Pac-Man Wiki
Advertisement

For other uses of Pac-Man, see Pac-Man (disambiguation).

Pac-Man (パックマン Pakkuman, originally known as Puckman in Japan) is the first video game in the Pac-Man series. Conceived by Toru Iwatani, the game was developed and manufactured by Namco, and first released in Japan in a location testing phase on May 22, 1980; a full release followed in July. In the United States, the game was licensed to Bally Midway for manufacturing, releasing on October 26, 1980.

Being the first video game in the Pac-Man series, the game is the debut appearance of Pac-Man and the Ghosts. Pac-Man was a widespread and commercial success upon its initial release in 1980, spawning a media franchise consisting of several sequel and spin-off games, TV shows, merchandise and more.

Gameplay[]

PacMaze

Screenshot of the beginning of a game. The player guides Pac-Man to eat all the dots in the maze while evading the Monsters.

Pac-Man is an action maze chase game where the player guides the titular Pac-Man across an enclosed maze. Pac-Man's goal is to eat all 240 dots and the four Energizers within the maze to clear the round, while avoiding the four Ghost Monsters that roam around the maze. The player uses the control stick to move Pac-Man up, down, left and right across the maze walls.

The four Ghost Monsters, Blinky (Shadow), Pinky (Speedy), Inky (Bashful) and Clyde (Pokey) will periodically emerge from the Ghost House located in the center of the maze seeking to capture Pac-Man by colliding into him. Each of them will target Pac-Man differently: Blinky targets Pac-Man directly, Pinky targets Pac-Man from in front of him, Inky will target Pac-Man depending on Blinky and Pac-Man's location and Clyde will target Pac-Man; albeit moving away towards the bottom left corner of the maze if he gets near Pac-Man. If one of the Ghost Monsters touch Pac-Man, he will fold in on himself and the player loses one of their remaining lives. The game ends when all lives are lost.

Near the four corners of the maze are four Energizers. After eating an Energizer, Pac-Man will temporarily power up and will cause the Ghost Monsters to become scared and vulnerable; while scared, Ghost Monsters are dark blue-colored, move slower and reverse direction in attempt to make distance from Pac-Man. Pac-Man can eat scared Ghost Monsters for bonus points by eating them in this state. Once eaten, the screen will freeze for a brief moment, and their remaining eyes will quickly scatter back to the Ghost House to regenerate their body in their regular state (any fleeing eyes moving while the screen freezes will continue to move). The Ghost Monsters will flash white (about five times) before they revert back to their original dangerous state, signalizing Energizer effects wearing off. If another Energizer is eaten while there are still scared Ghost Monsters, the bonus point value for eating ghosts is reset back to 200 points. Additionally, if another Energizer is eaten while there are still Ghost Monsters without bodies fleeing, they will not be effected by the Energizer once they regain their body.

Pac-Man eats Dots by moving towards them, but he will slow down upon eating them in a path. Pac-Man is also able to make sharper turns than the Ghost Monsters by holding down the joystick in the indicated direction as he is approaching a maze wall's corner.

When 70 and 170 dots are eaten within a round, a bonus item will appear beneath the Ghost House for eight seconds, which can be eaten for bonus points. The bonus items (which are usually fruits) will change in later rounds, indicated by the items present in the bottom right corner of the screen. The bonus items in later rounds will be worth more points. Across the middle of the maze are Warp Tunnels, which Pac-Man can enter to emerge from the other side of the maze. Ghost Monsters can also enter this tunnel, though they will slow down upon entering it; this can give Pac-Man an advantage towards escaping the ghosts.

Upon eating all the dots and Energizers within the maze, the round is cleared. The game process repeats, though in the following rounds, the game will increase in difficulty: ghosts will become faster and will spend less time scattering; the Energizer effects will also last for shorter periods of time in later rounds until they eventually cause the ghosts to simply reverse direction and not turn scared at all by the 21st round. A series of intermissions (also referred to as as Coffee Breaks) play after certain levels toward the beginning of the game, showing a humorous set of interactions. There are three total, appearing after levels 2, 5, and 9. The third intermission appears several times afterward on later levels.

Pac-Man is awarded a single bonus life at 10,000 points by default. However, DIP switches inside the machine can change the required points (15,000 or 20,000) or disable the bonus life altogether.

Characters[]

Pac8bit

Pac-Man as he appears in-game.

Alongside the titular Pac-Man character, there are four Ghost Monsters present in attempt to chase Pac-Man.

The four Ghost Monsters (known in later releases as simply Ghosts) are the main antagonists in Pac-Man. They will cycle through different three different phases of behavior.

  • In their scattering phase, the ghosts will target one of four maze corners and circulate between them: Blinky occupies the top right corner, while Pinky occupies the top left corner, Inky occupying the bottom right corner and Clyde occupying the bottom left corner. Upon starting a round or using an extra life to continue, the ghosts will start in this mode before they cycle to their Chase modes.
  • In their chasing phase, the ghosts will target Pac-Man using their traditional methods of targeting Pac-Man. They will periodically switch in-between their scattering and chase phases before eventually permanently remaining in their chase phases if the player remains in the same round for a long time.
  • When Pac-Man eats an Energizer, the scared ghosts will attempt to make distance from Pac-Man in their scared phase. Upon Energizer effects wearing off, they will return to their chasing phase.

Across regions, the character and nicknames have been altered. Though the characters and nicknames have been altered across re-releases, most modern re-releases of the game use the standard names used in the original versions of Puck-Man and Pac-Man.

