The Pac-Man universe (パックマン, Pacman), officially capitalized PAC-MAN, is a third-party franchise introduced in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. It is the property of Bandai Namco, who developed Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, along with Sora Ltd. The Pac-Man series is represented by its main protagonist, Pac-Man.
After Masaya Nakamura's company, Nakamura Amusement-machine Manufacturing Company (or NAMCO), founded Namco's American subsidiary in order to license its video arcade machines to companies such as Atari and Midway Games for distribution in the U.S., Namco released its first internally designed video arcade game in 1978, Gee Bee. Following this, Namco developed and released the highly popular fixed shooter game Galaxian in 1979 to compete with Taito Corporation's successful earlier game, Space Invaders. Galaxian revolutionized the arcade industry as the first game to use RGB-color graphics, and it and its 1981 sequel Galaga became fixtures in what was subsequently remembered as the "Golden Age of arcade video games" - the peak era of arcade video game popularity and technological innovation. However, Namco's project in between, 1980's Pac-Man, would arguably become even more definitive of both the era and Namco's legacy. A young Namco employee named Toru Iwatani designed the game with the intention to appeal to a wider audience beyond young boys and teenagers - demographics that were typical of the time because of the prevalence of space shooter-themed arcade machines. He therefore fashioned a game out of maze-like elements and a colorful aesthetic with cute character designs, including a player-character he originally named "Puck-man" after the Japanese phrase "paku paku", an onomatopoeia used to represent the sound of eating. The character and the game itself were renamed Pac-Man for the North American release.
Despite its initially lukewarm reception in Japan, it is difficult to overstate the impact of the North American release of the game Pac-Man. It quickly became far more popular than anything seen in the game industry up to that point, grossing over $1 billion in quarters within a decade, and towards the end of the 20th century, the game's total gross in quarters had been estimated at more than 10 billion quarters ($2.5 billion), making it the highest-grossing video game of all time. It established the maze chase game genre, and is also credited for laying the foundations for the stealth genre due to its emphasis on avoiding enemies rather than fighting them. It introduced what is argued to be the first original gaming mascot, Pac-Man, and in doing so demonstrated the potential of characters in video games. It was the first video game to feature power-ups, and is often credited as the first game to feature cutscenes, albeit not to the degree that Nintendo's own revolutionary arcade game, Donkey Kong, had the following year. Finally, it opened gaming to female audiences, and it was gaming's first licensing success. Pac-Man was determined to have the highest brand awareness of any video game character among American consumers.
Pac-Man became one of few games to have been consistently published for over three decades, with many remakes and sequels released on numerous platforms. This is not to mention the influx of unauthorized Pac-Man clones that took place soon after the original release, nor of the ill-fated port of the game for the Atari 2600 (which ironically was a contributing factor to the infamous 1983 video game crash in North America due to the debilitating technical limitations of the console). An American-produced derivative titled Ms. Pac-Man garnered a great deal of success of its own due to improvements over the original title, and despite its development happening without Namco's consent, Namco received the rights to the property and subsequently included the feminine take on Pac-Man in various Pac-Man compilations and ports. As the series progressed with continued releases that explored different genres, the iconic yellow wedge shape that ordinarily defined the title character onscreen was phased out for a design closer to his appearance on the promotional artwork printed on the arcade machines themselves - an abstract, spherical humanoid with rudimentary limbs and a massive face with a stick-like nose that varied in length between appearances. This was done in Pac-Land in part to tie in with a Hanna-Barbera animated series about Pac-Man that ran for two seasons in 1982 and 1983.
