Pac-Man celebrated his 25th anniversary in 2005, and was invented by Japanese games designer Toru Iwatani. The first Pac-Man (or "Puck-Man/PuckMan", as he was then called) arcade machines were released in Japan on 22 May 1980.
The idea for the character was apparently inspired by a pizza with a slice missing! In 1986, Toru Iwatani confessed that the pizza was only part of the story. He revealed that the Pac-Man design had also come about through simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi (口) - and from the basic concept of eating.
As mentioned above, the original name in Japan was 'Puck-Man' but that name was felt to be too much of a gift for graffiti artists and soon altered!
We were introduced to Pac-Man here in England around 1981, or it may have been as late as 1982 - the advertisement for the Pac-Man watch from November '82 featured above refers to our old pal as "The action packed video game that's sweeping the US". No mention of it sweeping the UK at that point!
"I'll just have a quick game," my pal Pete would say, eyeing Pac-Man as we found a table at the pub. It was always the same.
An hour later, I'd still be on my own at the table, probably on my third "Snakebite" and glumly listening to Toto Coelo or whatever on the jukebox. Don't get me wrong, I liked Toto Coelo, who didn't, but I hated the idea that my old schoolmate preferred Pac-Man's company to mine.
I loved the "Wacca-Wacca-Wacca" sound of Pac-Man - and thought the character refreshingly different, but was absolutely hopeless at it. Was just as bad at Space Invaders. So that was it. Me and my Snakebite - all alone and feeling blue...
More merchandise - this was ideal for carrying sardine and tomato paste sandwiches, tepid tea and a Marathon (comes up peanuts, slice after slice).
1980-2005 - an official Namco Pac-Man 25th anniversary sticker.
This article was originally posted in January 2008 and updated in March 2009.