Ghost Character Nickname Behavior
Blinky8bit Shadow
Oikake (Puck-Man)
Blinky
Akabei (Puck-Man)
The red-colored Blinky will directly target Pac-Man, often taking the shortest route to his position. Blinky is the fastest when compared to the speed of the other ghost monsters. When there are few dots remaining in the maze or the player remains in the round for too long, Blinky will speed up drastically; making it difficult to avoid him even in paths where there are no Dots. Unlike the other ghosts, Blinky's starting position is outside the Ghost House, and is always the first ghost monster moving within the maze.
Pinky8bit Speedy
Machibuse (Puck-Man)
Pinky The pink-colored Pinky will attempt to move to locations in front of Pac-Man's current location in order to ambush Pac-Man from in front of him. Pinky starts inside the Ghost House and tends to exit the Ghost House as soon as Blinky starts moving.
Inky8bit Bashful
Kimagure (Puck-Man)
Inky
Aosuke (Puck-Man)
The cyan/light blue-colored Inky targets Pac-Man in a manner that is more complex compared to his other teammates. Inky targets Pac-Man between the position of both Pac-Man and Blinky. Inky starts inside the Ghost House and tends to scatter on the left side inside it for a few seconds before emerging outside.
Clyde-sue-tim-8bit Pokey
Otoboke (Puck-Man)
Clyde
Guzuta (Puck-Man)
The orange-colored Clyde targets Pac-Man in a similar fashion to Blinky, but retreats to moving towards the bottom left corner of the maze if he is close to Pac-Man's current location. Clyde starts inside the Ghost House and tends to scatter on the right side inside it for a few seconds until Inky is outside for a few seconds.
Fruits Points

All of the fruits and their point values

Scoring System[]

Intermissions[]

While not the first game to do so, Pac-Man was one of the games that popularized the concept of providing players with a break from the action in the form of short intermissions (cutscenes). Not only did the intermissions provide a chance to rest, they provided a bit of humor. Intermission I is seen after Round 2, Intermission II is seen after Round 5 and Intermission III is seen after Rounds 9, 13 and 17.

  • Intermission I: Pac-Man is chased by a quickly approaching Blinky to the left side of the screen. Blinky re-emerges, now scared, fleeing to the right; as a larger "super" Pac-Man quickly dashes towards Blinky. This super version would officially appear in Super Pac-Man.
  • Intermission II: Pac-Man is once again chased by Blinky. This time, there is a nail sticking out in the path that Pac-Man and Blinky are crossing. Blinky's "clothing" gets caught on the nail as he passes by it, and the bottom right corner tears off, stuck to the nail. Shadow, whose foot is now visible, looks at the nail and then rolls his eyes.
  • Intermission III: Pac-Man enters from the right, followed closely by Blinky, whose torn "clothing" is clearly sewn back together. After both Pac-Man and Blinky exit to the left, Shadow immediately reappears from the left, appearing disrobed and dragging his clothing on the floor behind him.
PACMAN lastLevel 01

A bug within the game's data causes data to overflow and corrupts the screen on the game's 256th round, making it impossible to finish under normal circumstances.

Split-screen round[]

Main Article: Map 256 Glitch

An integer overflow within the game's programming causes the 256th round to load improperly. While the left side of the maze appears normally, the right side of the screen is corrupted; littered with various sprite tiles spread across the screen. When entering the right side of the screen, Pac-Man and the Ghost Monsters can move more freely and can wrap around other sides of the screen, though they may also be trapped.

Because of the abnormal circumstances, the player cannot clear this round under normal circumstances. Though it is impossible to finish the level, it is still possible to eat some of the Dots on the right side of the screen, which regenerate upon a life loss. If one modifies the game to skip the round, then the game goes back to the first level, though retaining the same Energizer length from the later rounds.

The 256th round is more commonly known as a kill screen. This bug later inspired its own separate game, called Pac-Man 256. The Kill Screen has also become a recurring element within the Pac-Man series, often portraying the garbled textures as "The Glitch".

Achievements[]

There are 2 lines of achievements, From the Arcade Game Series line or the Xbox 360 port.

Arcade Game Series (PC, PS4, Xbox One)[]

Icon Name Description
Cherry Cherry Eat the Cherry that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 1!
Round 2 Cleared Round 2 Cleared Clear round 2!
Strawberry Strawberry Eat the Strawberry that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 2!
Orange Orange Eat the Orange that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 3 or 4!
Apple Apple Eat the Apple that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 5 or 6!
Round 5 Cleared Round 5 Cleared Clear round 5!
Melon Melon Eat the Melon that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 7 or 8!
Round 9 Cleared Round 9 Cleared Clear round 9!
Galboss Galboss Eat the Galboss that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 9 or 10!
Bell Bell Eat the Bell that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 11 or 12!
Round 13 Cleared Round 13 Cleared Clear round 13!
Key (2) Key Eat the Key that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots after Round 13!
Round 17 Cleared Round 17 Cleared Clear round 17!
Picky Eater Picky Eater Clear 3 Rounds in a row without eating a single ghost and without losing a life!
Fruit Basket Fruit Basket Eat all 5 fruits (Cherry, Strawberry, Orange, Apple, Melon) in one playthrough!
All Ghosts All Ghosts Eat all ghosts in succession after eating a Power Pellet!
Om Nom Nom x2 Om Nom Nom x2 Eat all four ghosts in succession twice in a single round!
Om Nom Nom x3 Om Nom Nom x3 Eat all four ghosts in succession three times in a single round!
Om Nom Nom x4 Om Nom Nom x4 Eat all four ghosts in succession four times in a single round!
Om Nom Nom Om Nom Nom Eat 2 fruits and all four ghosts in succession four times in a single round!

