What’s yellow, eats balls, and is occasionally terrorized by ghosts? No, it’s not the jaundiced crazy man down at the public park that chews stray tennis balls. It’s Pac-Man, the video game character who celebrated its 30th anniversary this past weekend. The game creator, Toru Iwatani, granted some interviews to commemorate the event and it turns out his Pac-baby had a pretty odd birth, involving ideas about women, fortune tellers, and how the little guy was almost one letter away from being named after a swear word.
In an interview with Wired, Iwatani describes how in creating the game, the development team had hoped to make video arcades inviting for couples and females:
“Video arcades were filled with games where you shoot aliens. It seemed very dark. It was for men, it wasn’t fashionable at all.”
Currently a professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University, at Namco Bandai’s Tokyo headquarters, the creator continued with his expert read on the ladies:
“When you think about things women like, you think about fashion, or fortune-telling, or food or dating boyfriends. So I decided to theme the game around ‘eating’–after eating dinner, women like to have dessert.”
Hitaro also says that the design for Pac-Man (originally named “Puck-Man” before being changed for fear of ‘F-word’ vandalization) came from removing one slice of pizza from a pizza pie.
Or in other words:
In honor of the game, Google users were treated to a playable version of the “Google” doodle themed after Pac-Man, still accessible here.