Pac -Man is an arcade and video game that was released in July 1980 by Namco in Japan called " Puck Man". The name is derived from the Japanese onomatopoeia paku paku for " repeatedly open and close the mouth " and the puck - like shape of the main character here; also means puck in English as " goblin ". It was designed by Tōru Iwatani game designer. In 1981 the game from Midway licensed as Pac -Man in the USA. The name was changed because it was feared that the words " Puck Man" on the machine in "Fuck You " could be modified. Playful remained unchanged, except that the four monsters were other names in the game.

It appeared numerous clones, variants and developments of the game for almost all operating systems. The original can now be played with an emulator (for BMAME ), the actual game files (ROMs ) are not included with universal emulators.


The game character Pac -Man must eat dots in a maze while being chased by ghosts. If you eat a " power pill" that can be reversed follow even the ( now blue colored ) ghosts for a certain time. Sometimes even a cherry or other symbol in the game that a player brings extra points if one eats it appears. If one does not eat the icon, it will disappear after some time. Are all points eaten, you get to the next level. This differs from the previous essentially only by the higher game speed ( in the lower levels by a modified opponent behavior). Control is by joystick.

Left and right of the screen is a tunnel through which to go and so the opponent can deceive. The ghosts do not move randomly. Each with a certain strategy, and which follows the movements of the player inputs.

As the game should appeal to a female audience, designed Iwatani " cute " enemy characters. Pac -Man's opponent are four colorful ghosts with big eyes, the shape of which is reminiscent of the frayed end of a mop. The spirits each showing their own behavior and have names and nicknames. The names of the spirits are seen during the Attract Mode and have been changed for the U.S. version. They are as follows:


A historical record achieved Billy Mitchell on July 3, 1999. Graduated Level 255 with maximum score, without ever eaten. He gathered up all the bonuses and ate every blue ghost. The maximum score is 3,333,360 points and is referred to as perfect game.

As a runner Rick Fothergil played in May 2000 a perfect game - the third, Chris Ayra (June 2000), set a new time record. He played the 255 Level in 3 hours, 42 minutes and 4 seconds.

On 12 September 2009, a new record has now been officially announced. The new record holder David Race was 42 seconds faster than Chris Ayra and managed thus to a time of 3 hours, 41 minutes and 22 seconds.

In the United States joined in 1982 in the TV show " Starcade " the then 8 -year-old Jeffrey R. Yee and claimed to have after several hours of game time reaches a score of 6.13194 million. For this he received on 5 December 1982, a congratulatory letter from President Ronald Reagan, who congratulated him on his world record. Such a score would only be possible if Level 256 could be completed.

Level 256

Although the game is designed to be no end to the " split-screen Level 256 " due to a technical fact is unsolvable. The left part of the screen shows the usual part of the maze, while the right is seemingly disjointed filled with letters and symbols.

The level counter is an 8-bit large unsigned integer value. When changing from Level 255 ( 0xFF) to 256 the memory location runs over and takes the value 0x00 to. For the destruction of the labyrinth a loop that draws fruits at the bottom of the screen to indicate the current level of jurisdiction in the first seven levels provides. This is called when the level counter is less than 0x08, so even at Level 0x00 - for the higher levels, however, is run through another block of code. The condition to another through the loop is queried with the assembler instruction DJNZ ( decrement and jump if not zero). Since the memory location at initial decrement now overflows from 0xFF to 0x00 and is equal to 0, the loop is executed a total of 256 times.

A 1 KB large area in graphics memory indicates which symbol is to be drawn on the screen where. The arrangement is such that starting at address 0x4000 of the bottom two lines of the screen from right to left, then from address 0x4040 the playing field is shown from top right to bottom and from address 0x43c0 the top of the screen. This is followed by an equally large and equally arranged area with color information. In Level 256, the loop copies the seven fruits from address 0x3b08 in the graphics memory, but will continue to run, although then follow no fruit objects. The result is that the half of the pitch is overwritten with data from the ROM 256 before the cycles are completed.

The level is not solvable, because there are not enough points for completing the level in the left half of the pitch.

Mitchell, who has reached this level claims to several hundred times, had in 1999 a prize of U.S. $ 100,000 for those exposed who successfully mastered detectable before 1 January 2000 these same levels. The price remained unclaimed.