Xbox 360[]

Icon Name Description Gamerscore Points
Perfect Perfect Eat all ghosts four times within a stage! 🅖30
Cherry (2) Cherry Eat the Cherries that appear after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 1! 🅖5
Strawberry (2) Strawberry Eat the Strawberry that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 2! 🅖5
Orange (2) Orange Eat the Orange that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 3 or 4! 🅖10
Apple (2) Apple Eat the Apple that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 5 or 6! 🅖10
All Ghosts (2) All Ghosts Eat all ghosts in succession after eating a Power Pellet! 🅖10
Clear Round 5 (2) Clear Round 5 Clear the beginner level by completing the first 5 rounds! 🅖15
Melon (2) Melon Eat the Melon that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 7 or 8! 🅖15
Galboss (2) Galboss Eat the Galboss that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 9 or 10! 🅖15
Bell (2) Bell Eat the Bell that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots in Round 11 or 12! 🅖20
Key (3) Key Eat the Key that appears after eating a set number of Pac-Dots after Round 13! 🅖25
Clear Round 21 Clear Round 21 Clear the advanced level by completing the first 21 rounds! 🅖40

Development[]

Pacman early sprite sketches

Concept art of Pac-Man (1980), showcasing the earliest sprite sketches of Pac-Man.

Namco became accustomed to the video game industry following the releases of Gee Bee, Bomb Bee and Cutie Q; despite the titles being considered commercial failures. In Japan, video games had surged in popularity following the success of games such as Space Invaders and Breakout. At the time, game developer Toru Iwatani; who previously designed Gee Bee and Cutie Q for Namco, felt arcade games only appealed to men for many games sharing themes of crude graphics, shooter gameplay and violence. He decided to create a concept for a game with cuter characters that would appeal to women, as he believed that making a game that would appeal to women would make arcades appear more family friendly, since he felt that arcades at the time had seedy environments.[1][2] When deciding on the game's theme, Iwatani thought of what women enjoyed, and settled on the theme of eating for the game and characters since women enjoyed eating sweets and other desserts.[3]

The game and its concepts went into development in 1979 alongside Namco's shooter game Galaxian, which would be Namco's first video game with an RGB video display, allowing for colorful palette selections and graphics. The RGB display would be pivotal for the idea of the project which eventually became Pac-Man, so it could display vibrant colors for the characters.[4]

Throughout the years, there have been conflicting sources of the Pac-Man character's origins. From Toru Iwatani, the inspiration was pizza without a slice, which gave him a vision of "an animated pizza, racing through a maze and eating things with its absent-slice mouth".[5] However, in a 1986 interview, Toru Iwatani said that the design of the character also came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for a mouth, kuchi (口). Additionally, possibly by coincidence, a separate Pac-Man brand by Tomy existed six years prior to Iwatani's creation. Pac-Man's name comes from the onomatopoeic Japanese word paku-paku (パクパク), a term for gobbling something up.[6] The idea for Pac-Man powering up using Energizers was a concept Iwatani borrowed from the cartoon character Popeye the Sailor Man, a cartoon character that temporarily acquires superhuman strength after eating a can of spinach; as well as being partly inspired by a Japanese children's story about a creature that protected children from monsters by devouring them.[4] In a design session, Iwatani noisily ate fruit and made gurgling noises to describe to Toshio Kai, Pac-Man's sound designer, how he wanted Pac-Man's eating effect to sound.[2]

Pacman1980protomaze

Concept art of Pac-Man, featuring an early version of the game's maze and screen layout.

Ghosts were chosen as the game's main antagonists because they were used as villainous characters in animation.[7] The four ghosts were designed to be cute, colorful, and appealing, using bright, pastel colors and blue eyes.[8] Toru Iwatani cited the inspiration of the ghosts from Casper the Friendly Ghost and the manga Obake no Q-Taro. [9] When the ghosts were decided as the antagonists, Namco president Masaya Nakamura requested that all ghosts be colored red and indistinguishable from each other. The idea was opposed by Toru Iwatani, who thought the ghosts should be colored differently; this idea was supported by his colleagues. During an internal vote, all of Namco's staff were in favor of the multicolor ghosts on a 40-0 vote; Nakamura agreed to let the ghosts be multicolored.[10] The ghosts were given different personalities and methods of chasing Pac-Man in order to balance the game difficulty and prevent the game from becoming boring. Each of the ghosts were given character names to distinguish their methods of pursuing Pac-Man, and would become more difficult to avoid in later rounds.[11] Upon the game's completion, the character and game was titled Pakkuman (パックマン), romanized as Puckman in English. Tadashi Yamashita illustrated the character's limbed design alongside the game's logo and cabinet art.

Release[]

Pacmanpuckman

During the game's localization, the game and character's name was changed from Puck-Man to Pac-Man out of fears that vandalization to the "P" would create a swear.

