Bespoke Arcades

Pac-Man arcade machine, an iconic video game which is consequently beloved by gamers of all ages and for this reason turned a generation of teenagers into avid gamers. Owing to it’s rarity and use, an original Pac-Man arcade machine is of course very hard to come by in good or working condition. 

On the positive side, you can play this classic arcade game on any one of our arcade machines as well as all the other sequels which were derived from this arcade classic. Hence, lets take a look at the most popular Pac-Man arcade machines over the years – Waka-Waka!

All Bespoke Arcades machines come with Pac-Man. 

So which cabinet suits you best?

 Bespoke Arcades Premium Machines

Synergy

synergy arcade machine in white and black

Ultimate tabletop arcade with full screen 2-pl side-by-side and end-to-end arcade gaming. Looks great in any living space or foyer.

From £1995

Apex

Best compact stand-up arcade with classic square 20″ screen and full 2-pl arcade action.  Fits snuggly anywhere you see fit.

From £1995

Evo

Finest larger stand-up arcade with 28″ wide screen giving the best of classic and modern gaming. The true arcade king of any room. 

From £2595

Nu-Gen

Leading modern-style arcade with 32″ widescreen used by the finest fight game franchises in the world. A true arcade wonder.

From £3795

 GT Arcade Commercial-Grade Machines

GT Coffee Table Arcade Machine

The arcade machine which fits in any living space. It’s low and fully functional with a choice of games. All made by us in the U.K

From £995

GT Cocktail Arcade Table

This is a full size cocktail- style arcade machine with timeless design and is perfect for a spare corner in your living space.

From £995

GT 3-Sided Cocktail Arcade Table

The 3-sided version of our cocktail. The most affordable solution for allowing you to play the best console games from yesteryear.  

From £1395

GT Stand-Up Arcade Machine

A fully fledged upright arcade machine which is versatile choice for any arcade enthusiast. Tailor made to your liking.

From £995

So where did the name Pac-Man originate?

The name Pac-Man was derived from the Japanese term “Paku-Paku” which means “munching”. After all, the name was “Pakku-Man” and finalised at “Puck-Man”

With the obvious connotations abound for western audiences the name was henceforth changed to “Pac-Man” and in order to further avoid embarrassment, the game hit our shores with the name modified to negate the high risk of rascals amending the “P” with catastrophic consequences! There’s no need to further dwell on this – we get the idea! ;).

Pacman Arcade Machine was released on May 22nd in Japan, with Midway obtaining the rights for the United States.
The game was loved from the off with millions of people who had never played video games having a go within the first few months.

At the time when the original Star Wars trilogy was in full flow and space-based games were in fashion, the Pac-Man arcade machine was a very different style of game. This ultimately appealed to a broader audience owing to it not being based around the usual violent themes associated with video games. Uniquely, Pac-Man had allowed video games to break out of a clique into popular culture crossing generations. 

Additionally, the simple game mechanics meant all ages could pop in a coin and try their luck munching pellets. Further than that, it was perfectly balanced so each time you play, you improved. It’s easy to play, but notably very hard to truly master.  Before you know it, you’ve gone through all your pocket money and yearn for more of those pellets!

Pac-Man arcade machine creator – Toru Iwatani

“The truth of the matter is, there were no rewards per se for the success of Pac-Man. I was just an employee. There was no change in my salary, no bonus, no official citation of any kind.”

You must have heard the story of how the character Pac-Man was born? A 27 year old Namco employee was eating a pizza and the concept of Pac-Man was born. Including the assistance of a cabinet designer, hardware engineer, programmer and audio technician- they made the game.

He is now a permanent lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University after leaving Osaka University of Arts.

Pac-Man arcade machine’s cross-generational appeal made the game an instant hit – $30 million dollars were pushed into the coin slots in the US.

It’s surprisingly hard to believe but the 24kb which made up Pac-Man scared parents, but it sprung them into action. Notably, laws were passed so Arcades couldn’t be set up near schools. In some states, those under 21 explicitly had to be accompanied by adults.

Markedly this is a testament to the popularity of arcade games in their former heyday.

Pac-Man arcade machine and popular culture

As a result of Pac-Man captivating gamers and creating new ones, generally speaking it’s popularity was a merchandiser’s dream (and quite rightly so). Hence a Pac-Man based product could be eaten, drunk out of, watched, listened to, worn and the list goes on. 

Given these points, here’s a look at some current Pac-Man based merchandise which I wouldn’t mind definitely getting myself! Pac-Man has graced over 400 different items and is still going strong.

pac-man maze safe

Maze Safe

pac-man playing cards

Playing Cards

pac-man mat

Floor Mat

pac-man Christmas jumper

Cheesy Christmas Jumper

pac-man pixellated light

Pixellated Light

pac-man arcade machine mug

Arcade Mug

Pac-Man appealed to all walks of life. By and large anyone recognises Pac-Man regardless of age and the character himself transcends social boundaries.

