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January 30, 2017 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Masaya Nakamura, who helped kickstart the video game revolution with Pacman, passed today.

Originally released as Puck-Man and designed by Toru IWATANI, Masaya NAKAMURA's Namco (for Nakamura Amusement Machine Manufacturing Company) was an arcade powerhouse before the turn of the century.

Its enduring popularity and fandom (including Det. Boyle) has led to it being rewritten for all sorts of platforms, including Excel, as well as the famed quote by Marcus Brigstocke,
If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music.
posted by qcubed (40 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: Poster's Request -- frimble



 
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posted by thelonius at 12:30 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]



posted by bz at 12:32 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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posted by vibrotronica at 12:35 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


•..........
posted by Gelatin at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


🍒
posted by otherchaz at 12:40 PM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


Wakka wakka wakka
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:41 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Three of the greatest Christmas presents I ever received:
Atari 2600 Pac-Man
Pac-Man mini arcade game
Pac-Man Fever
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:43 PM on January 30, 2017


👀
posted by entropicamericana at 12:44 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


I have never been obsessed with anything the way I was obsessed with Pac-Man when I was twelve years old. Tonight I will pour some liquid into my original 1980s Pac-Man mug and browse through my collection of original Pac-Man stickers and maybe play a round or two of Pac-Man on MAME.

My local arcade (Fun & Games in Framingham, MA, though not the watered-down Chuck-E-Cheese it is today) had an entire room filled with nothing but Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and whatever other variations of Pac-Man were released.

I still never got around to learning any patterns.

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posted by bondcliff at 12:47 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


And "Pac-Man", a lesser-known, early Weird Al song.
posted by bondcliff at 12:52 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]



posted by Katjusa Roquette at 12:53 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


Game designer Toru "I’m not a programmer" Iwatani on designing Pac Man, from Susan Lammers' "Programmers at Work".

(here's the Libble Rabble game mentioned in the interview)
posted by effbot at 1:02 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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posted by mushhushshu at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2017


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posted by JamesD at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2017


duuuuyoyuuooooooouo bop bop

What's incredible is that reducing Namco to Pacman - one of the most games in history leaves a lot out of their story. Dig Dug, Galaga, Pole Position, Xevious and more recently Ace Combat, Katamari, Soulcalibur, Libero Grande, Smash Court Tennis, Time Crisis, Klonoa, Tekken... but my favourite Namco title is Ridge Racer Type 4 (and to some extent, RR2 for the PSP). One of the prettiest games in the system, and I stick by the idea it is the best racing game of the 32-bit era. But the variety on their output is astounding - from sports and racing games to cutesy mascot platformers to fighting games Namco did it all - and well.
Not a bad legacy for someone who started with two horse rides on a store.
posted by lmfsilva at 1:12 PM on January 30, 2017 [5 favorites]


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posted by Faintdreams at 1:22 PM on January 30, 2017


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posted by DirtyOldTown at 1:24 PM on January 30, 2017


...leaves a lot out of their story. Dig Dug....

There's an interesting anecdote about Dig Dug as told by the guys from Allied Leisure/Centauri. Allied was a B-player during the Golden Age, but they turned out some interesting stuff from time to time.

Anyway, there was a title that Allied was showing called The Pit that was kind of the grandfather of digging games (ala Dig Dug, Robby Roto, Mr Do!, etc). A bunch of Japanese engineers were looking at the game at a trade show...
[Andy Walker]…when we were at the preview show, we all knew it was a work in progress. We described it as such to some Japanese people who were extremely interested. I think they were from Namco or Atari. We described how you would find the Dragon and blow it up. Not ‘you kill it’ but specifically ‘you blow it up’. The Japanese gave us an old-fashioned look then made expanding gestures, then “boom”. The point being that when we said “blow it up” they thought “inflate.”

Namco's Dig Dug came out shortly afterward, featuring...you guessed it...a character that blew up dragons by inflating them.

posted by JoeZydeco at 1:27 PM on January 30, 2017 [8 favorites]


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posted by Splunge at 1:32 PM on January 30, 2017


>.<
posted by dogstoevski at 1:55 PM on January 30, 2017


This is sad. Pac-Man is one of my all time favourite games and also the first video-game I ever played. They used to have a table-top video-game booth at the local Pizza Hut where I grew up and it only cost $0.50 for a game. It's best to not think the amount of money I must have spent on that game. Thankfully, I can now play on my smart phone. It's still one of my go to waiting for someone to show up games.