Puck-Man's first location test occurred on May 22, 1980 to positive reception. On June 29, 1980, screenshots of the game were displayed above a large billboard in Shinjuku ahead of its release. The game would see a full release later in July.[12]

For distribution in the United States, Namco America presented Puck-Man and Rally-X (another Namco developed game) at the AMOA tradeshow in November 1980. Both games received mild attention at the show, and Atari passed down an offer to license the game. Bally Midway, who had previously distributed Namco's Galaxian for manufacturing in the United States, licensed both Puck-Man and Rally-X for manufacturing in the United States.[13] At the time, industry executives believed that Rally-X would outperform Pac-Man. When the American division of Namco localized the "Puckman" game for North America, Namco America and Bally Midway feared vandalizers would change the P in the word of "Puck" to an F, creating a swear. Bally Midway had suggested various names.[14] , though Namco president Masaya Nakamura made the decision to change the game and titular character's name to "Pac-Man" overseas, as the name was similar to the Japanese pronunciation of the name, Pakkuman. The Pac-Man name would eventually become the character's universal name for all Pac-Man related products following worldwide.[15] The Ghost Monsters names were also changed to Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde in the Bally Midway version. In Bally Midway's arcade cabinets and promotional material, the character's artwork design was redesigned for a more complex appearance.[16] Bally Midway announced the United States version of Pac-Man on November 22.[17]

Home Ports[]

Pac-Man first appeared on home consoles in 1981, and has appeared on nearly every system since. The game has been released for the following systems and devices in some way, shape or form.

