Ms. Pac-Man Turns 35

February 3rd, 2017 by Benj Edwards

Ms. Pac-Man Arcade Flier Flyer

35 years ago today, Ms. Pac-Man made its worldwide public debut during a press conference held by Namco at Castle Park Entertainment Center in Sherman Oaks, a neighborhood of Los Angeles. Ms. Pac-Man launched on February 3, 1982.

In 2011, I interviewed three of Ms. Pac-Man's creators in depth for a planned feature I was going to write about the game's 30th anniversary. That project fell through, and although many journalists have written about Ms. Pac-Man since then (and its creators began giving public talks years ago), I found that my old interviews still contained fascinating nuggets of information on the game that had not yet come to light.

So I turned all of my source material on Ms. Pac-Man into an oral history, which FastCompany.com just published. It's likely that just about everything you'd ever want to know about Ms. Pac-Man's creation is covered there.

On VC&G, I would like to talk specifically about how I discovered the release date for Ms. Pac-Man, since I'd like people to correct the information that's out there. (Prior to the publication of my article, sites stated the launch date of Ms. Pac-Man anywhere between late 1981 and January 1982. Wikipedia still says "January 13, 1982″ as the launch date — I've asked Ms. Pac-Man's creators, and none of us can figure out where it came from.)

While I found evidence in a single newspaper arcade advertisement that Ms. Pac-Man was anticipated as early as January 31, 1982 (possibly from a test location), Bally Midway formally announced Ms. Pac-Man to the world during a press conference on Wednesday, February 3rd, 1982. A key newspaper report confirms this:

Newspaper Article Describing Ms Pac-Man Launch Date

That's an article from the Los Angeles Times dated Thursday, February 4th, 1982. It mentions the press conference happening on Wednesday of that week — hence, Feb 3, 1982.

Here's another article Ms. Pac-Man announcement article newspapers reprinted verbatim widely across the US. It is based on the article above and sent out as a wire report for syndication:

Newspaper Article Describing Ms Pac-Man Launch Date

Anyway — what a game, what a story. I hope you enjoy reading about how a band of plucky New England upstarts created the most popular arcade game in U.S. history.

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Real Place Names that Sound Like Namco Arcade Games

October 21st, 2015 by Benj Edwards

This is amusing. It turns out that a number of real, actual geographical place names in the world happen to sound a lot like 1980s Namco arcade video game titles. (If you try to pronounce them in English, anyway.)

I ran across this phenomenon a few years ago when I accidentally learned about Malaga, Spain (i.e. Galaga). After that, I decided to look for other cities and places that sound like (or at least are spelled like) various Namco games. Here is what I've found so far:

[ Continue reading Real Place Names that Sound Like Namco Arcade Games » ]

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Pac-Attack

September 21st, 2015 by Benj Edwards

Namco Pac-Attack Puzzle Game Super NES advertisement - 1993High on power pellets, Pac-Man seeks his next victim.

[ From Electronic Gaming Monthly, November 1993, p.207]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Excluding Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, what is your favorite Pac-Man-themed video game?

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[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Father Pac-Time Gobbles up the New Year

December 31st, 2007 by Benj Edwards

Pac-Man Watch Ad - 1983With floating disc technology, "Pac-Man watches gobble all day long for you."

Happy 2008!

[ Scanned from Electronic Games, December 1983 ]

If you use this image on your site, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks.

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Retro Scan of the Week: The Ultimate Pac-Man Room

March 12th, 2007 by Benj Edwards

The Ultimate Pac-Man Room

So tell me, Pac-Friends. How many of these Pac-Man items do you have? (Check the scans below to get a full description of all the items.)

Pac-Man this, Pac-Man that. It seems like they made a Pac-Man version of everything in the early 1980s. My brother's friend had a metal Pac-Man trashcan that I was always jealous of (and to think that he wouldn't give it to me!). Unfortunately, that item is not in the picture. My family bought a second-hand copy of the marblelicious Pac-Man board game you see on the floor there. It was pretty dumb, if I recall — nothing could compare to playing the actual video game on our Atari 800 at the time. And another of my brother's friends had the Pac-Man Fever album, but they never let me listen to it. I still hold it against them to this day.

Anyway, check out the other full scans below and behold the power of merchandising! Warning — the full images are pretty big. Enjoy!

The Ultimate Pac-Man Room 1 The Ultimate Pac-Man Room 2

[ Scanned by VC&G from Popular Computing Magazine, December 1982 ]

If you use these images on your site or blog, please support "Retro Scan of the Week" by giving us obvious credit for the original scan and entry. Thanks! We really appreciate it.

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