Google doodles Pac-Man for 30th anniversaryMay 21, 2010: 11:57 AM ET
The first Google Doodle you can actually play celebrates the 30th anniversary of one of America's first video game icons.
Update: Google being Google has an Easter Egg in the app. Hit 'insert coin' button twice and get a 2nd player Miss Pac-Mac who someone else can control with the "ADSW" keys. (Thanks Deep Blue!)
Pac-Man was launched on May 22, 1980 in Japan. In October of that same year, it came to America and was an instant hit -- America's first blockbuster mainstream videogame.
Hard to believe that was 30 years ago.
The game was developed primarily by a young Namco employee Tōru Iwatani, over a year, beginning in April 1979, employing a nine-man team. The original title was pronounced pakku-man (パックマン?) and was inspired by the Japanese onomatopoeic phrase paku-paku taberu (パクパク食べる?), where paku-paku describes (the sound of) the mouth movement when widely opened and then closed in succession. Although it is often cited that the character's shape was inspired by a pizza missing a slice, he admitted in a 1986 interview that it was a half-truth and the character design also came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for mouth, kuchi (口) as well as the basic concept of eating. Iwatani's efforts to appeal to a wider audience—beyond the typical demographics of young boys and teenagers—eventually led him to add elements of a maze. The result was a game he named Puck Man.
Anyway, if you want to rekindle your Pac-Man love affair, head over to Google.com and have a play. Oh, and it isn't Flash based for you iPad/Pod/Phone users who want to get your game on.