  • Amstrad CPC
    • Possibly bootleg in origin, or an unreleased prototype.
    • Nearly identical to the Atari 400/800/XL/XE version.
  • Android
    • Delisted from the Google Play Store and replaced with Pac-Man + Tournaments in 2013.
    • This version was notably the first game ever released on the Android platform.[18]
  • Antstream
    • Streaming service available on various platforms. Based on the original arcade version.
  • Apple II
    • Rebranded version of Taxman, a bootleg Pac-Man port released in 1981. Atari purchased the rights to Taxman from developer H.A.L. Labs, and Atarisoft released it as a licensed Pac-Man port in 1983.
    • Blinky and Inky's names are swapped in this version.
  • Arcade1UP Machines
    • Many Arcade1UPs featuring Pac-Man have been released (see this page for full list).
  • Atari 400/800/XL/XE
    • Two versions were released: one published by Atari in cartridge format, and a later revision by Datasoft on floppy disc. Both versions are nearly identical, though the Datasoft release adds the "character/nickname" screen and the intermissions.
    • The source code to the Datasoft version was published online in 2019.
  • Atari 2600
    • The most infamous port of the game, with many differences from the original (see this page for more information).
  • Atari 5200
    • Effectively the same as the Atari 400/800 version; this port features the intermissions (as seen in the Datasoft release) but lacks the "character/nickname" screen.
  • Bally Astrocade
    • A semi-official port of the game by Bally Midway, which was renamed "Muncher" due to fear of legal action from Atari.
    • Pac-Man stops in place when the joystick is let go of, rather than continuing to move like in all other versions.
  • BlackBerry
  • Classics Games Pass
    • A Japan-only service available on iOS and Android, which runs through an AU Smartpass subscription. Based on the Famicom/NES version.
  • ColecoVision
    • A canceled port from Atarisoft, which was planned for a 1983 release. Its cancellation was due to being arguably superior to the Atari 5200 version, with Atari believing that releasing the game would have effected sales of their own console(s). A prototype version has been dumped.[19]
      • The "arcade-perfect" Pac-Man being exclusive to the 5200 was also extensively used in marketing by Atari against Coleco, even insulting their own 2600 version in the process.
  • Commodore 64
  • Commodore VIC-20
    • Two versions were released, with a very complicated history. A licensed Japanese port was released in 1981 by HAL Laboratory, which was very arcade-accurate for the time period. In North America, it was published without license by Commodore themselves under the name Jelly Monsters; Atari quickly took legal action against this port, and it was removed from stores. Atari released their own unique port of Pac-Man for the VIC-20 in 1983, which was not nearly as accurate as HAL's version.
      • Atari's port features a different maze compared to other versions of Pac-Man.
  • Evercade
  • Facebook
    • Various ports of Pac-Man have been released on the social media platform Facebook; these releases were based on varying forms of web technology, and none of them use direct emulation.
      • A version of Pac-Man was sold on Facebook in 2009; however, this was merely a Windows executable of the Namco All-Stars version.
      • In 2010, Facebook added a browser-based port of Pac-Man to the website, alongside a special variant of the game titled Pac-Man S. The game(s) were taken off of Facebook in 2012.
      • In 2016, Pac-Man was added to Facebook "Instant Games", alongside Galaga; there is only one level, and the player is only given one life. This port was delisted at an unknown date.
      • The original Pac-Man was included as an additional mode in the now-defunct Pac-Man Community from 2021.
  • Famicom/NES
    • Developed and published by Namco for the Famicom in 1984. The game was released by Tengen for the NES overseas in 1987, in two different cartridge variants; one release was licensed by Nintendo, while the other was not. A Namco-published NES version was released in 1993, which was released under Nintendo's authorization.
    • Tengen also licensed the game to several manufacturers overseas, none of which were licensed by Nintendo; these include H.E.S. in Australia, Gradiente in Brazil (for the Phantom System), and possibly Daou Infosys in Korea (unconfirmed).
  • Famicom Disk System
    • Direct port of the Famicom cartridge release.
  • FM-7
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • FM-77
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • Game Boy
    • While featuring a rather accurate maze layout, the pellets that are on top of the ghost pen are missing.
    • The third cutscene appears after completing level 8 instead of level 9.
  • Game Boy Color
    • Released as Pac-Man: Special Color Edition, which also included Pac-Attack.
    • Same port as the original Game Boy version, only colorized.
  • Game Boy Advance
    • Three versions were released. The arcade version was included in Pac-Man Collection and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary; the former uses a recreation based on the Namco Museum Vol. 1 port, while the latter appears to use a loose form of proper emulation. The Famicom/NES port of Pac-Man was released as a standalone Game Boy Advance cartridge as part of the Classic NES Series/Famicom Mini line.
  • GameCube
  • Game Gear
  • Gametap
    • A long-defunct streaming service for home computers. Based on the original arcade version.
  • Handheld LCD Games
    • Many different handheld LCD games have been released (see this page for full list), the earliest being the Tomy LSI Game from 1981.
    • The ports included greatly vary between units. The majority of earlier systems took creative liberties when porting the game, and feature many differences when compared to the original. Later consoles (such as the MGA "Classic Arcade" version) are much more accurate conversions.
    • Most Pac-Man LCD games are in black-and-white, but a handful were in color.
  • HTML5
    • Released on the official, albeit obscure, "bandainamcoent.fun" website in 2017, under the name Pac-Man Mini. Despite the unique name, it features little to no differences from the original Pac-Man. The game is available at this link, though currently provides an error claiming it is locked behind a paywall (?).
    • Additionally, many of the promotional games featuring Pac-Man are effectively loose ports of the arcade game.
  • IBM PC
    • Colors are very off due to the limitations of the hardware.
  • Intellivision
    • Features a different maze compared to other versions of Pac-Man.
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.)
    • As part of a "Pac-Man Pink Ribbon Campaign" in October 2014, a special maze was added as a $0.99 (USD) download; all proceeds from the purchase would be donated to the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
    • Delisted from the App Store and replaced with Pac-Man + Tournaments in 2013.
  • iPod Classic
  • Mobile
  • MSX
  • MZ-700
    • Maze is turned on its side.
    • Features very basic, blocky graphics. If an external PCG chip was installed to the PC, the graphics appear more accurate to the original.
  • MZ-1500
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • MZ-2000
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • NABU
    • An obscure computer system produced in 1983, most notable for featuring an early equivalent of internet connectivity. A port of Pac-Man (among numerous other games) is built-in to the computer itself.
    • Unlike most overseas ports from this time period, the game appears to be licensed solely through Midway/Namco, rather than through Atari.
  • Nelsonic Digital Watch
    • Watches featuring an LCD-based conversion of Pac-Man.
    • Two watches were released. One features the Tomy LSI Game version of Pac-Man, and is controlled by four directional buttons. The other features a modified version of Tomy Watchman: Monster Hero, and is controlled using a small joystick.
      • The latter model came with four joystick tops colored after the four ghosts.
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Nintendo 64
  • Nintendo DS
    • Three versions were released. The game was included as an unlockable bonus game in Pac 'n Roll and Pac-Man World 3. It was later featured in Namco Museum DS.
  • Nintendo 3DS
    • Four versions were released. There were two Virtual Console versions: Pac-Man for Game Boy and Pac-Man for Famicom/NES. The original arcade version was included in Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions and Pac-Man Party 3D.
    • Additionally, the 3DS version of Pac-Man Museum was going to feature the arcade game, but this port was canceled alongside the Wii U version.
  • Nintendo Switch
    • Several versions were released. The arcade original was included in Namco Museum and Pac-Man Museum +, as well as being released stand-alone as part of the Arcade Archives line of games. It is also included as an unlockable bonus in Pac-Man World Re-Pac. The Famicom/NES version was included in Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 and the cartridge release of Namcot Collection; for the downloadable version of the latter, it was sold as DLC instead.
  • PC-6001
  • PC-8001
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • PC-88
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • PC-98
  • PlayStation
  • PlayStation 2
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and was featured as a bonus game in Pac-Man World 2 and Pac-Man World 3.
  • PlayStation 3
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum Essentials and Pac-Man Museum. There were two PS one Classics versions: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • PlayStation 4
    • Five versions were released. There were two standalone digital releases, Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man and the Arcade Archives release. The game was also featured in Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1, Pac-Man Museum +, and as an unlockable bonus in Pac-Man World Re-Pac.
  • PlayStation 5
    • Included in Pac-Man World Re-Pac as an unlockable bonus.
  • PlayStation Portable
    • Three versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum Battle Collection (Namco Museum 1 in Japan and South Korea). There were two PS one Classics versions: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • PlayStation Vita
    • Two versions were released via PS one Classics: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • Plug & Play TV Games
    • Many different Plug & Plays featuring Pac-Man have been released (see this page for full list), the earliest being Namco Arcade Classics from 2003.
    • The original systems were released by Jakks Pacific, and featured a port very close to the arcade version. Consoles from the 2010s onward were from different manufacturers, and often feature the Famicom/NES version.
  • Pocket Player (My Arcade)
    • Included in the Pac-Man Pocket Player; uses the Sega Genesis clone hardware port in horizontal resolution.
  • Roku TV
    • A custom port released by PlayWorks Digital in 2024; it is scheduled to be added to other platforms at a later date (likely including streaming services and cable boxes).
    • Rather than using pixel sprites, all of the graphics are rounded vectors in-game.
  • Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
    • Included as a bonus game in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures; was never released in a standalone form.
    • Similar to the Famicom/NES version, but features slightly updated graphics and a high-score table.
  • Sega Genesis clone hardware
    • Several newer Pac-Man handheld releases (from the late 2010s onward) feature an original port of the game running on “Firecore” Genesis clone hardware. This port is credited to Piko Interactive in its ROM header, and was reportedly developed by Shiru.[20] The game seems to have considerable slowdown if running on standard Genesis hardware.
    • The port features three video modes, one of which has the screen rotated on its side (creating an arcade-perfect pixel layout). Different consoles will utilize one of the three modes depending on its form factor.
  • Sega Dreamcast
  • Sharp X1
  • Sharp X68000
    • Included as a bonus game bundled with the X68000 port of Pac-Mania.
    • The ghost AI is very off, with the ghosts rarely attacking Pac-Man.
  • Super Famicom/SNES
    • Included as a bonus game in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures/Hello, Pac-Man!; was never released in a standalone form.
    • Similar to the Famicom/NES version, but features slightly updated graphics and a high-score table.
  • Tabletop Arcade Machines
    • Many different tabletop arcade machines have been released, the earliest being the Coleco Tabletop from 1981.
    • The majority of units from the 1980s to the 2000s ran on handheld LCD technology. More recent consoles often either feature the Famicom/NES version (ex: Pac-Man Micro Player) or use a custom port loosely resembling the arcade version (ex: Stranger Things Palace Arcade).
    • The Namco Museum Mini Player is the only tabletop to feature the actual arcade version.
  • TI-99/4A
  • VR Headset (Oculus)
    • Included in Oculus Arcade.
    • Says Puckman on the title screen, making it the only post-1980s port to do so.
    • Sound is very high-pitched.
  • Wii
    • Three versions were released. The first of these was for the Virtual Console, which was the Famicom/NES version. The other two were included in Namco Museum Megamix and Pac-Man Party, both of which use the arcade original.
  • Wii U
    • Two versions were released, both for the Virtual Console: Pac-Man for the Famicom/NES and Pac-Man Collection for the Game Boy Advance.
    • Additionally, the Wii U version of Pac-Man Museum was going to feature the arcade game, but this port was canceled alongside the Nintendo 3DS version.
  • Windows PC
    • Numerous conversions of Pac-Man were released for Windows platforms, from Windows 95 to Windows 10. The earliest of these was a port featured in Microsoft Return of Arcade from 1996; other notable compilation releases include Namco History Vol. 3, Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and Pac-Man Museum +.
    • While the game is most commonly seen in compilations, several standalone releases of Pac-Man have also been published for Windows. These include Ultra 2000 Series: Pac-Man, Namco All-Stars: Pac-Man, and Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man, among others.
    • Due to the more powerful architecture of computers compared to consoles at the time, the majority of PC ports were straight emulations of the arcade version, with little to no differences; there are exceptions to this, however (such as the Namco All-Stars release, and the bonus version included in Pac-Man World 2).
  • Windows Phone
  • Xbox
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and was featured as a bonus game in Pac-Man World 2 and Pac-Man World 3.
  • Xbox 360
    • Three versions were released. The game was released as a standalone digital release through the Xbox Live service. It was also included in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (in which it is the same as the Xbox Live version) and Pac-Man Museum.
    • The Namco Museum Virtual Arcade and the Xbox Live versions fixes the 256th Maze killscreen to not feature a garbled line of code, and this allows the player to continue beyond level 256 without hacking.
    • A "picture pack" for the Xbox 360 (acting as profile pictures for Xbox Live) was released alongside the Xbox 360 Pac-Man port.
  • Xbox One/Xbox Series
    • Four versions were released. There was a standalone digital release titled Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man. The game was also featured in Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1, Pac-Man Museum +, and as an unlockable bonus in Pac-Man World Re-Pac.
  • ZX Spectrum
    • Rebranded and slightly altered version of Z-Man, a bootleg Pac-Man port released in 1983.
PAC-MAN Picture Pack

