Pac-Man is a classic computer game, first released as an arcade game on May 22, 1980. The game was developed by Namco. One hundred thousand arcade machines were sold within a year. It is therefore one of the most successful computer games of all time, and surpasses games such as Tetris and Street Fighter.
In the game the player controls a yellow “bite” called Pac-Man, with which he has to make his way through a playing field filled with balls and other objects such as fruit. The goal is to eat all the balls in the playing field. The fruits earn extra points.
However, the playing field is made unsafe by four ghosts in the colors red, pink, light blue and orange. In the Japanese version they bear the names: Akabei (赤 ベ イ), Pinky (ピ ン キ ー), Aosuke (青 助) and Guzuta (愚 図 た) and in the American edition the names: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. When Pac-Man gets caught by a ghost, he is there. The player must therefore avoid the ghosts. However, if Pac-Man picks up a white pill, of which there are four in the playing field, the roles are temporarily reversed and he can eliminate the ghosts. The ghosts then all turn dark blue and walk slower, but now try to avoid the Pac-Man. The ghosts all have their own pattern. The red is the only one that really follows Pac-Man. The pink ghost is looking for a position in front of Pac-Man’s mouth, the blue is trying to find a permanent spot and the orange is moving randomly through the field. When Pac-Man dies, his mouth flips open so far that he disappears. Then there is fireworks on the same spot.
The control is usually via a joystick, but can also be done with the keyboard of the computer. The four arrow keys are used to control the Pac-Man. On devices with a touchscreen, four arrows appear below or next to the playing field with which the Pac-Man can be controlled.
Pac-Man was developed by Toru Iwatani, game designer at the Japanese game manufacturer Namco. For many years many different stories have been circulating about how Pac-Man was conceived. During the NLGD in 2010, where Toru Iwatani from the World Guinness Book of Records received a trophy for the success of Pac-Man, he tells the entire story behind Pac-Man.
The antagonists in the game were originally not known as ghosts but simply as monsters. The name ghosts they owe to the version of Pac-Man that was released in 1981 for the game console Atari 2600. The Atari 2600 version was of poor quality; the monsters blinked so that they have since been mistaken for ghosts.