Pac-Man (universe)

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Pac-Man (universe)
Pac-Man title.png
PacManSymbol.svg
Developer(s) Bandai Namco
Publisher(s) Bandai Namco
Designer(s) Tōru Iwatani
Genre(s) Maze
Platformer
Puzzle
Console of origin Arcade
First installment Pac-Man (1980)
Latest installment Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus (2018)
Article on Wikipedia Pac-Man (universe)

The Pac-Man universe (パックマン, Pacman), officially capitalized PAC-MAN, is a third-party franchise introduced in Super Smash Bros. 4. It is the property of Bandai Namco, who developed Super Smash Bros. 4 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate alongside Sora Ltd. The Pac-Man series is represented by its main protagonist, Pac-Man.

Franchise description[edit]

After Masaya Nakamura's company, Nakamura Amusement-machine Manufacturing Company (or NAMCO), founded Namco's American subsidiary in order to license its video arcade machines to companies such as Atari and Midway Games for distribution in the U.S., Namco released its first internally designed video arcade game in 1978, Gee Bee. Following this, Namco developed and released the highly popular fixed shooter game Galaxian in 1979 to compete with Taito Corporation's successful earlier game, Space Invaders. Galaxian revolutionized the arcade industry as the first game to use RGB-color graphics, and it and its 1981 sequel Galaga became fixtures in what was subsequently remembered as the "Golden Age of arcade video games" - the peak era of arcade video game popularity and technological innovation. However, Namco's project in between, 1980's Pac-Man, would arguably become even more definitive of both the era and Namco's legacy. A young Namco employee named Toru Iwatani designed the game with the intention to appeal to a wider audience beyond young boys and teenagers - demographics that were typical of the time because of the prevalence of space shooter-themed arcade machines. He therefore fashioned a game out of maze-like elements and a colorful aesthetic with cute character designs, including a player-character he originally named "Puck-man" after the Japanese phrase "paku paku", an onomatopoeia used to represent the sound of eating. The character and the game itself were renamed Pac-Man for the North American release.

Despite its initially lukewarm reception in Japan, it is difficult to overstate the immense impact that the North American release of the game Pac-Man had. It quickly became far more popular than anything seen in the game industry up to that point, grossing over $1 billion in quarters within a decade, and towards the end of the 20th century, the game's total gross in quarters had been estimated at more than 10 billion quarters ($2.5 billion), making it the highest-grossing video game of all time. It established the maze chase game genre, and is also credited for laying the foundations for the stealth genre due to its emphasis on avoiding enemies rather than fighting them. It introduced what is argued to be the first original gaming mascot, Pac-Man, and in doing so demonstrated the potential of characters in video games. It was the first video game to feature power-ups, and is often credited as the first game to feature cutscenes, albeit not to the degree that Nintendo's own revolutionary arcade game, Donkey Kong, had the following year. Finally, it opened gaming to female audiences, and it was gaming's first licensing success. Pac-Man was determined to have the highest brand awareness of any video game character among American consumers.

Pac-Man became one of few games to have been consistently published for over three decades, with many remakes and sequels released on numerous platforms. This is not to mention the influx of unauthorized Pac-Man clones that took place soon after the original release, nor of the ill-fated port of the game for the Atari 2600 (which ironically was a contributing factor to the infamous 1983 video game crash in North America due to the debilitating technical limitations of the console). An American-produced derivative titled Ms. Pac-Man garnered a great deal of success of its own due to improvements over the original title, and despite its development happening without Namco's consent, Namco received the rights to the property and subsequently included the feminine take on Pac-Man in various Pac-Man compilations and ports. As the series progressed with continued releases that explored different genres, the iconic yellow wedge shape that ordinarily defined the title character onscreen was phased out for a design closer to his appearance on the promotional artwork printed on the arcade machines themselves - an abstract, spherical humanoid with rudimentary limbs and a massive face with a stick-like nose that varied in length between appearances. This was done in Pac-Land in part to tie in with a Hanna-Barbera animated series about Pac-Man that ran for two seasons in 1982 and 1983.