Xbox 360 "Picture Pack"

Several homebrew versions of Pac-Man have also been released for consoles such as the Atari 7800 and Fairchild Channel F; alongside countless "improved" versions of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (one of which, Pac-Man 4K, has been utilized in official Pac-Man products).

Additionally, a few Pac-Man ports (mainly from the 2000s onward) do not easily fit into a singular "system" for categorization. This includes Pac-Man games built into vehicles, namely airplane or car passenger seats; as well as other proprietary technology, such as cable boxes and projectors. Several artificial intelligence experiments have also been conducted on Pac-Man, resulting in loosely-official "ports" of Pac-Man using AI technology.

Other versions[]

There are many variations of Pac-Man that are fundamentally the same as the original game, but feature several differences that make them stand out. These games include:

In other games[]

The first Pac-Man is also featured in some newer games in the series. The following Pac-Man games contain the original arcade version.

Namco Museum Vol. 1 port[]

This version of the game, introduced in Namco Museum Vol. 1 (1995), is notable for being perhaps the most frequently rereleased "official" version of Pac-Man from 1995 to 2005. This version of the game often featured a border based on the classic Puckman artwork surrounding it. Being based off the original's source code, it is mostly faithful to the arcade version, but a few things were altered in gameplay:

  • Pinky always aims exactly four spaces in front of Pac-Man when in chase mode (in the original, this became four spaces up and four spaces to the left when Pac-Man was facing up, due to a glitch).
  • Inky's behavior has been considerably altered; he exclusively aims for Blinky's position in chase mode.
  • The ghosts' eyes will not travel up through the one-way paths when returning to regenerate.
  • When a ghost is sent back to the Ghost Home to regenerate, they will always come back out instantly, even if Pac-Man lost a life on the current round. (Incidentally, this fixes a glitch that can occur in the original where Pac-Man can trap Pinky, Inky, and Clyde in the Ghost Home.)
  • Ghosts will exit the Ghost Home to the right if their target position happens to be there. In the original game, they will only exit to the right if the behavior mode (i.e. scatter, chase, frightened) changes while they are in the Ghost Home.
  • If a bonus fruit appears and Pac-Man eats a ghost, the timer that controls how long the fruit stays onscreen halts with everything else. This makes it impossible for fruit to disappear while Pac-Man is eating a ghost.
  • While not applying to the gameplay itself, in some releases of this port, the background siren sound always remains at the same pitch. In the arcade original, the siren's pitch increases as more Pac-Dots are eaten.

