Pac-Man was developed primarily by a young Namco employee named Tōru Iwatani in 1979. On May 22, 1980, the first Pac-Man machine was installed in a movie theater in Tokyo.
The game was based on the concept of eating, and the original Japanese title was Pakkuman (パックマン), inspired by the Japanese slang phrase paku-paku taberu (パクパク食べる). Paku-paku describes the sound of the mouth movement when widely opened and then closed in succession. Taberu is the Japanese word meaning “to eat”.
In 1980, the game was manufactured in the United States by Midway, which changed the game’s name from Puck Man to Pac-Man in an effort to avoid vandalism to the letter ‘P’.
When Pac-Man was released, the most popular arcade video games were space shooters, in particular Space Invaders and Asteroids. Pac-Man succeeded by creating a new genre and appealing to both genders. Pac-Man is often credited with being a landmark in video game history, and is among the most famous arcade games of all time. It is also the highest-grossing video game of all time having generated more than $2.5 billion in quarters by the 1990s.