Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

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matmico399
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Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby matmico399 » February 16th, 2016, 7:46 pm

Yes I know this is probably blasphemy in the world of classic gamers! I am in my mid 40's and grew up in the golden age of the arcade. I remember when Pac Man first came out and I enjoyed playing it. But I was bored after a few months and moved on to Centipede, Missile Command and Battlezone which I found much more compelling. Yet everyone luvs Pac Man so much and it is probably the most famous video game ever made. I own 9 consoles and I don't have it on one of mine, but I do have Ms. Pac Man on my 2600.

I guess it was the constant challenge of always trying to move to the next level and see how far you could outwit the ghosts. I remember getting it as a gift on the 2600 on an Easter Sunday back in '82 or '83. But I wasn't excited, although grateful. But I remember I was like I hope it's Haunted House.

There have been too many Pac Man clones to count, but I find almost all of them more fun than the original. Mousetrap (where you can change the maze), and K.C.'s Crazy Chase where you must eat the centipede up from behind are just a few examples. Even now I have a very little urge to play the original Pac Man again.

Your thoughts?

Herschie
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Herschie » February 16th, 2016, 8:09 pm

I don't think Pac Man has stood the test of time that many classic games have. I always get so excited to play it, yet I find myself getting bored within a few minutes.

snakeboy
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby snakeboy » February 16th, 2016, 10:27 pm

You two guys are crazy. Pac-Man was awesome, is awesome, and will always be awesome. The only thing going against it is that its sequel improved on it in most every way. But that doesn't mean the original isn't still great!
Last edited by snakeboy on February 22nd, 2016, 1:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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scotland
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby scotland » February 19th, 2016, 12:33 pm

matmico399 wrote:Yes I know this is probably blasphemy in the world of classic gamers! I am in my mid 40's and grew up in the golden age of the arcade. I remember when Pac Man first came out and I enjoyed playing it. But I was bored after a few months and moved on to Centipede, Missile Command and Battlezone which I found much more compelling. Yet everyone luvs Pac Man so much and it is probably the most famous video game ever made....Your thoughts?


Plus One to you for asking a good question.

That Pac-Man was popular in the United States in 1981-1983 is undeniable, but its good to ask why? If I recall, when the game was first shown to distributors, the consensus was that Rally X was the game of the year in 1981, the same year Battlezone and Defender came out too. Yet it was Pac-Man that not only was big, it entered American pop culture like no arcade game ever has before or since. I have a bunch of books of the time about video games, and while a good game like Centipede does have a book by itself and usually gets a few pages in hint books, Pac-Man is in a class by himself. Why?

(How popular was Pac-Man outside the US? Anyone know?)

My first thought is character. Pac Man is the first video game character of note, and the 80s would see the rise in video game characters like Mario and Mega Man, which has grown now so we see fewer and fewer movie IPs in video games. As great as Centipede or Missile Command or Defender are, there are no characters. Secondly, the opponents are also characters. Blinky, his ghost image if not his name, is almost as famous as Pac-Man.

Second, I will say it was inviting and broadened the audience . Most games I recall of the time were military or space or fantasy or something 'geeky'. The electromechanicals too were submarines or machine guns or other things that seemed to focus on boys. Pinball machines were kinda edgy. Pac-man though invited everyone in. No guns, nothing edgy...cute yellow circle eating his way through a maze. Suddenly it was wholesome.

In a way, Pac Man did what Nintendo did with the Wii. Pac Man did not just compete for arcaders, it broadened the audience and won them instead. Arcaders who had played Space Invaders before, then Pac Man, then went on to Battlezone weren't the big prize, it was bringing in the quarters of all those people who never played Space Invaders before and never went on to Battlezone at all.

Third, they made some good minor choices. Pac-Man is obviously a cat and mouse game, but they did not use cat and mice, did they? Plus the change from Puck-Man was good thinking. Pac-Man is as cute as a yellow circle can be. The cabinet art is inviting, not menacing like Space Invaders. The cut scenes added an extra bonus.

Fourth, the challenge is just right for an arcade game. Most of use blew through a lot of tokens right off, but it always felt like 'next time I got this'. Pac-Man wasn't all about the twitch, but some combo of being fast and thinking it out. Only a quick as lightning kid could play some of those arcade games, but anyone could try Pac Man. The books cued us in that the ghosts would follow rules, which lead players to build patterns based on those rules. It was like chess, with an opening (the pattern) and a middle and an endgame.

