is also described by the onomatopoeic slang phrase paku-paku taberu,[4] where paku-paku described (the sound of) the mouth movement when widely opened and closed in succession.[22] The character became Namco's mascot due to Pac-Man's legacy.[23] Pac-Man was originally a two-dimensional sprite, but over time developed into a three-dimensional, polygonal model. Little is known of Pac-Man's childhood, although in Pac 'n Roll, a young Pac-Man was being trained by the great Pac-Master.[24]

Power-ups and abilities

In Pac-Man, the character could only become invulnerable to the enemies with the assistance of a power pellet.[25] However, Pac-Man has become more versatile in recent platformers.[25] In Super Pac-Man, a new power-up named a "Super" pellet was introduced, which increased Pac-Man's invulnerability to the enemies and size.

Pac-Man World introduced much of Pac-Man's current platforming abilities.[14] These include the "Butt Bounce" (reminiscent of Mario's Ground Pound ability) and "Rev Roll" (reminiscent of Sonic the Hedgehog's roll ability), respectively.[14] Pac-Man World 3 also introduced new abilities,[16][17] including the "Triple Butt Bounce" (a triple combo of the original ability) and punching.

Reception and legacy


Carlos Borrego alongside Pac-Man

Since the release of Pac-Man in 1980, Pac-Man has become a social phenomenon.[23] He also became an icon of the video game industry, as well as popular culture.[26][27][24] Pac-Man was rated fourth on GameSpot's list of the five most influential video game characters.[28]

The term Pac-Man defense in mergers and acquisitions refers to a hostile takeover target that attempts to reverse the situation and take over its would-be acquirer instead, a reference to Pac-Man's power pellets.[29] According to the Davie-Brown Index, Pac-Man has the highest brand awareness of any video game character among American consumers, recognized by 94 percent of them (surpassing Mario and Sonic).[30] The character also appears in more than 30 officially licensed game spin-offs,[31] as well as in numerous unauthorized clones and bootlegs.[32] Pac-Man also appeals to both genders.[23]

Pac-Man has led to Midway establishing a sequel named Ms. Pac-Man, which most people noted was created without Namco's consent.[33] Pac-Man also became the primary mascot in the video game industry due to Pac-Man's success.[33] Mario creator Shigeru Miyamoto even stated that Pac-Man was his favorite video game character.[34] Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao was nicknamed "Pac-Man" by most people, as well as professional wrestler and football player Adam Jones.[35]

Pac-Man is the first character inducted at the International Video Game Hall of Fame.[36] A hit single named after the character (as well as Pac-Man itself), reached number nine on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in March 1982.[37] That same month, it was certified Gold by the RIAA in the United States.[38] Hip hop emcee Lil' Flip sampled sounds from Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, which he used to record his hit single "Game Over". Namco America filed a lawsuit against Sony Music Entertainment for unauthorized use of these samples.[39][40]


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  3. 3.0 3.1 Lammers, Susan (1986). Programmers at Work: Interviews. New York: Microsoft Press. p. 266. ISBN 0-914845-71-3. 
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  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Mielke, James. "Pac-Man World Review for PlayStation". GameSpot. Retrieved 1999-10-11. 
  15. "Pac-Man World 2 Review". IGN. Retrieved 2007-04-25. 
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  18. "Crystal Sky, Namco and Gaga are game again". Crystal Retrieved on 2008-08-11.
  19. Jaafar, Ali (2008-05-19). "Crystal Sky signs $200 million deal". Variety. Retrieved 2008-09-04. 
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Template:Pac-Man series

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