Back in 1955, Masaya Nakamura founded an amusement game company called Namco. Starting with two mechanical horse rides, the company was a video game giant by the 1980s, mainly their its introduction of Pac-Man in 1980. Since then, the game–listed by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most successful coin-operated game the universe has ever seen–has been played no fewer than 10 billion times.
I alone was responsible for exactly 155,341,288 times during my time at the University of Winnipeg. Pac-Man explains why my buddy Charlie got 27% on his first-year French course. (I may have encouraged him to cut that class so we could go down to the arcade.) My other buddy Donald became a Pac-Man ninja, the only person I ever knew to make it through all 256 levels, leading to the game’s infamous freak-out as it tried to ascend to level 257.
Pac-Man was designed by Toru Iwantani, an engineer at Namco. It became so popular that there was even a hit song about it by Buckner and Garcia called “Pac-Man Fever.”
More on Pac-Man’s history here.