Category Archives: LBoG: Characters

Happy Birthday Pac-Man

Created by Tōru Iwatani, who got the idea for Pac-Man from looking at a pizza with a slice removed. On 22nd May 1980, Namco released Pac-Man into arcades in Japan. Making today (22/5/2015) Pac-Man’s 35th Birthday.

Birthday

So to mark such a milestone, I thought I’d do this ere’ character history and bio, as well as a gaming overview of the original Pac-Man along with a retrospective look back at Pac-Man’s entire gaming life to celebrate the Birthday of one of gaming’s most iconic and famous characters…

While the idea to create Pac-Man did come from a pizza with a slice missing, creator Tōru Iwatani has also said the idea came from simplifying and rounding out the Japanese character for a mouth, kuchi.
Pac-Man was originally going to be called Puck-Man, which comes from the Japanese folklore character Paku who was known for his appetite. But when Namco licensed the game to be released in the United States, they changed the character’s name to “Pac-Man” after worrying that vandals could easily change the P in Puck to an F on the arcade cabinets.

Pac-Man has had an illustrious career over the last 35 years with a total of 34 games and spin-offs in the Pac-Man franchise from 1980-2015, as well as Pac-Man himself making cameos in various other games like; Kick (1981), Mario Kart Arcade series (2005-2013), Everybody’s Golf 6 (2011), Street Fighter X Tekken (2012) and even Super Smash Bros. (2014).

Often shown as being a family man with his wife Ms. Pac-Man who is also known as Pepper (why is she Ms. if she’s married?) and their two children one boy and one girl, plus Pac-Man can sometimes be found with the family dog; Chomp-Chomp or even the cat named Sourpuss.
While very much a family man, Pac-Man still enjoys his adventures and is often depicted with a voracious appetite for pellets and power pills.

Pac-Man was the very first and original gaming mascot. With Pac-Man being plastered on posters, lunchboxes, mugs, keyrings, clothing and many, many, many other merchandise…including packs of stickers that would come with a scratchcard Pac-Man game and a piece of bubble gum that tasted like cough medicine. Anyone remember those?

According to the Davie-Brown Index, Pac-Man has the highest brand awareness of any video game character ever among American consumers. With Pac-Man being recognized by 94 percent.

Pac-Man may be 35 years old, but he’s showing no signs of stopping and still appearing in games today, whether they be Pac-Man centric or him just showing up as a cameo.

Pac single

But not content with just sticking to the games, Pac-Man also featured in a hit single with; Pac-Man Fever (Buckner & Garcia) released in December 1981 and it went on to reach number 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States in March 1982. While at the same time, it was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America for having over 1,000,000 units shipped to retailers. The single sold 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982 and a total of 2.5 million copies. VH1 even ranked it at number 98 on their list of 100 Greatest One Hit Wonders of the 80s.

Pac-Man’s music career aside, he has also appeared on the small and big screen.

TV show

Pac-Man the animated series was produced by the legendary animation production company; Hanna-Barbera and originally aired 1982 to 1983 for 2 seasons. It holds the distinction of being the very first cartoon based on a video game.

TV show 2

Pac-Man would return to the small screen in; Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures this time computer animated. It is produced by 41 Entertainment, Arad Productions Inc and first aired June 15, 2013 on the Disney Channel in the US. There was even a video game made based on this show…yes a show that was originally based on a game, turned into a TV show and then turned into a game.

Pac-Man has also been shown and referenced in other TV shows like; The Simpsons, Futurama, Tiny Toon Adventures, South Park, Family Guy, Robot Chicken and Drawn Together.
But Pac-Man has also appeared on the big screen making cameos in films such as; Tron, Wreck-It Ralph and will also appear in the upcoming film; Pixels.

Pac-Man also had his own children’s play area in the Six Flags Over Texas theme park from 1983–1985 a board game and even his own official restuarant.

Pac-Man has had a big and varied life for sure and he’s is still going today.
Happy 35th Birthday Pac-Man.

evolution

There’s even more Pac-Man in my Pac-Man overview of the original arcade game as well as a multi-part retrospective look back at the entire Pac-Man gaming franchise.

