Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Getting your five a day?

Though munching pills and shaking your booty to repetitive music might be quite a common Saturday night out for today's youngsters, who's to say that we might find ourselves staring at a few less bleary eyed alleged young adults if it wasn't for the 1979 release of a little title known as Pac-Man.

Gaming's most recognised icon might have starred in his own cartoon series, but it was the pill-munching, ghost-gobbling gameplay of the initial arcade title that helped carry the gaming world into a new frontier.

Starring the little yellow chap named in the title, things here are of a certain kind of simplistic but astonishingly addictive brand,that leaves you constantly craving more. Even when you've just died for the umpteenth time.

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Play Pac-Man in real life

Yvette Fielding supplying ghosts.

If you show up at the Plus International Design Festival in Birmingham this week, you will be able to take part in an enormous and life-sized game of Pac-Man.

Become Pac-Man world champ

Win bragging rights and prizes.

Microsoft, Namco Bandai and Quiznos have teamed together to bring us the first Pac-Man World Championship in history.

Pac-Man

Pac-Man

Pills, thrills and bellyaches.

Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. Welcome back. If it wasn't for Pac-Man and his relentless pursuers many of us might not have been lured into the gaping maw of videogames in the first place. When I first got pulled in by this gaming tractor beam, I was barely tall enough to see the arcade cabinet's screen, but lure of dot-munching proved instantly irresistible. It's easy to embellish these things after the fact, but Morpheus himself may as well have been standing there offering me the blue pill of normal life, or the red pill of a lifetime of staring at a screen, open mouthed. As it turned out, the four yellow power pills on offer inside the maze seemed way more interesting: it turned the ghosts blue, ma! Watch me eat them.

Unlike any other game, my entire family became ritually obsessed with Pac-Man, and latterly Ms. Pac-Man. Probably because it didn't involve shooting, punching or jumping, everyone loved it, and still loves it. The best Christmas present I ever bought my sister was one of those terrible plug and play TV joysticks with Pac-Man built into it. I still get regular high score updates.

However much people scoff (arf) about what Pac-Man means today, its seismic impact shouldn't be underestimated. For some people, it's still their game, and today's release on Xbox 360 Live Arcade will be the cause of much celebration for a lot of people. The chance to compete on worldwide leaderboards alone is enough for most of its fans to justify shelling out for it.

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