Most releases of Pac-Man after 2005 are either completely accurate recreations of the arcade version or the original ROM (both cases with references to Midway removed); as such, the ghosts all behave as they originally did, and any patterns applicable to the original version will work on these. The Namco Museum 50th Anniversary and Xbox Live Arcade versions were among of the first of them. The latter featured an updated screen border using artwork from Pac-Man World instead of being based on the original Puckman design.

Play Online[]

These versions of Pac-Man are either listed in the public domain or are considered abandonware. Clicking the game title will lead to a playable online version of it from archive.org (mobile compatibility may vary).

Trivia[]

  • Though the game was officially first released in Japan on July 1980, Namco (and their successor company Bandai Namco) recognizes the beginning of Pac-Man's location test (May 22, 1980) in Japan as the game's official anniversary.
  • Pac-Man debuted in the United States in December[21], though Bandai Namco recognizes the U.S. debut in October.[22]
  • The maximum score in the arcade version is 3,333,360 points, as a result of the glitched screen at Level 256. This maximum score is achieved by doing the following in a game:
    • The maximum amount of lives is set to five within the DIP switch settings and the bonus life is turned on.
    • The player eats four ghosts with every single Energizer/Power Pellet within every round, up to round 21.
    • Every bonus fruit is eaten.
    • The player eats every Dot/Pac-Dot possible on the 256th round, and then loses a life to regenerate the glitched dots/Pac-Dots. This process repeats until there are no more extra lives
  • Pacman altnamesUS

    By toggling the DIP switches, an alternate set of names can be displayed for the ghosts. This is replaced by a string of letters in the Bally Midway release.

    One of the DIP switches in the Japanese version of the original game will change the Ghost Monsters' characters and nicknames on the attract sequence for Pac-Man.
    • The attract sequence changes the characters and nicknames to the following:
      • Blinky's character and nickname becomes Urchin/Macky.
      • Pinky's character and nickname becomes Romp/Micky.
      • Inky's character and nickname becomes Stylist/Mucky.
      • Clyde's character and nickname becomes Crybaby/Mocky.
    • In the American version, the alternate name set is dummied out and replaced by one-unique-letter strings in alphabetical order.
    • The Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2 version of Pac-Man featured a mix of the Puck Man alternate character names and the Pac-Man nicknames as the new default for international audiences. This is the only version of the game to do so, as any other versions either port over the Pac-Man or Puck Man default names (for worldwide and Japan, respectively).
  • There are certain one-way areas on the maze–namely, the two "T" formations located directly above and below the Ghost Home (the box in the center of the stage)–that the ghosts can travel down through, but cannot go up through.
    • This glitch is replicated in some games such as Pac-Man 99.
  • Depending on Pac-Man's positioning within the maze's tile grid, there is a chance that Pac-Man will be able to pass through a ghost due to the way the game recognizes the collision between the Pac-Man and ghost tiles.
  • In the original arcade version's code, two unused features can be seen in the graphics data: an explosion effect (referred to as "Blast" in Namco Museum Vol. 1), and a medium-sized type of dots.[23] Both of these concepts were later incorporated into Jr. Pac-Man, with near-identical graphics.
  • Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, and Pac-Man Arrangement (1996) are the only games in the series to formally feature the ghosts' "character" names.
  • According to Toru Iwatani, Namco initially told him to make the ghosts all the same color - red. Toru refused the order, and on questionnaires to the game testers asking if they would want only red-colored ghosts, none of them did.[24]
  • Some early design documents for the Puckman logo feature the game under an alternate title: "Snapper". It is possible that Snapper was a considered name for overseas releases before the "Pac-Man" name was decided. One early English flyer also uses the Snapper name.[25]
    • A handful of early European arcade machines are known to use the Snapper name. Limited information is known about these machines, however, and they are often (possibly incorrectly) identified as "bootlegs".
  • While there were three Bally Midway Pac-Man arcade machine models released (standard, cabaret, and cocktail), a fourth machine model was also planned. This unreleased model was in a countertop format, and was planned to be sold in high-end store catalogues.[26]
  • While the most commonly known (and well-documented) Pac-Man arcade machine models are those produced in the U.S. and Japan, there are a number of additional models from different regions:
    • In West Germany, NSM produced machines under the Puckman name; these were produced either before or concurrent with Bally Midway's American cabinets (dated November of 1980 in the operators' manual), leading to them not using the Pac-Man name.[27] Ironically, arcade machines are classified as "gambling devices" in most of Germany (both at the time and today), leading to the game having low distribution in Germany; though NSM reportedly distributed the machine in neighboring countries as well (e.g. Switzerland).
    • Kenphone Electronics of Taiwan released a machine featuring the Tadashi Yamashita "microphone" artwork of Pac-Man; this model was seemingly licensed by Namco. Oddly, this machine uses the Puckman name despite reportedly releasing in 1983.
    • A large number of "recreational" machines (or "recreativas") were produced in various Spanish countries (e.g. Spain); some of these are licensed while others are not.[28] One company operating under official license, IRECSA, based their Pac-Man machines on the Bally Midway design(s), but all artwork was redrawn in a friendlier style; IRECSA would also release a "sequel" titled Pac-Man II, the details of which are currently unknown.
  • The Xbox Live Arcade version of Pac-Man features an arcade cabinet in the background of its title screen. It is quite clearly based off of the Puck Man cabinet, but taking a closer look at it will show that all instances of "Puck Man" are replaced with "Pac-Man", and all of the art of Pac-Man on the cabinet has a shorter nose (not unlike the Namco Museum screen border).
  • Pac 'n Roll reveals that the game takes place on the Pac-Moon.
  • In Jakks Pacific's port of the game featured in 2003 Namco Arcade Classics, Blinky's AI is changed to have him circle across the Ghost Pen during "scatter mode". Then when he has entered Cruise Elroy state, he will go to his original "scatter mode" corner while Pinky would take over his role on circling across the Ghost Pen.
  • Google Pac-man

