What is PAC-MAN

"PAC-MAN" is a video game that was released by Namco Bandai Games (then called Namco) in 1980. Over the last 30 years, PAC-MAN has become an international smash hit, gaining fame far beyond the borders of Japan. It is one of the best-selling Japanese video games of all time, and its characters are still loved by people around the world.

"PAC-MAN" combines simple rules with deep gameplay, colorful and cute characters, lively music, unique sound effects and humorous intermissions (known as "coffee breaks") between certain game levels. This innovative combination has captured the hearts of gamers everywhere, including the many women and children to whom PAC-MAN was the first video game they ever played.

The game's popularity in North America is especially notable as the arcade machine sold more than 100,000 units in its first year of production, then an unheard of number of sales. Incredibly, over 400 different types of PAC-MAN-related merchandise were also released. The popularity of "PAC-MAN" in the United States made him a social phenomenon, resulting in both a popular animated television series and a hit disco record ("PAC-MAN Fever" by Buckner & Garcia).

The game even introduced a new legal term called the "PAC-MAN defense" where a company that is threatened by a hostile takeover defends itself by acquiring its would-be buyer. The term is derived from the gameplay in "PAC-MAN" wherein retaliation against the enemy ghosts is possible by eating a power pellet.

Sight of Guinness certification

Further, in 2005 "PAC-MAN" received the Guinness World Records award for being the "Most Successful Coin-Operated Game".

After the release of the 1980 arcade game, "PAC-MAN" was ported to various video game platform including home gaming consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System and PlayStation, handheld systems, and even on mobile phones. Additionally, over the years, numerous new titles and series sequels have also been released, including "Super PAC-MAN" and "PAC-LAND".
Still today, 30 years after its release, the game can be played on present day gaming systems and brand new mobile phone devices, and continues to be loved by people around the world.


The player controls PAC-MAN while attempting to eat all the dots in the maze and avoid getting caught by the ghosts through an extremely simple user interface consisting only of a single joystick.

There are four ghosts who chase PAC-MAN, each with different names and personalities, such as the chaser and the ambusher. The ghosts work together to try to corner and catch PAC-MAN. As for PAC-MAN, he can power up by eating one of four blinking power pellets located in the corners of the maze. The power pellet will provide PAC-MAN with the ability to eat ghosts for a limited amount of time. When a ghost is eaten, its eyes will return to the ghost home in the center of the maze, where it regenerates after a certain amount of time. Moreover, there are two warp tunnels either side of the maze which will slow down the ghosts while PAC-MAN escapes to the other side of the screen.

Instruction card

In each level, bonus items appear after a certain number of dots are eaten. There are a variety of bonus items, including fruits like cherries and strawberries, the "Galaxian" boss flagship, and a key. In order to get a really high score, these items should not be missed.
PAC-MAN starts the game with three lives, and loses a life each time a ghost touches PAC-MAN. Obtaining over 5000 points earns the player an extra life.

A unique feature of this game is the intermissions (or coffee breaks) which appear after completing certain levels. PAC-MAN and a ghost chase each other in a cute animated sequence which hints at a background story. These "coffee breaks" can be considered a frontrunner to the in-game cut scenes that are common in today's video games.

The extremely catchy game music and sound effects, including those of PAC-MAN eating dots, fruits, and power pellets, are wonderfully unique and are instantly recognizable to millions worldwide.

  • Dimensions : W630 x D800 x H1,740 (mm)
  • Weight : 92 kg
  • Power : AC100V A10V(50/60Hz)
  • Price : 100 yen per game (price and game configuration can be adjusted)
  • *These specifications are for the Japanese version.

    "PAC-MAN" screenshot

    The 4 Ghosts each have unique behavioral patterns

    Various animated sequences are featured during "coffee breaks"

    Marketing leaflet


    The original name of PAC-MAN on release was PUCK-MAN. It was later changed for U.S. translation.

    PAC-MAN 30th Anniversary

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