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Ghost-Wary, dot eating Pac-Man turns 25 today
AP ^ | June 14, 2005 | Matt Slagle

Posted on 06/14/2005 8:27:09 PM PDT by Nascardude

For a video game, Pac-Man is getting downright old. The ghost-wary hero with an insatiable appetite for dots turns 25 this month.

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From the early 1980s "Pac-Mania" to today's endless sequels and rip-offs, the original master of maze management remains a bright yellow circle on the cultural radar.

But there was more to Pac-Man's broad appeal than eating dots and dodging on-screen archrivals Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde.

"This was the first time a player took on a persona in the game. Instead of controlling inanimate objects like tanks, paddles and missile bases, players now controlled a `living' creature," says Leonard Herman, author of "Phoenix: The Rise and Fall of Videogames." "It was something that people could identify, like a hero."

It all began in Japan, when Toru Iwatani, a young designer at Namco, caught inspiration from a pizza that was missing a slice. Puck-Man, as it was originally called, was born. Because of obvious similarities to a certain four-letter profanity, "Puck" became "Pac" when it debuted in the U.S. in 1980.

Its success spawned a romantic interest (Ms. Pac-Man), a child (Junior Pac-Man), a cartoon show and hundreds of licensed products. The phenomenon even reached the pop music charts when "Pac-Man Fever" by Buckner & Garcia drove us all crazy in 1982.

Billy Williams, the first and only person known to play a perfect game of Pac-Man (he racked up a score of 3,333,360 after clearing all 256 levels in more than six hours in 1999, according to video game record keepers Twin Galaxies) says Pac's popularity was in its nonviolent simplicity.

"The fact that it's cute, it's almost like a hero running around the board from bad guys. It's not an appeal based on violence," the 39-year-old from Hollywood, Fla., said. "Whether it was an 80-year-old lady or a kid, everyone could adapt to the Pac-Man world."

Billions of quarters later, Pac-Man's influence continues.

As part of a final project for a class in New York University's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program last year, students with cell phones and Wi-Fi Internet connections mimicked the game, tracking their movements on a grid spanning several city blocks.

They called this analog re-enactment, where four people dressed as ghosts searched for Pac-Man on the streets around New York's Washington Square Park, Pac-Manhattan.

"We never had anyone clear the entire board," said Frank Lantz, a game designer who taught the course.

Namco, which can't offer an exact date for Pac-Man's birth, sold 293,822 of the arcade machines between 1980 and '87. It shows no signs of giving up on the franchise.

The company has several new games this year, including "Pac-Mania 3D," "Pac-Man World 3," Pac-Pix" and "Pac-Man Pinball." It even began making a special 25th anniversary edition of the old arcade machine.

"People say, `Who buys Pac-Man?' It's one of the few games where the answer is, `Everyone,'" said Scott Rubin, general manager of Namco America.

Herman said Pac-Man's place in video game history is forever secure, saying: "It was a milestone of video game history."


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: genx; happybirthday; videogames
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I'm 3 years older than Pac-Man. :)

I'll tell you though, I remember as a little boy in the eighties how popular video arcades were and how there'd always be swarms of people around the Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man games. To me, it's still a game worth playing. There are hardly any real video arcades left anymore. Atleast here in Virginia. And what ones there are only have 3 kinds of games in them. You got your gun games, racing games, and those stupid machines where you can waste 10 dollars trying to win a prize worth 10 cents. I miss the old classic arcade games that I remember so well from my summer vacations as a youth. I miss the Pac-Mans, the Galaxias, the Asteroids, the Burgertime, the Techmo Bowls, etc.


1 posted on 06/14/2005 8:27:10 PM PDT by Nascardude
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To: Nascardude

Amazing - this game has aged well. A real classic.


2 posted on 06/14/2005 8:30:39 PM PDT by AFPhys ((.Praying for President Bush, our troops, their families, and all my American neighbors..))
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To: AFPhys

Yep I remember playing pacman on our atari. Way too much time playing pacman on our atari.
Can't believe its been 20!