    Google's Pac-Man game as their logo to celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary.

    For the game's 30th anniversary, Google briefly updated their homepage on May 21, 2010 for 48 hours to allow players to play a version of Pac-Man in a maze based off of the Google Logo. This version plays exactly like the original (including Ghost A.I.), but with the following differences:
    • If "Insert Coin" is clicked after the game has started, the Ms. Pac-Man theme plays and two players may then play cooperatively as Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The two play exactly the same except for sound effects made when eating dots.
    • The maze, as aforementioned, is derived from the Google logo, and is no longer symmetrical.
    • There are five power pellets instead of four.
    • The Google version of Pac-Man has been made permanently available here.
  • The "Minty" maze in Pac-Man + Tournaments is notably modeled after one of the early maze layout sketches.
  • Two custom-built Pac-Man machines were only produced for the now-defunct Level 257 arcade in Schaumburg, IL (later known as Pac-Man Entertainment):
    • A machine labeled Pac-Man: Level 255; the game started on level 255, leading to the Map 256 Glitch. Similar in coding to the Pac-Man 256 game seen on the Bandai "Connect & Play".
    • An original Pac-Man machine with one of its sides being replaced with a transparent piece; allowing the circuitry, coin box, and instruction manual to be viewed from the outside.

Gallery[]

Screenshots[]

Machine and Box Art[]

Character Artwork[]

Concept Artwork and Unreleased Material[]

External links[]

References[]

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20190304181633/https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/iwatani-pac-man-was-made-for-women
  2. 2.0 2.1 https://web.archive.org/web/20190607072436/http://time.com/3892662/pac-mans-35-years/
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20190712174728/https://www.wired.com/2010/05/pac-man-30-years/
  4. 4.0 4.1 https://web.archive.org/web/20200109075706/https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132330/the_pacman_dossier.php
  5. https://www.salon.com/2002/06/17/pac_man/
  6. https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%81%B1%E3%81%8F%E3%81%B1%E3%81%8F-600437#E5.A4.A7.E8.BE.9E.E6.9E.97.20.E7.AC.AC.E4.B8.89.E7.89.88
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20190712174728/https://www.wired.com/2010/05/pac-man-30-years/
  8. https://web.archive.org/web/20200109075706/https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132330/the_pacman_dossier.php
  9. https://web.archive.org/web/20190712174728/https://www.wired.com/2010/05/pac-man-30-years/
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20170807132255/http://www.businessinsider.com/pac-man-ghosts-were-almost-all-one-color-2015-6
  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20200109075706/https://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/132330/the_pacman_dossier.php
  12. https://youtu.be/YbQjPKp-A6Y?si=4DPZp2Q64A8iJmok&t=316
  13. https://archive.org/details/play-meter-volume-20-number-13-december-1994/Play%20Meter%20-%20Volume%2020%2C%20Number%2013%20-%20December%201994/page/24/mode/2up?view=theater&q=pac-man
  14. "Cash Box" (December 17, 1983), pg 36 https://twitter.com/GameResearch_E/status/1229424254841769984
  15. https://books.google.com/books?id=PTrcTeAqeaEC
  16. "Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon", pages 218-220
  17. https://www.worldradiohistory.com/Archive-All-Music/Cash-Box/80s/1980/CB-1980-11-22.pdf
  18. "Google's Android operating system launched yesterday with a decidedly underwhelming games line-up of, er, just Pac-Man." https://kotaku.com/gameloft-glu-announce-android-games-452594236
  19. https://atariage.com/forums/topic/182946-atarisoft-coleco-titles/?do=findComment&comment=2369557
  20. "Pac-Man - Genesis, New Wave Toys - a close arcade port for a commercial handheld toy" https://shiru.untergrund.net/aboutme.shtml#gamedev
  21. https://www.arcade-museum.com/manuals-videogames/P/Pac-Man.pdf
  22. https://pacman.com/en/history/
  23. https://tcrf.net/Pac-Man_(Arcade)
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20110307134412/http://blog.games.yahoo.com/blog/443-five-things-you-never-knew-about-pac-man
  25. https://www.flyerfever.com/namco-video-games-catalog-1978-1980/
  26. "Counter Top [...] It was an attempt to pitch selling home machines through high end catalog stores that never came together." https://lawnmowerman.rotheblog.com/
  27. https://www.gamegeschiedenis.nl/2018/05/not-just-in-japan-pac-man-initially-released-as-puck-man-in-west-germany/
  28. Resource with information on Spanish "recreational" machines: https://www.recreativas.org
[v · e · ?]
Advertisement