The Null Device

Toru Iwatami speaks

Toru Iwatama speaks about his famous creation, Pac-Man:
In fact, Iwatani acknowledges that, while a eureka moment for the annals, that event represents the official birth of Pac-Man: "The whole thing actually started with me walking around games arcades watching how many boys were playing and the fact that all the machines were about killing aliens, tanks or people. Girls were simply not interested, and I suddenly had a motivation for my work: I wanted game centres to shed this rather dark, sinister image, and it seemed to me that the way to raise the atmosphere of a place is to entice girls to come in. The whole purpose of Pac-Man was to target women and couples, and get a different type of player involved."
"So there I was, wondering what sort of things women would look for in a video game. I sat in cafés and listened to what they were talking about: mostly it was fashion and boyfriends. Neither of those was really the stuff of a good video game. Then they started talking about food -- about cakes and sweets and fruit -- and it hit me: that food and eating would be the thing to concentrate on to get the girls interested."
It may have been aimed at girls, but boys converted to it immediately: Pac-Man's most interesting revelation was gamers' affinity to living things. And that spark of inspiration has taken the industry from a 2-D yellow disc through Mario, and on to a 3-D Lara Croft.
Strangely, that is exactly how Namco saw his achievement: as just a game. Pac-Man, quite apart from the lucrative sequels Ms Pac-Man and Pac-Land, made the company more than $100 million. Iwatani was merely promoted to supervisor level, and still lives in a house too small to accommodate a Pac-Man arcade cabinet.

There are 1 comments on "Toru Iwatami speaks":

Posted by: Sean http:// Tue Aug 23 16:55:15 2005

ACB: this isn't a real comment, but I can't figure out how to email you.

dev.null.org/reading/ comes up as a blank page, and has done so for at least two or three months. to be honest, I've sort of been meaning to tell you.

I like your site, but I'm particularly interested in your reviews.

and thanks for the Clag and Sea Haggs stuff, too.

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