Codex Gamicus
For the character, see Pac-Man (character).

Pac-Man is the most popular arcade game of all time, first introduced by Namco in 1980. It was first known as Puck-Man in Japan but revised to Pac-Man for the US because some people changed the "P" into an "F". There was so much popularity that he has almost beat the Mario Bros. for the most games about one character. There have been many various games about him.


Pac-Man was created by video game designer, Toru Iwatani. Iwatani, himself claims that shape of Pac-Man came from one day when he was hungry, ordered a pizza, and removed a slice. However, he admits this is just a story he likes to tell. Pac-Man's shape is actually based on the Japanese character for mouth (kuchi), which is a square shape. He rounded it out, and as such, the little yellow circle was born.

The name Pac-Man is American. In Japan, the character is called Puck-Man, a name which is derived from the Japanese onomatopoeia for eating (Paku Paku). The name was changed for US release because of the ease of changing Puck-Man to something else by scratching out part of the P.


The gameplay involves maneuvering the yellow character Pac-Man through a series of blue mazes, gobbling up all the pellets. However, Pac-Man's progress is opposed by four ghosts: Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde colored cyan, red, pink, and orange. Pac-Man can only eat these ghosts by eating one of the four special power pellets placed throughout the maze. Once Pac-Man eats every pellet on the screen, the level is over. Occasionally, fruit will show up that give Pac-Man bonus points. Every 10,000 points, Pac-Man gains an extra life. The game is supposed to loop forever, although the 256th level is glitched and unbeatable. When Pac-Man eats a giant dot, the ghosts all turn dark blue and run away, and Pac-Man can eat these ghosts.


  • Pellet—10 points
  • Power pellet—50 points
  • Blue ghost—200 points (first), 400 (second), 800 (third), and 1600 (fourth)
  • Fruit prizes
  • Cherry -- 100 points
  • Strawberry -- 300 points
  • Orange -- 500 points
  • Apple -- 700 points
  • Grape -- 1000 points

Other items[]

  • Galaxian Flagship -- 2000 points
  • Bell -- 3000 points
  • Key -- 5000 points

Atari 2600 Version[]

Main article: Pac-Man (Atari 2600)

Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 is a port of the original arcade game. The game was designed by Tod Frye, who showed them a prototype of the game. Instead of letting Frye finish the game, Atari published the port.

Of the differences that exist between this version and the original arcade version, the most notable of them is that the ghosts are all one color and tend to flicker a lot; also, the various fruit prizes are replaced by a single prize called the vitamin which is worth 100 points when eaten. The player starts off with four lives and gets a new life with each screen cleared instead of at 10,000 points (up to nine lives can be stored up at a time).

Atari manufactured 12 million cartridges of the game, but only about 7 million copies were sold. The game was a huge failure and many consumers asked for refunds. This was one of the many games that led to the video game industry crash of 1983.


The most popular sequel in the Pac-Man franchise is Ms. Pac-Man, a variation with several additions and improvements. There have also been other variations, such as Jr. Pac-Man, that were not as widely popular. The game Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures plays completely differently from the traditional game, but is designated "Pac-Man 2" and can be considered an official "storyline" sequel.


In addition to sequels, there were also clones of the original Pac-Man arcade game. The most notable ones are:

  • New Puc-One -- which features an altered maze with some additional passageways and two more tunnels, one in the top half of the screen and one in the bottom half.
  • Hangly Man -- which features a similarly altered screen in addition to another alternating screen where the playfield has no maze dividers, allowing free movement for both Pac-Man and the ghosts.
  • Pac-Man Plus -- a modified version of the original game where eating the power pill doesn't always turn all the ghosts blue, and where eating the fruit prize in the center of the screen temporarily turns the ghosts invisible (and also edible).

World Championship[]

On June 5, 2007, the first Pac-Man World Championship was held in New York City, which brought together ten competitors from eight countries to play the new Pac-Man Championship Edition just prior to its release on Xbox Live Arcade. The top two scorers, Robert Glashuettner of Austria and Carlos Daniel Borrego of Mexico, competed for the championship in a single five-minute round. Borrego was named Pac-Man World Champion and won an Xbox 360 console, specially decorated with Pac-Man artwork and signed by Toru Iwatani.


The Intellivision version was originally sold by Atari, and then later by INTV Corporation when the original stock was sold out and they acquired the rights from Atari and Namco to distribute the game under their own company label.

The Atari 5200 and 8-bit home computer versions use the Atari logo in place of the Galaxian flagship as the fruit prize that appears between the grape and the bell.

A prototype version of this game was developed for the ColecoVision by Atari, but it was never released. An arcade-accurate homebrew version for the ColecoVision was developed and released as Pac-Man Collection in 2009, which also includes Ms. Pac-Man.

The Bally Astrocade version is called Muncher and was developed by a third-party company instead of by Midway. Despite being of lower resolution, it is considered a rather faithful adaptation of the original arcade Pac-Man game.

The Apple II version sold by Atarisoft was originally Taxman, developed by Hal Laboratory.


See also[]

Pac-Man (character)