We all know Pac-man as a worldwide gaming icon, however this popularity was apparently a big surprise to his creators.
In an interview published on Bandai-Namco’s website, Pac-man’s creator Toru Iwatani shared his thoughts about the game’s popularity in Japan and overseas. Although they expected the game to be a hit in Japan, its popularity overseas came as a surprise.
According to Iwatani, they did not think Pac-man was particularly exciting, having designed it mainly for women and couples to play.
Iwatani: “Firstly, having the game be a decent hit in Japan was exactly as planned. When we did location testing, we’d see women playing with smiles on their faces, and we’d realize we’d hit our target audience. Originally, the game was made with Japanese women and couples in mind. On the other hand, I didn’t imagine the game would do so well in America. It wasn’t that thrilling or exciting, and had a soft, comical look to it. I thought it wouldn’t leave an impact in America, and having it do that well was completely unexpected.”
Iwatani also explained why he thought Pac-man ended up being so well-received overseas.
Iwatani: “Well one thing I can say is, it became a lot of people’s ‘First Video Game’. For a lot of people, when they think of the first game they played, in Japan it would be Space Invaders. Even among those who didn’t game, there was a recognition that ‘Video games = Space Invaders’. I’d say that beginning with the US, as well as other countries afterwards, Pac-Man played that role.”
Do you agree with Iwatani’s explanation? Was Pac-man your first video game? Let us know in the comments below.