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Trivia / Pac-Man

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The Pac-Man video games:

  • Ascended Fanboy: Shigeru Miyamoto has stated several times his favorite video game series was Pac-Man. He was eventually able to make his own game in the series, Pac-Man Vs.
  • Breakthrough Hit: For Namco. Pac-Man is their mascot because of this.
  • Call-Back: Pac-Man Arrangement used the alternate Japanese names for the monsters as their "character" names in the English version (though that game mixes up Clyde and Blinky's nicknames). Shadow is now Urchin, Speedy becomes Romp, Bashful becomes Stylish, and Pokey becomes Crybaby.
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  • Creator's Favorite: Iwatani has gone on record and said his favorite game is, surprisingly, Pac-Land.
  • Creator Killer: The Atari 2600 port, despite decent sales, was reviled for being a poor port and was one of the games that led to the crash of 1983 and the crushing of Atari as a leading console developer. It didn't help that in an era where rival Coleco regularly ported inferior versions of arcade games for which it had the home console rights to the 2600 and Mattel's Intellivision while porting superior versions of the same to its own ColecoVision, the port demonstrated that Atari couldn't be relied on to make 2600 versions of games for which it had the home console rights look better than on the ColecoVision or even the Intellivision.
  • Dub Name Change:
    • The game's Japanese title is "Puck-Man", named after Pac-Man's circular shape. However, the developers were worried that people would vandalize the cabinets and change the "p" to an "f". The Pac-Man name has stuck between all regions ever since.
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    • The ghosts' names were originally Oikake (meaning Chaser), Machibuse (Ambusher), Kimagure (Fickle), and Otoboke (Feigning Ignorance), respectively, cluing the player in on their patterns. However, the American release gave them less-accurate names (Shadow, Speedy, Bashful, and Pokey, respectively) for whatever reason. Speedy's name is particularly deceptive, since all four monsters move at the same speed (except when Shadow/Blinky is in "Cruise Elroy" mode, making him the fastest).
    • For that matter, their nicknames were mostly changed, too: Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde were originally Akabei, Pinky (the only one unchanged), Aosuke, and Guzuta - respectively, Red Guy, Pinky, Blue Guy, and Stupid/Slow.
    • On top of that, a dip switch setting in the Japanese version gave the monsters alternate names, turning them into Urchin, Romp, Stylist, and Crybaby, with nicknames of Macky, Micky, Mucky, and Mocky (the only setting where the orange monster isn't the Odd Name Out). The English version removes the alternate names entirely; flipping the dip switch changes their names to things like "AAAAAA".
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  • Executive Meddling: The infamous color palette and blue background of the Atari 2600 version was a result of Atari forcing all games that weren't set in space to not use black backgrounds in order to showcase the color capabilities of the system.
  • Fan Community Nicknames: The official Pac-Man for Mobile Facebook page refers to its players as ''PAC-MANiacs".
  • Fan Nickname:
    • "Ghosts" for the enemies chasing after Pac-Man; Namco has always simply referred to them as "monsters". Confirming this, the second intermission in the original game shows Blinky tearing his robe, leaving a pink leg exposed; and the third intermission first shows Blinky chasing Pac-Man off the screen with his robe hastily sewed up, and then running back the other way, dragging his robe behind him, revealing that he's actually a pink slug-like creature, not a ghost. The Atari 2600 version appears to be the origin of the "ghosts" nickname, since it calls them that in the manual due to being flickery and transparent instead of solid like the arcade game. The TV show confusingly combines both names, calling them "ghost-monsters". In the 3D games, they're ghosts, though even there it's sometimes implied that they're not ghosts, but living creatures.
    • Similarly, the big round dots that Pac-Man eats to turn the tables on the monsters/ghosts/ghost-monsters "Energizers" in the arcade. The LP record "The Amazing Adventures of Pac-Man" expands on this by calling them "energizer dots". They are "Power Pills" in the Atari versions, "Power Pellets" in the cartoon, which is actually closer to their official Japanese name: "Power Esa" (lit. "Power Food"). Moreover, Super Pac-Man officially refers to them as "POWER".
    • When Pac-Man has eaten enough dots, Blinky goes faster. Fans call this "Cruise Elroy", but no one seems to know why.
  • Follow the Leader: Pretty much every game console and home computer in the Second Generation Of Video Games had either an adaptation of this game available or some maze game that resembled Pac-Man. Magnavox's K.C. Munchkin for the Odyssey 2, however, was deemed so close to the original due to the design of the characters that it was pulled from the market. (However, in gameplay terms, it featured significant gameplay differences, with twelve moving dots that sped up as the level went on, invisible mazes, and a maze editor)
  • Genre-Killer: The Atari 2600 port is one the low-quality, overproduced games that started The Great Video Game Crash of 1983.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes: Jr. Pac-Man had a few ports on early systems (namely for the Atari 2600, Commodore 64, and MS-DOS) and hasn't had any other rereleases since. It could be speculated that it being a Midway game deters it from getting ported again, but Pac-Man Plus (by the same company) was ported on official Plug-N-Plays including the 35th anniversary collection.
  • Market-Based Title: Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures is called Hello! Pac-Man in Japan.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros.": Despite Namco preferring to not speak about the unauthorized Bally Midway games (with the exception of Ms. Pac-Man, which was made official thanks to its success), that didn't stop their characters from appearing in official Pac-Man games. Japanese players would think that Junior got his beany propeller hat from Pac-Man 2, when he actually got it from Jr. Pac-Man, his starring role. There's also Professor Pac's appearance in Pac-Man World, when he originally came from Professor Pac-Man, minus the mustache.
  • Name's the Same:
    • The name Pac-Man Arrangement can refer to one of two games: The original that was released in Namco Classics Collection Vol. 2 (and likewise featured in the sixth-generation Namco Museum games and Pac-Man Collection) and the second alliteration in 2005 that first appeared in Namco Museum Battle Collection, also known as Pac-Man Remix in certain re-releases.
    • Pac-Man 256 is either the mobile game by Hipster Whale or the game present in the 35th anniversary Plug-N-Play. The former is an autorunner while the latter is the original Pac-Man that begins at the 255th stage.
  • No Export for You: Of the original arcade games, Pac & Pal was the only one never released outside of Japan. There were plans for a localization (as Pac-Man and Chomp Chomp, with Miru replaced by Pac-Man's dog from the animated series), but it was cancelled.
  • Port Overdosed: Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are two of the most widely ported games ever made, right up there with Space Invaders and Tetris.
  • Prop Recycling: The Galboss from Galaxian is one of the fruits. The Championship Edition games also include Galaga and Gaplus enemies as fruits.
  • Referenced by...: In Bitcoin Billionaire, Winky is a green ghost, occasionally turning blue and dreaming of Pac-Man eating a power pellet in a dark maze.
  • Saved from Development Hell: The Ms. Pac-Man SNES port was going to be released alongside the Genesis version in 1991. It wound up being pushed to 1996, near the end of the console's life having changed developers in the interim.
  • Screwed by the Lawyers: Since about 2002, the rights to the Ms. Pac-Man arcade game have been embroiled in a huge legal mess. The game was originally created as a Game Mod for the original Pac-Man by General Computer Corporation, who worked with both Midway (Namco's distributor at the time) and Namco to release the game. However, releases of the game required that Namco pay royalties to GCC and its successors, something that Namco failed to meet fully. As a result, re-releases of Ms. Pac-Man eventually stopped. This is also believed to be one of the reasons why Namco has started to phase out the character herself from the franchise starting in the late 2010s.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • The first Pac-Man game's early designs concepts where the energizers/power pills/power pellets were actually Cookies. Pac-Man was planned to have an RV like shelter/trap in the game but due to size limitations, the idea was scrapped. The cookie idea would be briefly revisited in Pac-Man Party, though.
    • Ms. Pac-Man started out as an enhancement kit for Pac-Man called Crazy Otto created by a group of programmers. The titular Otto was Pac-Man with legs and the ghosts were changed into apple-shaped Cartoon Creatures with antenna. Midway bought the rights and made the game into an actual Pac-Man game. Working Titles included Super Pac-Man, Pac-Woman, Pac-Girl, Pac-Lady. Pac-ette, Miss Pac-Man, and Mrs. Pac-Man.
    • Plans for a Wipeout-style Pac-Man Game Show was planned but due to lack of network support the idea was scrapped.
    • There were plans for a feature film in 2008 but nothing came of it.