3 posted on 06/14/2005 8:33:16 PM PDT by Aleighanne
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To: Nascardude
I'm a Pitfall Harry man, myself. :)

4 posted on 06/14/2005 8:33:56 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: Nascardude
"This was the first time a player took on a persona in the game. Instead of controlling inanimate objects like tanks, paddles and missile bases, players now controlled a `living' creature," says Leonard Herman, author of "Phoenix: The Rise and Fall of Videogames."

Not so, there were lots of games where players controlled a "persona". They just weren't as popular as PacMan.

Back in the late 70's, I was a member of the San Francisco Apple Core computer club. Other members were always demonstrating stuff they created for the Apple-II. I remember one time one of our youngest members (think he was 12) demonstrated a graphics game where you controlled a knife-wielding punk, who could cut, slash, and throw knives at victims where blood spurted and wounds would appear. Our eyes went wide at seeing this. Someone asked how long it took him to write the program; he said he started a a few days ago. He's probably rich now.

5 posted on 06/14/2005 8:46:44 PM PDT by roadcat
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To: Nascardude
Whew memories.

Centipede, galaga, asteroids, tron.

Put a ton of quarters in those machines.

6 posted on 06/14/2005 8:53:32 PM PDT by Dane ( anyone who believes hillary would do something to stop illegal immigration is believing gibberish)
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To: Nascardude
Zaxxon was my favorite


7 posted on 06/14/2005 8:54:47 PM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: Dane

"Whew memories.
Centipede, galaga, asteroids, tron."

Live it again my brother.....

MAME!
http://www.mame.net/
Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator!

Roms? Usenet group...
alt.binaries.emulators.mame


8 posted on 06/14/2005 8:57:25 PM PDT by Names Ash Housewares
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To: Nascardude
This was my forte in video games.

Even the PS2 games are nothing more than 3d murder fests. (and booooring at that)

9 posted on 06/14/2005 8:58:46 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Man, You should have seen them, kickin Edgar Allen Poe! Koo Koo Kachoo)
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To: Nascardude

Wocka wocka wocka wocka wocka wocka


They sure made their money off of us, lol. But I had the patterns down, darn it!!!!

Jeez I'm old.


10 posted on 06/14/2005 8:59:05 PM PDT by eyespysomething ( A penny saved is a government oversight)
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To: qam1

wocka wocka wocka ping


11 posted on 06/14/2005 9:05:00 PM PDT by kenth
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To: kenth; ItsOurTimeNow; PresbyRev; tortoise; Fraulein; StoneColdGOP; Clemenza; malakhi; m18436572; ...
Xer Ping

Ping list for the discussion of the politics and social (and sometimes nostalgic) aspects that directly effects Generation Reagan / Generation-X (Those born from 1965-1981) including all the spending previous generations (i.e. The Baby Boomers) are doing that Gen-X and Y will end up paying for.

Freep mail me to be added or dropped. See my home page for details and previous articles.  

12 posted on 06/14/2005 9:12:32 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: Nascardude
Another classic.


13 posted on 06/14/2005 9:14:20 PM PDT by Larry Lucido
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To: Names Ash Housewares
Remember...
Shop Smart
Shop S Mart!

Here's a little pic fur ya

He's Got A Plan

Seven Dead Monkeys Page O Tunes

14 posted on 06/14/2005 9:17:48 PM PDT by rawcatslyentist (Man, You should have seen them, kickin Edgar Allen Poe! Koo Koo Kachoo)
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To: Names Ash Housewares

Your evil twin has made its appearance on this thread. ;-)


15 posted on 06/14/2005 9:21:05 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady." - Tolkien)
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To: TheBigB
Me, I always preferred the next generation Galaxians, Gyruss, which had bitchin' theme music, too--Bach!


16 posted on 06/14/2005 9:23:44 PM PDT by LibertarianInExile (<-- sick of faux-conservatives who want federal government intervention for 'conservative things.')
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To: eyespysomething
Wocka wocka wocka wocka wocka wocka

That's exactly the sound effect I was thinking of when I read this thread. LOL ;-)

17 posted on 06/14/2005 9:25:17 PM PDT by Pyro7480 ("All my own perception of beauty both in majesty and simplicity is founded upon Our Lady." - Tolkien)
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To: Nascardude

Not to be picky but the picture,

How can you only have a score of 460 on the 1st Apple??

