Pacman- The First-Ever Playable Google Doodle

Pacman – On 22nd May 2010, Google flabbergasted the world with its first-ever playable doodle “online game PacMan” to mark the celebration of Pacman’s 30th Anniversary. This very act is sufficient in itself to demonstrate the popularity and success the game holds for decades. The early 1980s marks the golden age for the arcade gaming industry with games on violent war themes dominating, additionally enduring a huge male fan following. Targeting the females and taking the gaming industry away from mere shooting and sports games came the Japanese Namco industry on 22nd May 1980 with Pacman, creating a whole new of its sort. Perhaps it became the most popular and influential of its time and still not out of the race. 1982s “Pacman Fever” a top hit by Buckner and Garcia adds to another witness of the game’s admiration. The game was so popular until the ’90s that Namco reported making $2.5 billion in that quarter alone.


The history behind Pacman evolution

Namco introduced Pacman to the world in 1980 with the intention of the lead designer Iwatani Tohru along with his team of 9 members, to launch a game that doesn’t focus on violence. Initially named Puck man the game was later named Pacman for international release fearing the defacement of arcade machine by changing p to f.

The story behind the evolution of our favorite yellow Pacman character is quite interesting. If the lead designer’s claims were to be believed the inspiration of the character came from the shape of pizza missing a slice while he was at lunch. However, in its 1986 interview, he said that this is only half the truth and is based on the fact that Pacman’s character is also inspired by a Japanese character “Kuchi”. The idea of the ghost as villains came from the cartoon Casper the friendly ghost. And power pallets were inspired by popeye’s spinach.

Let us meet Pacman characters

None can deny the fact that Pacman is the most recognizable and loved character of all time. Nevertheless, 4 ghosts are the most liked villains. The characters of the game are cute and colorful enough to attract female and young players. The yellow character, the Pacman is the main antagonist. Pacman is the only game where Ghosts, the negative characters too, are made cute and colorful. This strategy hit the target and attracted young audiences.  Names of 4 ghosts in Japanese originally were “Oikake”, “Machibuse”, “Kimagure” and “Otoboke”. In the United States, their names were changed to “Shadow”, “Speedy”, “Bashful” and “Pokey”, popularly known as “Blinky”, “Pinky”, “Inky” and “Clyde” respectively. Even the names of villain characters take us back to childhood days.

Pacman stickers on the refrigerator, walls and Almira were a sort of trend in the 1990s. Children’s stationaries, toys, and even many cartoon books are inspired by its character. In the past 40 years, it has become a globally accepted character and you can find it on all sorts of things be it cards, t-shirt, boxes or the cereal packets

Guide to play

The game involves guiding the yellow cute character around the maze-like screen eating all the dots and fruits, dodging the 4 hunting ghost who can kill by a mere touch, to accumulate as many points as possible and reach to next level. To make the game even more interesting 4 power pallets are kept at each corner of the maze, eating any of those turn the ghosts blue enabling the yellow character to gobble up the ghosts making them return to the cage and start all over again. Eating various fruit items leads to additional bonus points. The game ends when Pacman is left with no life. The game has 255 different levels. Even if you are not a game addict, the simplicity of the game enables you to catch up within a few minutes of playing. That probably be the reason for its popularity among all ages of audiences. It is easy to play yet a hard to master feature is the reason for the game’s broad appeal. Pacman ruling the gaming industry for the past 4 decades and only one person named billy Mitchell could achieve the perfect score.

What is so special about Pacman’s 30th Anniversary?


May 22, 2010, marked the 30th anniversary of the iconic game that makes all of us feel nostalgic, and google immortalized the occasion by its out-of-the-box gesture in the form of the first-ever playable Google doodle on its home page. The doodle was not an ordinary one but the fully functional version of the original game with 255 levels including the music, graphics, characters, and everything just very close to the original version. This very act hit the internet by storm and acquired mixed reactions. But for sure,  the game lovers not only appreciated it but could not navigate the home page without playing. People visited the world’s top search engine home page to play rather than to search. It gobbled for around 4.8 million working hours globally. It didn’t stop here. Usually, any doodle stays for as long as 24 hours on the homepage but this very playable doodle stayed for a double period ie 48 hours.

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After all,  this “online game Pacman” wasn’t the result of one or two days of hard work but required a lot of man-hours to make it successful. It took a couple of months to put the things together and come up with the masterpiece. A dedicated team of google under the supervision of Marcin Wichery, worked closely with the Pacman publisher, Namco Bandai to make the version indistinguishable. They designed the game from scratch using Java and HTML. The team aimed to make the doodle an authentic one, paying utmost attention to the tiniest detail possible. To give an authentic feel to the players even the bug of the original game was incorporated in the doodle. Although only a handful of those who managed to reach to 255th level would have experienced the bug popularly known as “Kill Screen” where the machine would crash.

The team was so dedicated that tricks those only a true Pacman addict would know were embedded in the online game Pacman. Be it the hint the ghost would offer by eye blink before turning to a particular direction or the fixed pattern the ghost moved in to make the player obsessed about finding the precise route for Pacman. Nevertheless, the breaks in form of animated cartoons after completion of certain levels were not forbidden.

The replacement of the “ I am feeling lucky” tab with “insert coin” evocated the slot where billions of children have poured their piggy banks.

Pacman had a tremendous journey from arcades to our systems and smartphones. Many developers streamlined their work to develop online games to give users the same fun and feel like the arcade. Pacman being a significant player in this transformation. The first game to be programmed in computer language was none other than Pacman. In the past 40 years, several versions of Pacman have come into existence. Each is unique in its own aspect yet gives the touch of the classic arcade. Several Pacman versions are available on the google play store for android users and on the apple store for ios. To play the online game Pacman Google is the perfect place. The cherry on the top is you can play them free and that too at comfort of your home. What else any game lover could ask for!!!

Pacman 30 anniversary game is available in two versions. One is the original version while the other is the variation. Each version offers a distinct playing experience.  The levels in newer versions are more challenging than before. If you are a true Pacman lover you would fall in love with the instance you start playing.

Sharing and reading others’ gaming experiences is equally exciting. Nintendo guide was initially a part of the promotion campaign for the new release of Pacman. This inspired one of the Nintendo employees, who went on playing the game and created a guide to share the experience, fun, and joy of playing with others to help them gain the level of experience they awaited for.

Pacman 40th anniversary

Now into its 41st year, the iconic game celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2020. To mark the celebration Bandai namco released a series of video games.  The celebration took place throughout 2020 and ended in early 2021.

When the world witnessed the global pandemic, google came up with its “stay and play at home ” doodle series. Pacman came as a savior from boredom during those tough times. Pacman has a phenomenal history and still has the potential to capture the interest of its players like before. You can relive your childhood with pacman and cherish the wonderful memories. So what you are waiting for play the classic iconic game and celebrate your childhood!!!

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