Color us relieved the PacMan ghosts were almost all red

first_imgAll great heroes are defined by their villains, those adversaries whose badness makes the stars shine even better. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and Pac-Man has Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, those most sinister of specters.The now-iconic video game villains have been trying to prevent Pac-Man and his ilk from gobbling up power pellets since the game’s 1980 debut. Each one has a specific personality, but did you know that, at one point, they were all going to be the same color?Back when the game was in development, Namco president Masaya Makamura wanted all four to be red instead of red, pink, blue, and orange. Pac-Man developer Toru Iwatani knew that this would be a mistake.“Mr Nakamura was very scary,” Iwatani said in a recent interview. “All the developers on the team, and all the people our age, knew that each ghost had to have a different color … the ghosts needed to be cute like cartoons. But Mr. Nakamura wanted them all red.”In an effort to convince his boss otherwise, the 26-year-old developer took an informal poll of his co-workers. “I was 26 years old, and it was terrifying to confront the boss,” he said. “But I decided to hit him with data. I conducted an internal survey among my colleagues and, with my hands shaking, presented Mr Nakamura with the results. It was 40-0 in fav­or of colored ghosts, and he agreed.”In addition to giving players an idea of which ghost they were dealing with, the idea to use different colors and cartoon-y visuals was part of Iwatani’s plan to appeal to women as well as men. The first Pac-Man arcade games hit the U.S. in the fall of 1980 spawning a flood of enthusiasm that resulted in Ms. Pac-Man, an amazingly goofy pop track, and a spread in Life Magazine featuring record-holding gamers. In other words, Iwatani was right to stand his ground and the world is a more colorful place because of it!last_img

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