80's Video Games Wikia
A Pac-Man arcade machine.
Developer(s) Namco
Publisher(s) JP Namco

NA Midway

Platform(s) Arcade, Various
Genre(s) Maze
Series Yes
Predecessor None
Successor Ms. Pacman
JP May 22, 1980

NA October 1980

1 Player and 2 Player Mode
Media Included Arcade Machine
Cost $.50 to play
Max. amount of players 2 Players (who alternate turns when someone dies)

Pac-Man (originally Puck-Man) is a video game that was published by Namco and released by Bally Midway for the arcade.


Players play as the titular Pac-Man, who in this game appears as a yellow circle with a mouth. Pac-Man moves around the gameplay field, which is essentially a labyrinth, eating small, white "Pac-Dots" by moving into them. At the same time, he must avoid four ghosts, which spawn from an otherwise inaccessible room and each move around the screen according to different AI. If Pac-Man touches a ghost, he loses a life and starts in the center of the maze again. Ghosts can also be eaten if Pac-Man digests a Power Pellet, a large and more clearly circular Pac-Dot; this causes the ghosts to become blue and change expression, then flash white as the effect is about to end. When a ghost is eaten, its eyes fly back to the room, where it respawns shortly after.

Kill Screen or "Split Screen Level"[]

The kill screen of Pac-Man occurs when the player reaches the level 256. The first this the player will see wil be that the left side is normal, and that the other side is filled with colored letters and numbers, which also makes the level unbeatable because the player is unable to eat the pellets on the right side and also it makes it harder to navigate because the walls are replaced with the colored letters and numbers. In simple terms here is the cause of the kill screen since it is very complicated to explain it fully. What causes this to happen is what is known as an integer overflow, or the numbers restart because the fruit counter that draws fruit draws 255 fruit instead of the maximum amount of fruit which is seven, therefore causing the kill screen. Although the level is unbeatable, according to emulator code analysis, if someone were to beat the level, the fruit and intermissions would restart at level 1 conditions, but the ghosts would be faster and still have their ability of invulnerability to super pellets from the previous higher stages.


The simple but mechanically deep gameplay of Pac-Man has earned it near-universal praise. It is often seen as one of the definitive arcade games, if not games in general, alongside other classics such as Donkey Kong. The sprites, music, kill screen, and even the waka-waka noise Pac-Man makes when moving have all become instantly recognizable in the public eye.

Pac-Man is also credited with inventing cutscenes, enemy AI, and power-ups.