The 1982 Pac-Man cartoon:

  • The Danza: Susan Silo played Sue. Likely either an inversion or a coincidence, as the name "Sue" had been used for a ghost in the Ms. Pac-Man video game (although it was simply Clyde from the original with a different name).
  • Follow the Leader: By Hanna Barbera standards, Pac-Man was another small village type show similar to The Smurfs. Mezmaron fills the Gargamel type role with the quest to do some harm. However the Pac-Family themselves adhere more closely to the sitcom style family ala The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • Despite airing in 1982, the Hanna-Barbera series saw no VHS or DVD releases until January 2012, when the first season was released on DVD. The second season was released in September that same year. Both are available as manufacture-on-demand DVDs from the "Warner Archive" program, although they can also be bought via Amazon, eBay, and various other Internet auction sites.
    • In the 1980s, there actually were a number of VHS releases for the series...outside America.
  • Recursive Adaptation: An arcade video game called Pac-Land was released in 1984, which was a side-scrolling platformer that was clearly based on the cartoon. Inky's lazy eye and Sue's purple cloak and eyes survived into the design of the monsters in Pac-Mania. But Blinky retains his speed and aggressiveness, whereas in the cartoon he was an asthmatic coward. In the Pac-Man World games, however, the cartoon is mostly forgotten. There are only four ghosts, and Pinky is now female.
    • However, for some time after the release of Pac-Man Arrangement, Blinky's and Clyde's names were swapped around for some time, making Clyde the red, more aggressive, ghost and leader of the gang, and Blinky the orange and more laid-back ghost. This continued even into the second and third World games. Whenever or not this could be considered a homage to the cartoon or simply a mistake on Namco's parts is up to the viewer.


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