Pac-Man still a great game to play with kids when you see the arcade machines about. Those are about the only arcade machines I regularly bump into at restaurants and the like. Its also nice to play with a small joystick too.

Sut
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Sut » February 19th, 2016, 1:49 pm

I've nothing to add apart from I find it a game that the more time you spend with it the more rewarding it becomes. I'm currently enjoying playing the Channel F version.

I can only speak for the UK but it was insanely popular here as well. All sorts of merchandise were floating around. I think Scotland summed it up perfectly with the games premise and characters able to go 'mass market'.

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Rookie1
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Rookie1 » February 19th, 2016, 9:15 pm

Its simple and fun to the causal gamer, and there is a lot of strategy involved for the hardcore gamer. It appeals to everyone. With that being said, I am and always have been terrible at the game and every iteration after it. I enjoy playing it still to this day. I love the imagery, the sound affects, and maybe if im lucky I can make it to the 2nd or 3r level. But after about 10 minutes, I am all set.

I did invest a lot of time in Pac-Man Jr., only because it had a pinball machine on it though.

Wallyworld
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Wallyworld » February 21st, 2016, 3:47 am

I never liked Pacman i found it to show and repetitive but Mrs. Pacman is gaming bliss.

Gleebergloben123
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Gleebergloben123 » February 21st, 2016, 10:45 am

Everything Scotland stated in the above post.

I've posted this before here about 8 years ago, but here it goes, my Pacman story. In the summer of 1982, a local pizza joint/video arcade opened up in my hometown of western PA, a small, depressed steel-mill town. The pizza shop was in the front, and in the back was about 20-25 arcade games. Pure bliss for a 14 year old like me. The restaurant gave away a free 16-inch pizza every week for the high score of 10 of the arcade games. Over the summer, I won 45 sixteen-inch pizzas. I had a single mom and a mentally and physically disabled brother and we were very poor; my mom loved having a freezer-full of pizzas. I played the games from money I made delivering newspapers daily. The arcade was about 2 miles away and coming back home required a long, one mile walk up a steep hill, but it was well worth it to play games.

So to Pacman. I was really good at Pacman, but not great. One day I went to the arcade and saw that a classmate of mine, Jamie, got a score of something like 500,000, and my high score was maybe 300,000 max. I asked Jamie how he did it, and he showed me a Pacman strategy book he bought with the patterns. I asked if I could borrow it during study hall, and I frantically drew a Pacman map with the patterns from the book in my notebook before giving the text back to Jamie.

The next day, I go back to the arcade, and I was on a roll. My high score was I think 997,600. What I did not know is that a certain point in the game, Pacman becomes much slower so a new pattern is needed. I was so thrilled with my new high score, but kind of bummed that I was so close to getting a million. I believe I was playing for 2 or 2 and a half-hours. When I lost my last life, my eyeballs were completely fried from looking at the screen for so long. Several players were watching me play during the game, and it was just a cool moment in my childhood. And that pizza I won for winning at Pacman that week never tasted so good.

Why does Pacman get so much love? Along with what Scotland said, everyone knows Pacman. As the president of Namco once said "Everyone knows Pacman, even people who don't know video games know Pacman". It was probably the first iconic video game, a game that transcended the arcades. There was merchandising galore, a Pacman song that hit number 12 on Billboard, breakfast cereal, a Saturday morning cartoon, the works. Just a fun game that brought non-gamers to the arcades.

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Gentlegamer
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby Gentlegamer » February 21st, 2016, 12:51 pm

Pac-Man was just challenging and easy to enough to play the cocktail version while drunk at the bar.

mbd36
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Re: Why does everyone love Pac Man so much?

Postby mbd36 » February 21st, 2016, 10:19 pm

"Pac-Man" seems simple enough, but it does have depth. It came out in 1980 and it wasn't until 1999 that someone finally conquered it and played a perfect game.

It's visually charming... one of the first arcade games to have an appealing cartoony look. It's simple enough for anyone to pick up and play. But there is also substance for the "hardcore gamer" who wants to spend a lot of time learning the patterns, etc.


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