On Saturday, May 22, 2010, Pac-Man turned 30 to much fanfare. Google even created its first ever interactive doodle featuring a Pac-Man game that could be played right there from the Google homepage. It was so popular that Google has created a permanent Pac-Man page, allowing bored employees everywhere to access this favorite of arcade games from any computer.
Namco threw Pac-Man a large birthday party in Los Angeles on Saturday, during which it released a new version of the game called Pac-Man Championship Edition, which is available exclusively for the iPhone and iPad. Steve Jobs must be a Pac-Man fan.
He’s not alone. When Pac-Man was first released in Japan, it caused a Yen shortage. The game didn’t hit the American market until October 1980, and it didn’t cause a coin shortage here. However, Pac-Man is listed as the most played arcade game of all time, with an estimated times played totaling over one billion.
I recognize that my generation grew up on Pac-Man, and we do love it when the toys of our childhood are resurrected. Demand for Pac-Man related clothing has never gone out of style. Pac-Man has even inspired game-related art.
I think what I am most enjoying about the fanfare over Pac-Man‘s birthday is that my contemporaries still have a sense of fun, and a sense of humor. We are in the time of our life when the daily goings on are often dull and frustrating. But, taking a moment (or several) to celebrate Pac-Man is celebrating our children, and even our children’s childhoods. It’s remembering that we still have an identity as a generation, and we’ve always been a generation that enjoys having fun — that’s why they used to call us slackers.
Ms. Pac-Man might not enjoy her 30th birthday when it comes around, but I think Pac-Man‘s party proves that, like most of us, Pac-Man might be 30, but he’ll never get old.
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