The steady stream of Pac-Man games was more-or-less halted for roughly six years after Pac-Mania for the arcades in 1987, before resuming on consoles with Pac-Attack in 1993. Through releases on a variety of competing platforms, including the PC, the formerly maze-based series explored genres as varied as puzzle, adventure, platformer, party, racing, and even pinball. It could be argued that Pac-Man as an IP was easily more relevant as a forerunner to modern video games than as a starring video game franchise, due to the tendency of modern Pac-Man games to cater to young child demographics and garner at-times lukewarm reception, but Namco nonetheless honors the character as its company mascot, and introduced an updated design in the computer-animated series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which began airing in 2013. In an odd twist of fate, Pac-Man was involved both in another company's crossover fighting game - Capcom's Street Fighter X Tekken, wherein he was a playable character exclusively in PlayStation versions - and in a Mario game - as a playable racer in 2005's Mario Kart Arcade GP, a racing arcade game developed jointly by Namco and Nintendo, along with its sequels - before he was included for the first time as a playable fighter in Nintendo's Super Smash Bros. series of crossover fighting games in 2014, also a joint Nintendo-Namco effort. Inversely, Mario also made a cameo appearance in a Pac-Man game, acting as the announcer in the 2003 GameCube title Pac-Man Vs.

The original Pac-Man is set in a static, colored maze, where the original wedge-shaped Pac-Man must traverse every corridor and lane at least once in order to eat every pellet distributed across the screen. Pac-Man is at constant risk from four differently-colored "ghosts" that roam the maze with the intention to collide into him, but whenever Pac-Man eats through any four of the larger Power Pellets in a maze, the ghosts temporarily turn vulnerable, and will be briefly taken out of the game when Pac-Man collides with a ghost in this state. There is essentially no end to the number of mazes Pac-Man can clear, and the point score - the ultimate objective of the game, like with many arcade games - can be further increased by eating fruits that bounce through the stage occasionally. While elements of this classic formula have been referenced in later Pac-Man games based on different genres, games have since depicted Pac-Man in a colorful world not unlike Mario and Sonic.

In Super Smash Bros. 4[edit]

The Pac-Man franchise is introduced in Super Smash Bros. 4. Uniquely among other third-party franchises, it brings along elements from other properties of the same company. Elements from Namco's early Arcade games - Mappy, Dig Dug, Galaga, and Galaxian - are present along with small cameos from others. See List of Namco universes for elements pertaining to those series.

Characters[edit]

Pac-ManIcon(SSB4-U).png
  • Pac-Man: Pac-Man is one of the oldest and most recognizable video game characters of all time; he is a gluttonous ghost-hunter created by Namco. He was initially announced in a private Smash event during E3 2014 before being revealed worldwide on the Smash 4 site the following day. Pac-Man is the fourth third-party character/series introduced to Smash Bros. Rather than being based off of his modern incarnation from Pac-Man Party and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, Pac-Man appears in his classic design from earlier ventures such as Pac- Land and the Pac-Man World titles. His moveset consists of eating power pellets and using 8-bit items and enemies from his own game, along with those of various Namco arcade games.

Assist Trophies[edit]

  • Ghosts: evasive poltergeists from the original Pac-Man - Blinky (the red ghost), Pinky (the pink ghost), Inky (the cyan ghost), and Clyde (the orange ghost). The ghosts wander around the stage in pursuit of opponents, mimicking their movement from the original arcade game: Blinky takes the shortest route to opponents, Pinky tries to move in front of them, Inky moves opposite to Blinky, and Clyde moves randomly. They deal 10% damage, cannot be shielded, and speed up several seconds before they despawn, notified by a change in pitch of their "wandering" tone. They do not harm the summoner. Unlike other Assist Trophies, they simply zoom off-screen instead of disappearing. The ghosts are also a part of Pac-Man's moveset (appearing in his smash attacks) and appear as hazards on the Pac-Maze stage.

Stages[edit]

All Pac-Man stages are unlockable stages.

for Nintendo 3DS[edit]

Pac-Maze is exclusive to the 3DS version. In addition to Pac-Maze, one of the phases on PictoChat 2 has sketched Pac-Men appear as hazards. This phase is based on Pac-Pix.