For anyone interested, the video-game podcast Retronauts recently recorded an episode devoted to the history of Pac-Man. It's very informative. (1:37:08 | MP3 Download | SoundCloud)


posted by Fizz at 2:58 PM on January 30, 2017


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:03 PM on January 30, 2017


It was one of these table-top arcade machines. So many fond memories.
posted by Fizz at 3:06 PM on January 30, 2017


Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat eis. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 3:09 PM on January 30, 2017


There was a tabletop like that of Ms. Pac-Man in a Chinese restaurant near me (they had sort of a bar annex.) It didn't reappear in their new, more compact quarters when they moved a few years ago, so hopefully it found a new home somewhere rather than being dumped.
posted by tavella at 3:34 PM on January 30, 2017


Fizz, that's a multigame retro clone. You were probably playing something more like this.
posted by JoeZydeco at 4:09 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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posted by Silverstone at 4:20 PM on January 30, 2017


What's incredible is that reducing Namco to Pacman - one of the most games in history leaves a lot out of their story. Dig Dug, Galaga, Pole Position, Xevious and more recently Ace Combat, Katamari, Soulcalibur

...which was a launch title on the short-lived, but with a brilliant catalog of offbeat games, Sega Dreamcast. And Soul Calibur had an intro that, literally, made me walk into a game shop and say "Take my money":

"NAMCO..."
posted by Wordshore at 4:44 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


I heard he became a ghost and was immediately eaten.
posted by Quasimike at 4:52 PM on January 30, 2017 [2 favorites]


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That's for years and years of pure dot eating pleasure. Thank you, Mr. Nakamura.
posted by Joey Michaels at 4:53 PM on January 30, 2017 [1 favorite]


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Everything you need to know about 6 year old me is summed up by the oft-repeated tale of how I was so mad that my dad would beat me at Pac-Man that I would wake up and get dressed for school and play Atari for an hour before my parents even woke up.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:11 PM on January 30, 2017 [4 favorites]


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posted by Rabarberofficer at 8:33 PM on January 30, 2017


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My grandfather was a horse racing breeder/trainer. He made his first big 'score' selling a stakes winner (1982) to "The guy that created Pac-Man", but as I got older, I *think* dug up that it was the guy that got it imported into the US. Either way, this game made my grandfather comfortably able to just do the Horse thing for the rest of his live. So I hope Mr. Nakamura has all the power pellets he needs, wherever he may be.
posted by DigDoug at 3:48 AM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


I wonder if Toru Iwatami ever succeeded in making video game players cry.
posted by acb at 6:56 AM on January 31, 2017


I realized I left an important part of my story out: I totally was able to challenge and eventually consistently beat my dad in Pac-Man in just a few months of practice, so if you have a hyper-focused child who is wearing blisters into this fingers, go ahead and let them do that and they'll turn out okay in the long run (for various values of "okay" that include me).
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:46 AM on January 31, 2017 [1 favorite]


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posted by Canageek at 10:27 AM on January 31, 2017


🍒
posted by dialMforMara at 10:39 AM on January 31, 2017 [2 favorites]


For once, I can't just leave a dot, for obvious reasons.

Instead I'll link to a PDF of Jamey Pittman’s “Pac-Man Dossier”, a detailed analysis of just how elegant the game design was (I would link to the original, but it's gone 404, and there's no Internet Archive capture of it.)
posted by radwolf76 at 12:18 PM on January 31, 2017


This thread has kind of become about Pac-Man, but Namco was much more than just that. My favorite thing about them was that they actually owned Atari Games for a long while, and largely let them do their own thing.

About Pac-Man, I like to play without patterns (outside the first half-minute of the level, where patterns are almost unavoidable). There's a lot of nuance to the monster's chase algorithms (like Scatter and Chase periods and one-way maze routes), but overall, if you're being pursued, the rules of thumb are:
Red chases you directly.
Pink tries to get a short way in front of you, in the direction you're facing.
Blue sort of tries to get to the opposite side of you, and the same distance away from you, as Red.
Orange chases you until it gets close, then tries to retreat to the lower-left corner. But as it retreats, it's perfectly happy to "run away" through you.
posted by JHarris at 3:00 PM on January 31, 2017




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