And a High score of only 1240?

But yes, Pac-Man was an all-time classic. Best game until Gauntlet came out 5 years later



18 posted on 06/14/2005 9:29:01 PM PDT by qam1 (There's been a huge party. All plates and the bottles are empty, all that's left is the bill to pay)
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To: Nascardude

19 posted on 06/14/2005 9:29:36 PM PDT by dfwgator (Flush Newsweek!)
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To: Larry Lucido
QBert...

#$&#$&%$@&%&%^@%#$$^#^#%%#^

20 posted on 06/14/2005 9:30:38 PM PDT by Dan from Michigan (Defeat Stabenow in 06!!!!)
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To: Pyro7480

I was just surprised I could spell it as easily as I could!


21 posted on 06/14/2005 9:31:15 PM PDT by eyespysomething ( A penny saved is a government oversight)
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To: Nascardude
Anybody remember an arcade game that involved piloting a "lunar lander?" One had to touch-down in a specific area and at the right speed to score.

Berserk was my game (humanoid trapped in a maze with robots). When I was in college and went to the arcade, all the kids would crowd around to watch me play. One shot, one kill . . . oh, those were the days.

22 posted on 06/14/2005 9:31:45 PM PDT by 1rudeboy (Intruder Alert! Intruder Alert!)
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To: Larry Lucido

I used to play that game, but am having one of many senior moments and can't recall it's name. Would you please tell me before it haunts me for days?


23 posted on 06/14/2005 9:34:58 PM PDT by BBT
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To: BBT

Q*bert


24 posted on 06/14/2005 9:37:44 PM PDT by TheBigB (Why yes, I -do- rock! Thanks for noticing!)
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To: Larry Lucido

Yeah, but that Q*Bert sure had a filthy mouth.


25 posted on 06/14/2005 9:38:49 PM PDT by dfwgator (Flush Newsweek!)
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To: Dane
I still love this game!


26 posted on 06/14/2005 9:40:08 PM PDT by kstewskis ("I don't know what I know, but I know that it's big..." .........Jerry Fletcher)
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To: Dane

I fell in love with Pac-Man and Donkey Kong my last couple years of college...many quarters down the drain, but it was fun and a great escape from academic pressures.


27 posted on 06/14/2005 9:43:15 PM PDT by GnuHere
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To: 1rudeboy
It was Lunar Lander by Atari. This screenshot is from an emulator, but if memory serves it's available on a CD-ROM from Atari.


28 posted on 06/14/2005 9:43:30 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (Help control the Leftist population. Have them spayed or neutered. )
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To: kstewskis
Wow, I liked that game too! Galactia wasn't it called.

I am getting good at this one, years of practice.

Ms Packman was my favorite.

29 posted on 06/14/2005 9:45:52 PM PDT by Syncro
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To: Nascardude

I was the MASTER at Kung Fu Master, my best score was over 400,000 points. 3rd Dragon.

Kung Fu Master was a very fast paced game and garnered alot of looks from others, especially in my expediency at eliminating the bosses on each floor.

I also loved Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Galaga (best score over 400,000), Joust, and Star-Wars (best score over 1,500,000)

There are many others, too numerous to mention. I was an 80's child.

 

30 posted on 06/14/2005 9:46:05 PM PDT by lmr (Thanks to tet68, this tagline has been updated)
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To: 1rudeboy

http://www.vavasour.ca/jeff/games.html#atari80


31 posted on 06/14/2005 9:47:05 PM PDT by JoJo Gunn (Help control the Leftist population. Have them spayed or neutered. )
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To: kstewskis

Had a cabaret Centipede machine about 2 years ago in good condition. Bought it for $150.00. My wife played the hell out of it.


32 posted on 06/14/2005 9:48:57 PM PDT by lmr (Thanks to tet68, this tagline has been updated)
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To: martin_fierro

Also had a Super-Zaxxon machine a few years ago. Could never get the elevation right and hit targets, judge enemy shots, etc. A very difficult game. Sold the machine for $400.00 to a buyer halfway across the country. It was back in my Ebay dealing days... My focus was video games.


