You would be hard-pressed to find someone who has never heard of Pac-Man. Released in 1980, the arcade game remains one of the most influential and popular video games of all time. Pac-Man himself was the first video game mascot, and has gone on to appear in sequels, TV shows, and even feature length movies. A few years ago, the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani, shared some of his concept art from the classic game.
Recently, this concept art was brought back up again on Reddit. The documents have the Japanese symbol of 'confidential,' and feature designs for Pac-Man and the famous maze itself.
The concept art provides a fascinating look into the development of the classic title. The maze concept is similar to the final product. You'll notice key differences when looking at it side by side (it would surely be harder to avoid the Ghosts in the concept art version), but it's easy to see that Iwatani had a vision for crafting a challenging maze. Pac-Man in its final, completed form stands the test of time as being the definition of an arcade title: challenging, addicting, and fun. This next piece of concept art (posted at Metro) features Pac-Man's chomping movement, the Ghosts, and Pac-Man's death sequence.
Iwatani would return to the Pac-Man franchise 27 years for Pac-Man Championship Edition. He also designed Pole Position, which was called the most influential racing game of all time by IGN in 2015. However, Pac-Man remains Iwatani's biggest success. The story of how the iconic game came to be is intriguing. In a wide-spanning interview with Wired back in 2010, Iwatani went over Pac-Man's production. For example, Pac-Man was aimed at female gamers, and the original Japanese name was "Puck-Man." Also, the idea of the game - chomping a Power Pellet and defeating the Ghosts - had its inspiration from Popeye the Sailor. Truly, Pac-Man's development is interesting, showing that the game was made with care.
Iwatani could not have predicted just how massive Pac-Man would become in the coming years. The character has been the star of numerous games. Besides being the first video game mascot, he was also the star of one of the first side-scrolling platform games. (This game, Pac-Land, even predates Super Mario Bros.) Pac-Man made the jump to 3D platforming with the fun Pac-Man World, in 1999. Meanwhile, Pac-Man has appeared in other media. In fact, he was one of the antagonists in the 2015 film, Pixels.
What's next for the iconic character? Although there are no confirmed Pac-Man games releasing in the near future, fans can look forward to playing as him when Super Smash Bros. Ultimate launches later this year. Pac-Man remains one of pop culture's most recognizable characters, and it's thanks to Iwatani's arcade title.