Namco founder Masaya Nakamura passed away this weekend at the age of 91.
Mr. Nakamura created Namco in the 70s, which had its first hit with Galaxian in 1979. Pac-Man was conceived the following year and went on to become one of the most famous video games of all time, spanning several spin-offs, a cartoon series, and tons of merchandise. It even inspired the song "Pac-Man Fever," which peaked at #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.
It's estimated that Pac-Man has been played over 10 billion times during the twentieth century alone.
Pac-Man is well-known for its ghosts, but did you know that Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde are programmed with their own personalities? They share the same conditional modes of Chase, Scatter and Frightened, triggered by how many food dots Pac-Man consumes and when he eats an energizer. Beyond that, each ghost operates in unique ways distinguishable from one another. Understanding the AI behind the maneuvers is how people become Pac-man champions.
For a deep dive into gameplay mechanics, head over to Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior. In honor of Mr. Nakamura, happy gobbling!