  • Pac-MazeIconSSB4-3.png
    Pac-Maze: staged within the maze of the original Pac-Man. It has several platforms and all four ghosts: Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde. Power Pellets appear upon collecting 100 Pac-Dots and make fighters temporarily invincible to the ghosts upon being collected, being turned into their vulnerable "turn-to-blue" forms. Its Ω form is columnar.

for Wii U[edit]

  • PacLandIconSSB4-U.png
    Pac-Land: a stage based on the eponymous arcade game. Similar to Mushroomy Kingdom, it is a traveling side-scrolling stage that begins before Pac-Man's house and brings the fight to various regions in Pac-Land. It is a faithful replication of all seven levels from Pac-Land: the town, forest, mountains, desert, ponds, bridge, and castle. Hazardous elements from Pac-Land were carried over into this stage, such as the water-spraying fire hydrants, falling wood, unswimmable water, and unstable bridge. Ms. Pac-Man and the Mother Fairy cameo on this stage. Pac-Land is one of the possible stages to appear in Level 7 of All-Star Mode as a home stage for Pac-Land. Its Ω form is a columnar plateau occurring in the mountains.

Music[edit]

Original tracks[edit]

Arrangements and remixes unique to Smash 4.

  • PAC-MAN: a medley of pieces from the original Pac-Man, including "Start Music" and "Coffee Break Music". It plays on Pac-Maze and Pac-Land. It is featured on Disc 2 of A Smashing Soundtrack
  • PAC-MAN (Club Mix): an electronic-influenced medley of pieces from Pac-Man, including "Start Music" and "Coffee Break Music". It plays on Pac-Maze and Pac-Land. It is featured on Disc 1 of A Smashing Soundtrack.
  • PAC-MAN'S PARK / BLOCK TOWN: an arrangement of "Pacman's Park" and "Block Town" from Pac-Mania. "Pacman's Park" itself is partially an arrangement of "Coffee Break Music" from Pac-Man. It plays on Pac-Land. It was used in Pac-Man's reveal trailer "Red, Blue and Yellow" and is featured on Disc 2 of A Smashing Soundtrack.

Victory fanfares[edit]

  • Victory! PAC-MAN: a flourish of "Start Music" from Pac-Man.

Other[edit]

When the Ghost Assist Trophies are summoned, their movement is accompanied with "Ghost: Spurt Move #2" from the original arcade game. When their period of summons is nearing its end, the ghosts become faster and the music shifts to "Ghost: Spurt Move #4".

Trophies[edit]

The completed "PAC-MAN" Trophy Box.
  • PAC-MAN
  • PAC-MAN (Alt.)
  • Power Pellet
  • Bonus Fruit
  • Fire Hydrant
  • Ghosts (PAC-MAN)
  • Blinky
  • Inky
  • Pinky
  • Clyde

for Nintendo 3DS[edit]

  • TURN-TO-BLUE
  • PAC-MAZE

for Wii U[edit]

  • Super PAC-MAN
  • Mother Fairy
  • PAC-MAN's House
Trophy Boxes[edit]
Main article: Trophy Box
  • PAC-MAN
  • Super PAC-MAN & PAC-LAND

Masterpieces[edit]

Main article: Masterpieces

In Super Smash Bros. Ultimate[edit]

Character[edit]

  • 55.
    Pac-ManIcon(SSBU).png
    Pac-Man: Pac-Man returns as an unlockable fighter after being a starter in Smash 4. He retains his Final Smash Super Pac-Man, but it has different functionality.

Stage[edit]

  • SSBU-Pac-Land.png
    Super Smash Bros. for Wii U Pac-Land: Returns from the Wii U version of Smash 4 as a retro stage.

Assist Trophy[edit]

  • Ghosts: Returns completely unchanged from Smash 4.

Music[edit]

Notably, thanks to changes in the way Music is played on stages, all Namco songs in Ultimate are classified as Pac-Man songs.

Returning Tracks[edit]

Arrangements and remixes returning from Smash 4.

  • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN": A ragtime-styled remix of the game start and intermission themes from the original Pac-Man. Returns from Smash 4.
  • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN (Club Mix)": A more dramatic remix of the game start and intermission themes from Pac-Man, featuring heavy percussion. Returns from Smash 4.
  • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN'S PARK / BLOCK TOWN": A rock and synth remix of the themes from Pac-Man's Park and Block town from Pac-Mania, as well as the death theme from the same game. Returns from Smash 4. Heard in Pac-Man's character trailer.

