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Pac-Man still going strong at 30

May 22, 2010 at 12:04 PM

WASHINGTON, May 22 (UPI) -- Pac-Man, the deceptively simple video game that became one of the all-time bestsellers after its introduction by a Japanese company, has turned 30.

Namco launched the game in 1980, licensing it for 294,000 arcade machines, The Washington Post reports. Since then, experts say, players have manipulated the pastel-yellow Pac-Man sphere through 10 billion games.

The designer, Toru Iwatani, was new to the business when he designed Pac-Man. He was told in 1979 to come up with a game that women would like.

Pac-Man is a gentle game compared to Space Invaders and other games then on the market. The colors are pastel, and there is no gunfire and the game can be played and understood without a manual -- although it is hard to win.

Namco did not expect Pac-Man to be a huge hit, the Post said. But the yellow sphere is now one of the world's best-known icons.

The Guinness Book of World Records says 94 percent of U.S. residents recognize Pac-Man, 1 percent more than Super Mario.

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