Pac-Man was released in October 1980 in North America by Bally/Midway, under license from Namco. 96,000 units were produced in America.
Reportedly, when Bally/Midway obtained the rights to Pac-Man, Namco was offering four different games, which ended up being licensed to Game Plan and Bally/Midway. Game Plan's Ken Anderson reports that he and Bally's Dave Marofske flipped a coin to see who would get first crack at the games. Game Plan won and chose a tank game (which they released as "Tank Battalion
") over Pac-Man. The other game they got was released as "King & Balloon
". Bally/Midway, meanwhile, took Pac-Man and "Rally-X
Midway made the following changes to the game (from the original Namco version):
- The game's name (and likewise its main character) has been changed to Pac-Man. Refer to the Namco Upright version entry, Trivia section, for details behind this name change.
- The name/nickname combinations for the ghosts in this version are:
Shadow - "Blinky" (red ghost)
Speedy - "Pinky
" (pink ghost)
Bashful - "Inky" (cyan ghost)
Pokey - "Clyde" (orange ghost)
- Notice that the pink ghost's nickname remains unchanged from the Japanese version.
- Unlike the Japanese version, the American version has no DIP switch for alternate ghost names.
The game's cult status in the early 80's was such that it inspired a hit song by 'Buckner and Garcia' called 'Pac-Man Fever', released in 1982 on the album of the same name.
The game also spawned a virtual cottage industry of best-selling how-to books strategy guides on how to beat the game by using patterns with names like the "Bazo's Breaker", the "Donut Dazzler" and the "GET pattern" (named after the first initials of the members of a team of players from Davis, California: George Huang, Ed Bazo, and Tom Fertado).
A Pac-Man unit appears in the movie 'Getting There', in the 1982 movie 'Jekyll & Hyde - Together Again', in the 1982 movie 'Fast Times at Ridgemont High', in the 1983 movie 'WarGames', in the 1983 movie 'Joysticks', in the 1983 movie 'Koyaanisqatsi - Life out of Balance', in the 1985 movie 'The Heavenly Kid', in the 1985 movie 'Better Off Dead', and in the 1986 movie 'The Color of Money'.
A Pac-Man unit appears in the pilot of Season One of 'The A-Team'. It is where Amy (Melinda Culea) meets Murdock (Dwight Schultz) for the first time.
MB (Milton Bradley) released a board game based on this video game in 1982 (Pac-Man Game, 'As Much Fun as the Action Packed Arcade Game of the Same Name'). In this board game, the dots in the maze are represented by white marbles. There are also yellow marbles representing the power pills in the maze. There are also two ghosts pawns of the same color in the game. The object is to roll the dice and move your Pac-Man playing piece around the maze gobbling up as many marbles as you can using the count on one die, and move either ghost pawn using the count on the other die. There are yellow dots imprinted on the game board to lay out the path each character must take; these dots do not count as spaces. Use the ghosts to try to catch your opponents. When this happens, that opponent is sent back home and surrenders two marbles to the player who moved the ghost. If a Pac-Man gobbles up a yellow marble, that player earns the right to gobble a ghost. When this happens, the gobbled ghost is returned to the ghost pen, the player takes two marbles away from any opponent, and the player's yellow marble is returned to the game board. Once the maze is cleared of white marbles, the game is over and the player with the most white marbles (yellow marbles do not count) is the winner.
'Pac-Man' is also the nickname of the Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao. The two-time world champion earned the distinction as the only boxer who has knocked down both future Mexican 'Hall of Famer' Marco Antonio 'Baby Face Assassin' Barrera (knocked out in 11th round) and Erik 'El Terrible' Morales (knocked out in 10th round). Pacquiao has been on the top 10 list of the best 'pound-for-pound' fighters in the world.
In the multi-racial country of Malaysia, 'Pac-Man' is a slang term coined to describe men who only date ladies of other races.
The name 'Pac-Man' has been given to a nebula, cataloged as NGC 281. The Pac-Man Nebula is an H II region in the constellation of Cassiopeia. It includes or is near the open cluster IC 1590, the double star HD 5005, and several Bok globules. The shape of the nebula resembles the famous video game icon, Pac-Man. It is visible in amateur telescopes from dark sky locations.
The Cassini Robotic spacecraft (Cassini-Huygens) were captured images during a close pass to the moon of Saturn named 'Mimas', and collected by the composite infrared spectrometer (CIRS). The images show the fluctuating temperatures experienced by Mimas. The combined map with this images form a shape of this character Pac-Man.
On May 21, 2010, to celebrate Pac-Man's 30th Anniversary, Google, the famous internet search engine, has created the first ever interactive Doodle! This doodle allowed people to play Pac-Man on the home page (at the place of the original logo).