The steady stream of Pac-Man games was more-or-less halted for roughly six years after Pac-Mania for the arcades in 1987, before resuming on consoles with Pac-Attack in 1993. Through releases on a variety of competing platforms, including the PC, the formerly maze-based series explored genres as varied as puzzle, adventure, platformer, party, racing, and even pinball. It could be argued that Pac-Man as an IP was easily more relevant as a forerunner to modern video games than as a starring video game franchise, due to the tendency of modern Pac-Man games to cater to young child demographics and garner at-times-lukewarm reception, but Namco nonetheless honors the character as its company mascot, and introduced an updated design in the computer-animated series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which began airing in 2013. In an odd twist of fate, Pac-Man was involved both in another company's crossover fighting game - Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, wherein he was a playable character exclusively in PlayStation versions - and in a Mario game - as a playable racer in 2005's Mario Kart Arcade GP, a racing arcade game developed jointly by Namco and Nintendo, along with its sequels - before he was included for the first time as a playable fighter in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games in 2014, also a joint Nintendo-Namco effort. Inversely, Mario also made a cameo appearance in a Pac-Man game, acting as the announcer in the 2003 GameCube title Pac-Man Vs.
The original Pac-Man is set in a static, colored maze, where the original wedge-shaped Pac-Man must traverse every corridor and lane at least once in order to eat every pellet distributed across the screen. Pac-Man is at constant risk from four differently-colored "ghosts" that roam the maze with the intention to collide into him, but whenever Pac-Man eats through any four of the larger Power Pellets in a maze, the ghosts temporarily turn vulnerable, and will be briefly taken out of the game when Pac-Man collides with a ghost in this state. There is essentially no end to the number of mazes Pac-Man can clear, and the point score - the ultimate objective of the game like with many arcade games - can be further increased by eating fruits that bounce through the stage occasionally. While elements of this classic formula have been referenced in later Pac-Man games based on different genres, games have since depicted Pac-Man in a colorful world not unlike Mario and Sonic.
List of games in the Pac-Man franchise
- Pac-Man (1980, Arcade)
- Pac-Man Plus (1982, Arcade)
- Super Pac-Man (1982, Arcade)
- Pac-Land (1984, Arcade)
- Pac-Mania (1987, Arcade)
- Pac-Attack (1993, SNES, Sega Genesis)
- Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures (1994, SNES, Sega Genesis)
- Pac-In-Time (1994, SNES)
- Pac-Man World (1999, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance)
- Pac-Man: Adventures in Time (2000, Windows PC)
- Pac-Man World 2 (2002, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo GameCube)
- Pac-Man Fever (2002, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2)
- Pac-Man World 3 (2005, Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo DS)
- Pac-Man World Rally (2006, PlayStation, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo GameGube, Windows PC)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition (2007, Xbox 360, iOS)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition DX (2010, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3)
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures (2013, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Xbox 360, Windows PC, Nintendo 3DS)
- Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (2014, Nintendo Wii U, Nintendo 3DS, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
- Pac-Man 256 (2015, iOS, Android)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 (2016, PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One)
- Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus (2018, Nintendo Switch)
- Ms. Pac-Man (1981, Arcade)
- Baby Pac-Man (1982, Arcade)
- Pac & Pal (1983, Arcade)
- Jr. Pac-Man (1983, Arcade)
- Pac-Pix (2005, Nintendo DS)
- Pac-Man Pinball Advance (2005, Game Boy Advance)
- Pac 'n Roll (2005, Nintendo DS)
- Pac-Man Party (2010, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo 3DS)
The Pac-Man franchise is first introduced in this game. Uniquely among other Third Party franchises, it brings along elements from other properties of the same company. Elements from Namco's early Arcade games; Mappy, Dig Dug, Galaga and Galaxian are present along with small cameos from others.
- Pac-Man: Pac-Man appears as a third party newcomer in the form from Pac-Man World. His moveset consists of eating power pellets and using 8-bit items and enemies from his own game along with those of various Namco arcade games.
- Ghosts: Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde all appear as an Assist Trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U. When summoned, the Ghosts will wander around the stage trying to make contact with an opponent fighter. They exhibit similar behavior as they did in the original arcade game: Blinky takes the shortest route to nearby enemies, Pinky tries to move in front of them, Inky moves in a random direction away from enemies, and Clyde moves randomly.
