Except maybe the little Space Invaders aliens, PAC-MAN is surely the oldest video game hero. Donkey Kong and Mario, who then clashed with barrels, only appeared a year after him… It was indeed on May 22, 1980 that Namco released an arcade machine quickly called to become cult: Puck -Man, signed by Toru Iwatani. The game and its character will be renamed PAC-MAN for export to the United States, and avoid customers of arcade halls scribbling the terminals to transform the “P” of Puck-Man into “F”… (story true!).
In 40 years of career, the game became cult, saw its character exploited in thirty suites, adaptations and spin-off, and became the most popular brand in the video game industry, with a recognition rate 94% in the United States, and more than 90% worldwide.
The party started a little early, when the famous yellow ball participated in the #StayAtHome movement while the world was confined. PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 was then offered free to players on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. The celebrations will continue for a few weeks with several releases of games, records, and other goodies.
It’s first of all PAC-MAN Live Studio coming to Twitch. A version of the arcade game cut for streaming, which will send 4 players to compete against each other who will try to eat more PAC-Erasers than their opponents … Bandai Namco also promises us new PAC-MAN games (in the plural!) For the end of 2020 without giving more details.
On the goodies side, the maker of 1UP kiosks is releasing special anniversary versions of its various arcade game machines. Less luxurious, but just as fun and more affordable, Numskull distributes a whole series of objects bearing the image of the character; note in particular the terminal on the 1/4 scale, signed by Toru Iwatan, and limited to 256 copies (fans will have the reference…!). Sold around 330 €, it is also available without signature, at half price.
Finally, what would a party be without music? And for its 40th anniversary, PAC-MAN has the luxury of having the legendary Ken Ishii behind the decks. The veteran of Japanese electro thus composed the theme Join The PAC, celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the game, and whose clip will be reminiscent of the series The Get Down … From May 22 to July 24, 2020, new songs will then be offered regularly on streaming platforms (Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Qobuz and Deezer), then brought together on a compilation PAC-MAN 40th Anniversary Collaboration. The PAC-MAN & GALAGA DIMENSIONS, PAC-MANIA and PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX soundtracks will also be available on the same streaming services.
Of course, classic games are still available on almost all media, from the most recent to the most retro!