Successor and related games

Official Arcade successor by Namco and Midway offshoots are:

  • Ms. Pac -Man: Pac -Man with minimal changes and a Ms. Pac -Man as the main character by Bally Midway
  • Super Pac -Man: Pac -Man eats fruit in courses that can be opened only with collected keys. The Super Pacman is here an oversized Pacman can eat through everything, including the doors.
  • Pac- Man Plus: An improved Pac -Man with a slightly higher degree of difficulty and the feature of the invisibility fruit of Midway
  • Professor Pac -Man: A quiz game from Midway
  • Pac & Pal Pac -Man with fruits
  • Jr. Pac -Man: Pac -Man Junior as the original and new handicaps in the form of monsters thicken on an approximately twice as large playing field peas, which thereby can eat slower.
  • Pac-Land A Pac -Man Jump ' n' Run
  • Pac -Mania Pac -Man on a pseudo- 3D isometric game
  • Pac -Man Arrangement: Pac -Man as part of Namco Classics Collection Volume 2 from 1996 with many improvements in detail

Many other games are based on a similar gameplay:

  • Head On ( Sega / Gremlin, 1979) first points - eating game ( inspiration for Pac -Man )
  • Lady Bug ( Universal Games, 1981) with hinged doors
  • Piranha (GL, 1981)
  • Rabbit and wolf ( Polyplay, 1985, based on the television series rabbit and wolf ), GDR
  • Twomaze (Atari XL / XE) by Frank Ostrowski
  • Ms. Pac - Man Special Color Edition (1999, Game Boy Color)
  • Pac -Man Championship Edition ( Namco Bandai Games, 2007 visual changed to different mazes ) for the Xbox and PSP
  • Pac -Man Championship Edition DX ( Namco Bandai Games, in 2010, extended version of the Champtionship Edition) for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 ( announced for Windows 8 in November 2012)


Designer Tōru Iwatani indicates that the character Pacman is the one by the sight of a pizza, in which was missing a piece, inspired, it represents to the other is a simplified form of the Japanese word for mouth (口).

In the early 1980s the company Nelsonic published a wristwatch with Pac -Man on a small LCD screen.

In 1982, Milton Bradley released a board game version, in which up to four players must eat with a plastic Pac -Man small marbles simultaneously.

In 1982 the album " Pac- Man Fever " by Buckner & Garcia the duo was released. All songs on the album revolve around arcade video games from the era.

1992 brought Richard David James ( Aphex Twin ) under the pseudonym Power -Pill the maxi CD " Pac -Man " on the market. It includes the same track and 4 remixes.

Some American students have even played Pac-Man with Pac- Manhattan first time in 2004 "in kind ". The players move in colorful ponchos as spirits or Pac -Man within a section of the city and get on radio advice from so-called " controllers " that monitor what is happening with laptops.

Unveiled in 2005 students in Stuttgart another form of the game called PacMatch. This 3 players move (Pac -Man against ghosts 2 ) on large pressure-sensitive plates. The playing field itself is projected by a beamer on a screen in front of the players. This type of control requires players especially body coordination and team spirit.

In June 2007, the first Pac -Man World Championships took place in New York City (USA). It was played here is not the classic, but a new " Pac- Man Championship Edition" ( exclusively on the Microsoft Xbox 360 and as a Java application for mobile phones available). These World Championships were funded by the company Microsoft, Namco Bandai Games and Quiznos.

On the occasion of the thirtieth Birthday replaced Google on 21 May 2010 its logo on the main page for 48 hours by a JavaScript -based version of the game, the level limits the Google logo imitated (see doodle ). The Google version offered the complete Level 255, the 256 level is shown with a similar representation error of the original game. However, here appears then the word "GAME OVER", which ends the game. When the player also " Insert coin " twice on the start button ( or English Insert Coin ) expressed, in its place usually the " I'm feeling lucky " sitting, he could also play in co-op with Ms. Pac -Man.

The Google version has been archived and is permanently available even after the expiry of the 48 -hour action. The unusual sounds when calling the Google page with the browser Mozilla Firefox unsettled many users and the large number of inquiries led to a short-term collapse of the support pages of the Mozilla Foundation. In the blogosphere, there were also discussions about the economic damage caused by the game longer retention of professionals on the Google pages.

On 29 November 2012, the Museum of Modern Art announced the acquisition of 14 computer games, including Pac -Man, a new design permanent exhibition in the Philip Johnson Galleries from March 2013. In the notice, the title has been referred to as outstanding representatives in the field of interaction design. Criteria were, therefore, in addition to the visual quality and the aesthetic experience of all aspects that contribute to the design of the interaction, such as the elegance of the code or the design of the player behavior.

The so-called catering services at Agency for Technical Relief, etc. use a Pac -Man -like symbol as a tactical character. The resemblance to Pac -Man, however, is only random, it is rather a stylized loaf of bread.

In business, there is a so-called PAC -MAN strategy. The principle: Pac-Man Swallows a certain pill, he is hunted by the hunter. Transmitting means companies can fend off a takeover when trying to purchase with their own capital itself to prospective buyers.


The end of 2005 it was announced that the film studio Crystal Sky wants the games Pac -Man, Tekken and Castlevania film. The rights to these games were purchased in 2002 for 200 million U.S. dollars. In May 2008 it was announced that the filming should begin shortly. Details are not yet known, such as whether it will be a real or cartoon.