1980-1981: The Birth of a Legend
1982: Pac-Man Gnaws at Popular Culture
1982: Pac-Man Eats Into Pinball Profits
1983: Friends of Pac-Man Invade
1984-1989: Pac-Popularity Declines
1990-1995: Pac-Man Reborn
1995 -Present: Pac-Man Goes Hi-Techs
Interview With Billy Mitchell
Related Links
Table of Contents

By Doug Trueman

We've compiled a list of facts you probably never knew about Pac-Man. Some of these are also included later in this feature, but we thought it would be best if we assembled them into a list of small, bite-sized pieces.

- Pac-Man is the best-selling coin-operated game in history. Forget Street Fighter 2 and Tetris. In the game's debut year alone, over 100,000 Pac-Man machines were made and sold around the world.

- Namco estimates that the original Pac-Man arcade title has been played more than ten billion times in its 20-year history. Namco's total Pac-Man revenues have reached $100 million... one quarter at a time.

- Pac-Man was inspired by a pizza with a slice missing. Namco designer Tohru Iwatani went out for the evening with some friends and then dove for dinner. The rest is history.

- 1982 saw the debut of ABC's animated cartoon, The Pac-Man Show. It ran for two years as Pac-Man tried to save his friends and Pac-Land from the evil Mezmaron.

- Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia spoofed Ted Nugent's song Cat Scratch Fever and turned it into Pac-Man Fever. The song hit number nine. For its lyrics, click here:

- Dozens of hacked versions of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man exist. These games give the Pac character a speed bonus with the push of a button or more challenging mazes with complex series of turns.

- It took eight people 15 months to complete the original Pac-Man arcade title. Four worked on the hardware, four worked on the software.

- Pac-Man and his fellow Pacs travel 20 percent faster through mazes that have been cleared of dots than when they're eating. If you've got a ghost on your tail, head for open ground.

- Pac-Man has been licensed to more than 250 companies for over 400 products. There are Pac-Man air fresheners, cereal boxes, flip phones, costumes, record books, and even a hot rod.

- The business world has co-opted Pac-Man's name as a technique to protect against a hostile takeover. The defending company would instead swallow the larger company in a move known as the Pac-Man defense.

- In July of 1999, Florida resident and die-hard Pac-Man fan Billy Mitchell achieved the first perfect score in Pac-Man (3,333,360) after playing for six hours straight. He beat all 256 screens eating every dot, fruit, and ghost (all four ghosts were eaten with each power pellet) - using only one Pac-Man!

- The author of this article has a huge Pac-Man pillow on his sofa. He also inexplicably gained 50 pounds over the course of writing this feature.


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