Victory Theme[edit]

  • "Victory! Pac-Man": A remix of the game start jingle from Pac-Man. Remains unchanged from Smash 4.

Spirits[edit]

946. PAC-MAN
947. Mother Fairy
948. Ghosts
949. TURN-TO-BLUE
950. Bonus Fruit

Game Elements from or in the Super Smash Bros. series[edit]

Pac-Man[edit]

Main article: Pac-Man (game)
  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man made his debut in this game. Pac-Man transforms into his ball form during certain moves, which is how he appeared in this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Many elements from Pac-Man's moveset debut in this game, such as the Ghosts, the Bonus Fruit, Pac-Dots, and Power Pellets.
  • Stages:
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DSPac-Maze appears as a stage in Smash for 3DS.
  • Assist Trophies:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4The Ghosts appear as an Assist Trophy.
  • Trophies:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4A Power Pellet, the Bonus Fruit, and the Ghosts (as a group and each one individually) appear as trophies in Smash 4.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DSTurn-to-Blue and the Pac-Maze appear as trophies in Smash for 3DS.
  • Spirits:
    • Super Smash Bros. UltimateThe Ghosts, Turn-to-Blue, and the Bonus Fruit appear as Spirits.
  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN": A ragtime-styled remix of the game start and intermission themes from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN (Club Mix)": A more dramatic and persuasion heavy remix of the game start and intermission themes from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4"Victory! Pac-Man": A remix of the game start jingle from this game.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii UThe NES port of this game appears as a Masterpiece in the Smash for Wii U.

Ms. Pac-Man[edit]

  • Stage Elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. for Wii UMs. Pac-Man herself makes an appearance on the Pac-Land stage.

Super Pac-Man[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's Final Smash is based off of this game.

Pac-Land[edit]

  • Playable characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's design in the Super Smash Bros. series is based off of the Japanese arcade cabinet.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's down special summons a Fire Hydrant from this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4One of Pac-Man's victory poses is based on this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's jumping animation, falling animation, and jumping sound effect are based on this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's blue and white costumes in Smash 4 and Ultimate are based on his in-game sprite and official artwork with the Wing Shoes, respectively.
  • Stages:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4A side-scrolling stage based on the arcade version of the game appears in Smash for Wii U and Ultimate.
  • Trophies:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4A Fire Hydrant appears as a trophy in Smash 4.
    • Super Smash Bros. for Wii UThe Mother Fairy and Pac-Man's house appear in Smash for Wii U.
  • Spirits:
    • Super Smash Bros. UltimateThe Mother Fairy appears as a Spirit.

Pac-Mania[edit]

  • Music:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4"PAC-MAN'S PARK / BLOCK TOWN": A rock and synth remix of the themes from Pac-Man's Park and Block Town, as well as the death theme from this game.

Pac-Man World[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's design is based on the games in this trilogy, debuting in this game.
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's side special is based on a move from this game.
  • Super Smash Bros. for Wii UThe game is referenced in the Pac-Man's House trophy description.

Pac-Man World 2[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's up aerial is based on the Flip Kick from this game.

Pac-Man World 3[edit]

  • Playable Characters:
    • Super Smash Bros. 4Pac-Man's ability to wall jump was taken from this game.

Pac-Pix[edit]

  • State Elements:
    • Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DSDrawings of Pac-Man in his ball form from this game appear on PictoChat 2 in Smash for 3DS and Ultimate. They move around the stage, damaging players on contact.

Trivia[edit]

  • The Pac-Man universe is the oldest third-party universe with a playable character to be represented in Smash.
    • Additionally, it is the 2nd oldest universe with a playable character overall; only Game & Watch is older, by just one month.
  • Pac-Man is the only third-party universe to have a game primarly developed by Nintendo, as Nintendo EAD developed Pac-Man Vs. It is also one of the two third-party universes to have a game developed by Nintendo's rival Microsoft, the other being Banjo-Kazooie; it was included with the compilation Return of Arcade, and was even the game used in the trial version included with most copies of the Windows 95 CD.