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Saturday, May 22, 2010

PAC-MAN Turns 30

PAC-MAN, the small yellow dot-gobbling, ghost fighting video game character turns 30 this year.  First released in 1980, the arcade game quickly conquered the world and became one of the most enduring video game of all time.  It was the first game I bought when I finally got a Nintendo Family Computer set.  I spent hours in front of our TV set trying to break the records of the other people in our house.

The object of the game is straightforward.  PAC-MAN must eat all the glowing dots without being eaten by the four ghosts.  There are strategically placed "power pellets" which, once eaten, gives PAC-MAN the power to eat the ghosts.  There's a lot of humor in the game too, especially after PAC-MAN eats the ghosts and all that's left of them are their eyes.  The eyes go back to their camp and re-emerges as their old ghostly self.  The music and sound effects of the game are quite catchy too.  I remember that there was even a dance music entitled, "PacMan Fever".

In the early 80s, the name PAC-MAN became associated locally with a businessman close to the government at that time.  This is because of the allegation that like the video game character which eats everything in his path, said businessmen allegedly took over most of the big businesses during those years using his influence.  Lately, a Filipino boxer used the same name because the first letters of his name correspond to PAC-MAN.

By the way, if you're using Google as your home page, you'd probably have noticed that its header is a PAC-MAN gameboard.  It is actually playable using the keyboard arrows.

My fascination with this game was later eclipsed by another equally addictive game called TETRIS.  That's another story to blog about soon.

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