By Seth Weintraub
May 21, 2010

The first Google Doodle you can actually play celebrates the 30th anniversary of one of America’s first video game icons.


Update: Google being Google has an Easter Egg in the app.  Hit ‘insert coin’ button twice and get a 2nd player Miss Pac-Mac who someone else can control with the “ADSW” keys. (Thanks Deep Blue!)

Pac-Man was launched on May 22, 1980 in Japan. In October of that same  year, it came to America and was an instant hit — America’s first blockbuster mainstream videogame.

Hard to believe that was 30 years ago.

Pac-Man has the highest brand awareness (94%)of any video game character among American consumers, according to the Davie-Brown Index and the game is still popular today.

From Wikipedia:

The game was developed primarily by a young Namco employee Tōru Iwatani, over a year, beginning in April 1979, employing a nine-man team. The original title was pronounced pakku-man (パックマン?) and was inspired by the Japanese onomatopoeic phrase paku-paku taberu (パクパク食べる?),[24] where paku-paku describes (the sound of) the mouth movement when widely opened and then closed in succession.[25] Although it is often cited that the character’s shape was inspired by a pizza missing a slice,[6] he admitted in a 1986 interview that it was a half-truth and the character design also came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi (口) as well as the basic concept of eating.[26] Iwatani’s efforts to appeal to a wider audience—beyond the typical demographics of young boys and teenagers—eventually led him to add elements of a maze. The result was a game he named Puck Man.

Anyway, if you want to rekindle your Pac-Man love affair, head over to Google.com and have a play.  Oh, and it isn’t Flash based for you iPad/Pod/Phone users who want to get your  game on.

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