The universally beloved arcade game Pac-Man remains one of the most famous video games around the world. It is one of the lasting legacies of Masaya Nakamura, also known as the “Father of Pac-Man”, who founded Namco, the Japanese company behind the game. Nakamura has died at the age of 91.

It was Nakamura who suggested the name, a shortened version of “pakku”, the noise the game’s protagonist makes every time he gobbles pellets and ghosts. Since its debut in 1980, Pac-Man has become one of the highest grossing video games of all time, and its iconic status has made it part of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC and Museum of Modern Art in New York.

But that’s the story everyone knows. The video above chronicles other lesser-known stories from the making of Pac-Man, culled from an interview with Toru Itawani, the game’s creator, gave in 2011. For instance, the video game was designed to bring women to the arcades of Japan, a formerly untapped audience for gaming.

It was also the first game that had characters who (vaguely) resembled human figures. Before this games mostly involved spaceships, explosions and racing cars. The video also points to the connection between the game and the worldwide crash of the video-game industry in the 1980s.

Before video games, Namco was involved in amusement park rides for children, and before Pac-Man, the company had made this arcade game.


If this whets your appetite to play the game, here’s the link to the Google Doodle from 2011 that let visitors to the homepage do just that.