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, along with 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: one of the oldest and most recognizable video game characters of all time; 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 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 classical 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 also are part of Pac-Man's moveset 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 the 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]

Current.png This page documents information about recently released content.
Information may change rapidly as it becomes available. All information in this article must be verifiable.

Character[edit]

  • Pac-Man: Pac Man is set to return as an unlockable fighter and retains his Final Smash Super Pac Man.

Stages[edit]

  • 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.

  • Super Smash Bros. 4 "PAC-MAN'S PARK / BLOCK TOWN": Heard in Pac-Man's character trailer and was also used for his reveal trailer in Smash 4.

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

Pac-Man[edit]

Main article: Pac-Man (game)

The original arcade game in which Pac-Man and the Ghosts made their debut. It also contributes the 8-bit fruit used in Pac-Man's neutral special. In many of his moves, Pac-Man turns into the iconic ball form and eats Pac-Dots, both of which originated from Pac-Man. There is also a stage exclusive to the 3DS version that is based on the first maze in Pac-Man. Two music tracks appear based off of various sound effects ripped from the Arcade version. The NES version appears as a Masterpiece in the Wii U version.

Super Pac-Man[edit]

Pac-Man's Final Smash is based off of this game.

Pac-Land[edit]

A side-scrolling stage appears based on the arcade version of the game. Pac-Man's design in the Super Smash Bros. series is based off of the Japanese arcade cabinet. Additionally, one of Pac-Man's moves is based off this game in which he spawns a fire hydrant similar to the ones from the game, as well as a victory pose directly based off of it. Pac-Man's jumping animation, falling animation, and jumping sound effect are also based on this game.

Pac-Mania[edit]

A remixed medley of the tracks from the second and first levels of the game, respectively, appear as a track on both versions.

Pac-Man World Trilogy[edit]

Pac-Man's design is mostly based off of the Pac-Man World Trilogy, and his up aerial is based on the Flip Kick from Pac-Man World 2. Pac-Man's side special could be done in all three of the Pac-Man World games, but with designs from the 8-bit games. Pac-Man's ability to wall jump was first demonstrated in the third and final entry of the series.

Pac-Pix[edit]

In the PictoChat 2 stage of the 3DS version, drawings of Pac-Man in his ball form appear and 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.
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