Original Pac-Man sketches

Dutch gaming magazine Control has a humbling look at the origins of Pac-Man: Toru Iwatani's initial sketches for the game that arguably launched the arcade era.

Iwatani toont originele schetsen voor Pac-Man (via Kottke)


  1. Wow, it’s the Pacmagna Cartaâ„¢!

    So, the original design had:

    *No ‘warp tunnel’
    *The score/life display ‘cutting into’ the maze.
    *A double ‘dead end trap’ on each side.

    What a fantastic piece of gaming history.

  2. It would also be hell for the ghosts to play in — their logic doesn’t account for “dead ends”. I’ve hacked a few mazes where there is a dead end. The ghost will go into the end, turn to the side, then walk through walls. It kind of “breaks” them. Ironically, they end up walking through walls, which is kinda what ghosts are known for. heh.

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, there is an extra few lines vertically that would not be possible to make in actual hardware, without modifying the maze somewhat. I should dig out the map editor in “AGE” and try it out.

  3. I love the big huge “SECRET” stamp smack dab in the center. I thought they only did that stuff in the movies! Double awesome!!

  4. “arguably” indeed!

    Pong launched the original “Bronze Age” of video games, and Space Invaders started the “Golden Age”.

  5. “the game that arguably launched the arcade era”?
    PINBALL was the game that launched the arcade game era. The arcades were full of pinball machines (and kids) before any video games ever showed up. I dumped plenty of quarters in to Spacewar in pinball arcades before Space Invaders showed up, let alone Pac-Man. When Ms. Pac-man showed up I was working for a coin-op video-game distributor. I installed many counterfeit Ms. Pac-man circuit boards into the cabinets of video-games that had gone out of style.

    1. Perhaps it should read the “Modern Arcade Era.” Pinball has been around, in various forms, for over 100 years. When Pac-Man hit though? It hit BIG and it caused a shift in leisure time for an entire generation. Hell, as bad as Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 was, it still sold at break-neck speeds BECAUSE it was Pac-Man.

      Yes, there were games that came before, but it was Pac-Man that really lit things and got them going at a fever pitch (a “Pac-Man Fever” pitch?)

    2. I think it should have been “launched the video arkade era”
      pong, pacman, space invaders and tetris were kings of the early video arkade days.

  6. This notebook reminds us of the days when you could design an entire video game on a few pieces of graph paper. Try doing that with Doom 4!

  7. Wow. Freakin’ game had just been invented, hadn’t even been programmed let alone released, and there’s already a high score of 99,990!

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