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Pac-Man[a] is a maze arcade game developed and released by Namco in 1980. The original Japanese title of Puck Man was changed to Pac-Man for international releases as a preventative measure against defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an F. Outside Japan, the game was published by Midway Games as part of its licensing agreement with Namco America. The player controls Pac-Man, who must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts. Eating large flashing dots called “energizers” causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for bonus points.
The development of the game began in early 1979, directed by Toru Iwatani with a nine-man team. Iwatani wanted to create a game that could appeal to women as well as men, because most video games of the time had themes of war or sports. Although the inspiration for the Pac-Man character was, reportedly, the image of a pizza with a slice removed, Iwatani has said he also rounded out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi (Japanese: 口). The in-game characters were made to be cute and colorful to appeal to younger players. The original Japanese title of Puckman was derived from the titular character’s hockey-puck shape.
Pac-Man was a widespread critical and commercial success, and it has an enduring commercial and cultural legacy. The game is considered important and influential, and it is commonly listed as one of the greatest video games of all time. The success of the game led to several sequels, merchandise, and two television series, as well as a hit single by Buckner and Garcia. The Pac-Man video game franchise remains one of the highest-grossing and best-selling game series of all time, generating more than $14 billion in revenue (as of 2016) and $43 million in sales combined. The character of Pac-Man is the mascot and flagship icon of Bandai Namco Entertainment and has the highest brand awareness of any video game character in North America.