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Here is this interview in Japanese.



Arino & Iwatani

The interviewer was so excited with the fact that he was playing PAC-MAN in front of the father of PAC-MAN. Now, he takes on the challenge of PAC-MAN Championship Edition which was also played in the world competition. Let’s see what the game play of 21st century PAC-MAN was like?

The latest PAC-MAN

The latest PAC-MAN

Iwatani: PAC-MANIA consists of game play with 3D mazes and stages to clear. PAC-LAND or PAC-MAN World, was released after PAC-MANIA and has game play action with the Ghosts and Pac-Man having hands and legs. The latest version of PAC-MANIA is PAC-MAN Championship Edition. Our staff worked so hard to make it closer to the original PAC-MAN but with some enhancements. The visual graphics are very clear and provide the feeling of speed. Also, it has a timeout system, were the player can leave the games before clearing the stage It earned good reviews and it’s the only title that had no bad comments on 2channel [a famous Japanese online bulletin board]. Concerns were that people’s expectations might be lower as they felt "Again, Pac-Man..." smiley face

(Then, the interviewer started playing PAC-MAN Championship Edition.)

Interviewer: This is beautiful. Is this supposed to look like the night?

Iwatani: Yes, in order to make it look beautiful, a neon-ish effect has been used. The wavy or neon-like effects are good, aren’t they?

(The interviewer focused on the game. He noticed the timer on the screen.)

Interviewer: Is this counting down?

Iwatani: Yes, yes. It’s a completion for points within a time frame. In the original PAC-MAN you keep getting ghosts and can earn up to 1600 points, but PAC-MAN Championship Edition enables you to earn more points. It was released about 2 years ago, and it was downloaded a lot through Xbox LIVE at that time.

(Unfortunately, the interviewer's game was over. The result was shown with the bar chart.)

Iwatani: Your results are shown here, the cookie eating points, beating ghosts points, and getting fruits (such as cherries) points are shown with the bar chart in chronological order. The game was designed for the wide screen, so you can enjoy with today’s high resolution monitors. In short, this title was created to fit to present time.

(The interviewer pressed the start button again)

Interviewer: I like this sense of speed. Recent games are creating realism through the games graphics, but the evolution of PAC-MAN does not require changing the core details of the games graphics.

Iwatani: Yes, yes, that’s right. From the very start, PAC-MAN has evolved as a simple game with simple game design. This concept hasn’t changed that much from the original version.

Interviewer: Apparently, the rules are the same. Dark blue-ish maze images are the same, too.

(The interviewer focused on the game without a word for a while.)

Interviewer: The 5 are always together, PAC-MAN and the Ghosts. smiley face

Iwatani: Yes. The relationship between PAC-MAN and the Ghosts is like Tom and Jerry’s "Fight in a friendly way . . . " PAC-MAN does not eat until he dies. It’s just a fight over the cookies, something like "Don’t eat my cookies."

Interviewer: I see. It wasn’t really known that the relationship is more like Tom and Jerry. It might be a good idea to show in the opening movie that they are usually getting along.

Iwatani: I think so. smiley face

(The interviewer seems to be understanding the game. His game play goes smoothly and PAC-MAN’s movement is getting faster.)

Interviewer: The speed is getting faster and faster.

Iwatani: PAC-MAN was created for gamers of various skill levels, and the beginning of the game was created for the people who are at that beginner level. As the in-game skill goes higher, the speed gets faster. Because of that, the skilled people can get excited as well. I was sure that this game, when it was released 2 years ago, had stepped it up one level, but I would like to plan something more advanced in the future.

Interviewer: Part 2?

Iwatani: No, not Part 2 but something new, such as the character with the tale. smiley face

Interviewer: If I see that, I would say "Ah!"

(Now, the interviewer said he would like to see Iwatani-san play the game.)

Interviewer: Can I see you play the game a little bit?

Iwatani: Me? I am not that good. smiley face

(Iwatani-san starts to play the game. This is a special occasion. Even though it was Iwatani-san playing, he was gotten by Ghosts soon after)

Iwatani: That’s why I am not good. smiley face

Interviewer: Are you sure you made this game? smiley face

Iwatani: This was made by the younger staff, and I supervised but not created it. However, I am not that good at playing the original version, either. smiley face

Interviewer: Speaking of which, PAC-MAN doesn’t shoot.

Iwatani: Yes, movement is cross key only, so it’s easy to port to mobiles.

Interviewer: I see. 30 years ago, did you already see the possibility of porting to mobile in the future?

Iwatani: I was able to imagine that the cell phones would get smaller and would be commonly used, but I did not expect that the liquid crystal would be this clear and beautiful.

World Competition

World Competition

Interviewer: People in the world can see this ranking, right? How many points did the world’s top people get?

Iwatani: They earned points that we can’t even imagine. The game play movie is on You Tube. In 2007 when the Championship Edition was unveiled, we gathered the top people in the world to NY and had a world competition. A middle school student came from England.

Interviewer: It was like a Kinnikuman’s chojin (the Supermen of gaming) Olympics? smiley face But this event was before the actual release, right?

Iwatani: Yes. Before the release, we distributed the trial version in advance, and we gathered the top people in the world. Besides the top in each country, we invited Billy Mitchell who has the world record of original PAC-MAN.

Interviewer: Was he good?

Iwatani: Yes, he was pretty good and has instinct. The winner of the world competition was a guy in his 30’s from Mexico, and owned a game company. At the end of the competition, we ate together, and I talked with the person from Mexico while drinking Mexico's Corona beer. He was very serious and it was fun to talk with him.

Interviewer: I see. You have to be serious to be a good gamer. smiley face

Possibility of New Game System


Interviewer: PAC-MAN is always eating cookies. Doesn’t he get full, so full that his walking speed slows down?

Iwatani: When creating games, I felt like adding different effects, but getting rid of those ideas is also important.

Interviewer: Was there anything you got rid of right before the release?

Iwatani: There were so many. When ideas themselves are expanding alone, the original concept would be lost. It was so hard whenever giving up on those ideas. I thought it might be good to have stages where you can shoot missiles or flames from mouse to attack etc...

Interviewer: Any plan to make PAC-MAN able to attack?


Iwatani: Actually, heroes in anime or movies don’t have that strong of a weapon. For example, basically Spiderman can only shoot spider’s webbing and Superman can only fly. I think it would be nice to have items or powers become stronger, but they basically have only one thing and rest of them are not that strong.

Interviewer: That’s true. Heroes don’t have talents for them to attack with weapons.

Iwatani: I don’t make the main characters too strong, and it might be because I grew up with watching those heroes. The idea of reversal winning from eating the power cookie came from Popeye. Normally he is weak, but he gets powerful temporarily once he eats his spinach. So, the power cookies are like PAC-MAN's spinach. When I come to think of it, I was affected by anime, movies and cartoons a lot. A lot of other game creators said the same thing, and I think that the experiences you had since childhood largely affect a games creation. However, when thinking of making the amusingness in games, I would like to add the elements of tactics in fighting.

Interviewer: Yes I agree that you feel like adding tactics in fighting games, such as more enemies or duplicating the characters.

Iwatani: That’s true. We struggle with including tactics such as throwing things, not only with PAC-MAN, but with other games as well most of the ideas were eliminated but, there were games that have included these, and have become successful. When developing a game, the development process can slow down if too many various things are changed. I would say that PAC-MAN Championship Edition would be one of the ideal advancements.

Interviewer: That is surely beautiful.


The original name of PAC-MAN on release was PUCK-MAN. It was later changed for U.S. translation.

PAC-MAN 30th Anniversary

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