It was first called Pakkuman, but it get world wide known with the name of Pac-Man. On of the first and the most representative Arcade Games in history, almost a symbol in itself. With several versions, derivatives, copies, adaptations and ports to different devices, this game never stop selling.
When this video game arrived, there were other games causing sensation. Invaders and Asteroids were the games of the moment, but the arrival of Pac-Man brought something new. The other games were derivatives of the famous Pong, and it had simpler scenarios with even simpler objectives. The white lines that had to destroy predictable aliens or asteroids were easily surpassed by this game that brought not only colour but a distinguishable main character and some smart enemies, at least smart by the standards of the moment; every ghost had a distinct personality and movements. So, the challenge of the haunted mace made it in one of the most famous games ever and according to the Davie-Brown Index the game with the highest brand awareness of any video game character among American consumers.
Now Google is celebrating 30 years of the original game and doing it big. They not only changed the Google Doodle, the image in the home page of the search engine, but they make it playable for the first time ever. You only have to press "Insert Coin" and you can play the original game in the screen. But this is more than just a small homage of the original game, the Google Pac-Man brings the same game logic, graphics and sounds of the original as well the ghosts’ individual personalities, and even the original bugs from this 1980 version. If you press "Insert Coin" again Ms. Pac-Man will appear for a second player with the WASD keys.
For Google Pac-Man is more than just a game. They identify themselves with the game. According to the Official Google Blog: They’re both deceptively straightforward, carefully hiding their complexity under the hood. There’s a light-hearted, human touch to both of them.
This is from the creators who love Legos and April 1st jokes. Is easy to see this compartion. A game with a lot of fans, that has made millions and that become a symbol of the field they represent. All of that in a really simple setting, or apparently simple.
Other thing that is important to remember is that Pac-Man success comes not because the hardware it needed, it was ported to different settings hundreds of times, but because the software that lied behind. This ability to move from one setting to the next, one hardware, device, browser, to the next its what made it valuable. In the other hand, its closed system caused that hundreds of clone versions appear in the market. I think we can learn a lot with this game.