33 posted on 06/14/2005 9:50:44 PM PDT by lmr (Thanks to tet68, this tagline has been updated)
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To: Nascardude
Does anyone remember this game? It was one of the all-time greatest.


34 posted on 06/14/2005 9:51:24 PM PDT by Brett66 (Where government advances and it advances relentlessly freedom is imperiled -Janice Rogers Brown)
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To: Brett66

Yeah, it's X-Com. Check out the upcoming GBA game Rebel Star Tactical Comomand--by the same team, believe it or not.


35 posted on 06/15/2005 3:32:47 AM PDT by ECM
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To: Nascardude

If I had saved and invested all the quarters I plugged into arcade machines during the early 1980s, I'd be retired now.


36 posted on 06/15/2005 3:46:01 AM PDT by SamAdams76 (Don't You Think This Outlaw Bit's Done Got Out Of Hand?)
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To: Nascardude

A four letter profanity that rhymes with "puck?" My innocent mind can come up with no such word.


37 posted on 06/15/2005 3:47:23 AM PDT by LanPB01
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To: Brett66

My old friend, X-COM. I wasted a LOT of time with that game. I fiddled with the save game files, doing hex dumps and seeing what had changed. I ended up writing a program to make all my soldiers into super soldiers. Just hire a bunch of flunkies, save and exit the game, run my program, and restart the game. I could move all around the board, hit with every shot, etc. My favorite part was getting the mind-control technology and then I'd scout out the aliens, mind control them, and have them play "Religion of Peace" on their fellow aliens. BOOM! Ha ha ha... Good times.


38 posted on 06/15/2005 4:03:46 AM PDT by whd23
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To: JoJo Gunn

Bingo. Now, there was an advanced version, with the "planet" outline in green, and with the direction of gravity changing from screen to screen. Any ideas?


39 posted on 06/15/2005 4:31:33 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: JoJo Gunn

Incidentally, I'm thinking of making that my desktop background, so thanks.


40 posted on 06/15/2005 4:33:20 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Nascardude

Pinky is obviously gay. Boycott the game!


41 posted on 06/15/2005 4:40:46 AM PDT by Labyrinthos
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To: Nascardude

The article is off by a couple of years. I remember playing pacman when I was in high school and I graduated in '78.


42 posted on 06/15/2005 4:46:10 AM PDT by Rebelbase (Mexico, the 51st state.)
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To: lmr

Oh, man...I used to love that game! When Atari re-released the 2600, I was the first on my street to get it and, man, did I enjoy Kung-Fu Master. Kung-Fu Master and Keystone Capers were the two I really liked...


43 posted on 06/15/2005 5:01:31 AM PDT by Andonius_99
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To: Nascardude
And just to think, it all started with this:


44 posted on 06/15/2005 5:10:19 AM PDT by Lockbar (March toward the sound of the guns.)
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To: Nascardude
this:

Was my game.

45 posted on 06/15/2005 5:19:52 AM PDT by krb (ad hominem arguments are for stupid people)
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To: martin_fierro; TheBigB

Wow! I loved Zaxxon.

In about '81 or '82, I had a Pac-Man wristwatch.
I used to play it in class all the time.


46 posted on 06/15/2005 5:22:30 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Burger-Eating War Monkey)
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To: Constitution Day; TheBigB
Found a place where you can play Zaxxon online.

(the controls are a bit of a pain)

You can also DL old arcade gaems there.

47 posted on 06/15/2005 5:26:44 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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gaems=games


48 posted on 06/15/2005 5:27:05 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro
Cool!
I'll check that out.

You could also buy your very own Zaxxon on eBay:

VINTAGE ARCADE "ZAXXON" VIDEO GAME NEAR MINT!

49 posted on 06/15/2005 5:29:33 AM PDT by Constitution Day (Burger-Eating War Monkey)
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To: TheBigB
Pitfall was great! Activision got more out of the old Atari than I thought was possible!

This one was my favorite:


50 posted on 06/15/2005 5:35:04 AM PDT by Cincinatus (Omnia relinquit servare Republicam)
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