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In a world of dazzlingly complex video games and characters, it is hard to imagine that a game whose star was a yellow round creature who roamed around a maze, chomping down dots and avoiding ghosts, was not only considered revolutionary 30 years ago, but is still an inspiration for game developers today.
Released in the US on May 22, 1980, Pac-Man was not the first video game to come to market, but, it was the first game that was simple to use and designed to appeal to teenage girls and boys - And it worked!
Within 15 months, Namco, the game developer had sold 100,000 arcade machines and teens all across the country had spent over $1billion USD in allowance money and countless hours playing the game - Pac-Man fever had officially begun!
Soon there was Pac-Man songs, bed sheets, air fresheners, cookies and even a Pac-Man inspired animated television series for kids. It is therefore not surprising that Guinness Book of Records has named Pac-Man as the most recognized video game character ever, ahead of Mario Brothers and Sonic the Hedgehog. They also rate it as the most successful coin-operated game ever.
Not bad for a game that was inspired by game developer Toru Iwatani's half eaten pizza pie and took eight engineers, just 15 months to develop!
While Pac-Man may not be as popular today, the game still brings some nostalgic memories, especially among adults who had the fever 30 years ago. This was amply evident when Google put up a special Pac-Man game Doodle on its homepage last week - It is estimated that fans spent over 4.8 million hours playing the game in two days!
For those of you who missed it, the company has fortunately decided to keep it alive forever at www.google.com/pacman. Be sure to check it out and see what the hoopla was all about!