Thanks for reading Pac-Fans.

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Duke Nukem used to be awesome.

Duke

Duke Nukem Forever took…well forever to be released. It was to be called “Forever” as it was (at the time) the 4th game in the series (get it, FOURever?) to be made after Duke Nukem 3D (get it THREE-D? Sorry I’ll stop now) from 1996. But delays meant Duke Nukem Forever would not see the light of day until over 15 years after it was first announced as the sequel to Duke Nukem 3D.
Due to the delays there were other games released in the series in between the 15 year gap.

Duke Nukem Forever when finally released in 2011 was one of the biggest disappointments in gaming history and seemingly buried the Duke Nukem character. But I’m not here to talk about the Duke Nukem series of games and the bitter disappointment that was Duke Nukem Forever…yet (it’s coming though).

I wanted to cover one of my all time favorite game characters from his early low budget start to his meteoric rise in the mid 90’s and his fall from grace in 2011.

Duke Nukem was created by Todd Replogle, Jim Norwood, George Broussard, and Scott Miller of Apogee Software. Being a parody of 80’s action heroes by meddling elements of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, Sylvester Stallone, Kurt Russell as well as throwing in a bit of Roddy Piper from They Live and smidge of Bruce Campbell’s Ash from Army Of Darkness.
Duke was essentially the best of the best (or worst) of action heros mixed together to make one bad-ass mofo.

Voiced by Jon St. John (from Duke Nukem 3D onwards) giving Duke a rather unique, iconic and instantly recognisable voice. Seriously try saying “What are you waiting for, Christmas?” without thinking of or hearing Duke Nukem’s voice in your head. Duke Nukem became one of gamings all time greats.
Duke was sexist, misogynistic, confident, aggressive, and beautifully politically incorrect with a soft spot for “the babes”.
His was skilled with a variety of weapons from explosives, automatic and even energy weapons…oh and his “mighty foot” for kicking alien pig-police in the face. He would also use vehicles such as his monster truck or even a jet pack. He is never seen without his trademark Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, even at night and often seen with a nice fat stogie hanging out of his mouth.
His ego was so huge he even wrote an autobiography called: “Why I’m So Great”.

Duke’s first appearance was in Duke Nukem from 1991 and has been in a total of 18 official Duke Nukem games, sequels and spin offs as well as making cameos in other games like: Cosmo’s Cosmic Adventure (1992), Blood (1997) and more recently Choplifter HD (2012) along with several other games.

There was a time when the name Duke Nukem really meant something in the gaming world. From early 16-bit visuals to full on 3D and textured polygons, Duke Nukem was a hugely popular character despite really being a huge, egotistical (insert slang term for a lady’s front bits here). The humor of the character was often really childish…but still funny. Mr. Nukem was certainly controversial as a character.
Often found on top lists of all time great gaming characters along with the likes of Mario, Sonic, Lara Croft, Pac-Man and many others and he is even listed in The Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition. Duke Nukem still remains a fan favourite and a character that has earned his rightful place in gaming history.

Alas, the dismal Duke Nukem Forever may have buried the character for good. Aside from the game itself, may a reviewer just did not “get” the character. Calling him out on his sexism, mysongism, childish humor, stating he was outdated and so on…yes, that is the point of the character. He’s supposed to be a parody, a pastiche of 80’s cheesy action heros.
Yes, Duke Nukem Forever the game was bad, but Duke himself as a character was just as great as he ever was and his puerile humor was much needed in the sterile world of straightlaced characters and very “brown” personalities we have today.

Since the release of Duke Nukem Forever in 2011, Duke has been laying low and not really heard of since and it does look like Duke Nukem may finally be dead. But I really do hope not, while Duke Nukem Forever was a horrible game and definitely not worth the 15 year wait. The character is just too important and impactful to sweep under the carpet.
We need Duke Nukem back to inject his humor and style back into gaming, he just needs better games to be in.
I’d most definitely like to see Duke return, but let’s just ignore Duke Nukem Forever and pretend it never happened.

Duke 2

“Hail to the King Baby.”

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