- Ghosts: Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde all appear as stage hazards on the Pac-Maze stage. By collecting 100 Pac-Dots, a player can spawn a Power Pellet and thereby defeat the Ghosts.
- Pooka: The famous enemy from Dig-Dug, as well as several Pac-Man games, appears in the 3DS-exclusive mode, Smash Run.
- Blinky: The red ghost from Pac-Man who is known as the one who will frequently take the shortest route to Pac-Man. He appears as Pac-Man's forward smash and as one of the ghosts in his down taunt.
- Inky: The blue ghost from Pac-Man who often moves away from Pac-Man when he's nearby. He appears as Pac-Man's up smash.
- Pinky: The pink ghost from Pac-Man who will strategically try to move in front of Pac-Man and ambush him. She appears as one of the ghosts in Pac-Man's down smash and as one of the ghosts in his down taunt.
- Clyde: The orange ghost from Pac-Man who will not try and chase down Pac-Man, but instead just moves around randomly. He appears as one of the ghosts in Pac-Man's down smash
- Pac-Maze: A stage based on the original Pac-Man exclusive to the 3DS version. It is shown to have several platforms and the four ghosts, Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde, appear in their 8-bit forms. Power Pellets appear upon collecting 100 Pac-Dots and make fighters temporarily invincible to the ghosts upon being collected.
Wii U Version
- Pac-Land: A stage based on Pac-Land exclusive to the Wii U version. It appears as a side scrolling stage, similar to Mushroomy Kingdom and 3D Land.
- PAC-MAN: Remixes of various music from the original Pac-Man.
- PAC-MAN (Club Mix): Various remixes of the "level start" jingle from the original Pac-Man.
- PAC-MAN'S / BLOCK TOWN: The track from Pac-Man's reveal trailer. It plays in Pac-Land but is available on the 3DS version for sound test and Smash Run. It is a rock remix of Pac-Man's Park and Block Town, the second and first worlds respectively from Pac-Mania.
- Victory! PAC-MAN Series: Based off the jingle that plays when starting a level in the original Pac-Man.
- PAC-MAN (Alt.)
- Power Pellet
- Bonus Fruit
- Fire Hydrant
- Ghosts (PAC-MAN)
Wii U Version
- Super PAC-MAN
- Mother Fairy
- PAC-MAN's House
- Pac-Man (NES)
Game Elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series
The original arcade game in which Pac-Man and the Ghosts made their debut. It also contributes the 8-bit fruit used in Pac-Man's neutral special. In many of his moves, Pac-Man turns into the iconic ball form and eats Pac-Dots, both of which originated from Pac-Man. There is also a stage exclusive to the 3DS version that is based on the first maze in Pac-Man. Two music tracks appear based off of various sound effects ripped from the Arcade version. The NES version appears as a Masterpiece in the Wii U version.
Pac-Man's Final Smash is based off of this game.
A side-scrolling stage appears based on the arcade version of the game. Pac-Man's design in the Super Smash Bros. series is based off of the Japanese arcade cabinet. Additionally, one of Pac-Man's moves is based off this game in which he spawns a fire hydrant similar to the ones from the game, as well as a victory pose directly based off of it.
A medley of the tracks from the second and first levels of the game, respectively, appear as a track on both versions.
Pac-Man World Trilogy
Pac-Man's design is mostly based off of the Pac-Man World Trilogy, and is his up aerial is based on a usable mechanic in Pac-Man World 2. Pac-Man's side special could be done in all three of the Pac-Man World games, but with designs from the 8-bit games. Pac-Man's ability to wall jump was first demonstrated in the third and final entry of the series.
In the PictoChat 2 stage of the 3DS version, drawings of Pac-Man in his ball form appear and move around the stage, damaging players on contact.