Pac-Man Hits Hollywood

Ms.Pacman / Friends

To summarize- Phoebe buys this machine as an awesome late wedding present for Monica and Chandler. Ross’s son is coming over and the high scores have to be beaten as they’re all rude words.

Toru Iwatani / Pixels

Chris Columbus is famed for creating films that stands the test of time for generations of youth. In essence it’s thought Pixels will be one of those films.  Pac-Man and our very own Toru Iwatani make a clever appearance attempting to thwart an alien invasion in the form of the golden age of video gaming’s favourite characters.

Pac-Man Fever

Reaching Number 9 in the Billboard Hot 100 in March 1982, this fleeting hit was a single by Buckner and Garcia. By the end of 1982 1.2 million copies flew off the shelves. As of 2008, 2.5 million copies have been sold.

On balance a further release of “Do the Donkey Kong” in May 1982 failed to capture the masses but still attained a position of 103 – just outside the top 100.

Pac-Man The Animated TV series

Riding on the heels of the heels of the insanely popular game was the Saturday morning kids’ TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera which ran for 44 episodes between 1982 and 1983. We discover Ms Pac-Man’s first name is actually Pepper. However the baby they share is simply called Pac-Baby which is an apt name i guess.

The game is seen as an inspiration for the then forthcoming Pac-Land arcade game thanks to the animated series’ blocky, colourful backgrounds which is evident in the video game.


Pac-Man

In short he is the first video game mascot of any kind and has spawned over 30 officially licensed sequels. Pac-Man is married to (predictably) Ms. Pacman and they have 2 Pac-Kids.

The Ghosts

To sum up Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde are Pac-Man’s relentless enemies. At first glance they all appear to move similarly but Toru Iwatani purposefully designed each character with different personalities to prevent the game from being too monotonous the longer you play. These character traits have been learnt and used to player’s advantage to outwit the ghosts.

Pac-Man arcade machine over the years

An overview of most of the Pac-Man cabinets produced 

 Pac-Man arcade cabinets from 1980-1982

pac-man arcade machine

Pac-Man (1980)

Original and most iconic rendition of the Pac-Man arcade cabinet. With it’s striking yellow graphics it really stood out as the game everyone wanted to play.

ms pac-man arcade machine

Ms. Pac-Man (1982)

Not made by Namco themselves. Midway published it and General Computer Corporation developed the game. On balance, the game was essentially a fallback solution after being originally made as an aftermarket kit to adapt the original Pac-Man game board. This ultimately prompted legal complications with Atari and so Midway were approached and the rest is history. Apparently the the Namco President aided in the creation of the Ms. Pac-Man character and royalties were given on each sale of an arcade cabinet.

pac-man plus arcade machine

Pac-Man Plus (1982)

Marketed as “The only legal Pac-Man conversion package” and was an add on for an existing Pac-Man arcade machine board. All in all not a huge amount of differences- different coloured maze and new items most notably a Coca Cola can and some game play tweaks. The ghosts move a tad faster so the tempo is amped up slightly, they also seem to be more advancing which also piles on the pressure.

Pac-Man arcade machines from 1982-1983

super pac-man arcade machine

Super Pac-Man (August 1982)

First radical departure for the Pac-Man series with Namco once again taking the helm in an attempt to redefine the game once more. It is therefore the first official Pac-Man sequel. Keys unlock doors once a key is gobbled. There’s a “Super”Speed” button to speed him up whilst in Power Pellet mode.

baby pac-man arcade machine

Baby Pac-Man (December 1982)

Ultimately made with a bit of cloak-and-dagger involved. Created by Bally Midway, this wasn’t involving Namco which eventually was the cause of them parting ways. This involved Pac-Man being featured on a 13 inch screen and below a traditional pinball. To summarise- a novel twist that appealed to a certain generation.

professor pac-man arcade machine

Professor Pac-Man (1983)

In essence a quiz type Pac-Man arcade machine by Bally Midway. Only 400 of these were sold in its entirety with 300 being shipped back for conversion into the great Pac-Land arcade machine. The game involved payers solving the puzzles within the allotted time. Obviously what with it being such a departure from the traditional Pac-Man games – this didn’t do very well. This was definitely further hampered by the games slow pace.

Pac-Man arcade machine from 1983-1984

pac & pal arcade machine

Pac & Pal (1983)

One of Namco’s own. The basic premise is the same as traditional Namco games aside for the involvement of cards which have to be overturned in order to unlock the foods we all know Pa-Man needs to turn the tables on those pesky ghosts. In brief, there are further new elements such as Miru- an invulnerable ghost tries to steal the revealed edibles back to her ghost house. To sum up, its not a simple case of power pellets anymore, each level has a bonus item which produces various power-ups.

jr pac-man arcade machine

Jr. Pac-Man (1983)

A bounce back to Bally Midway and the eventual termination of Namco’s relationship. This was a game which in essence sealed that split with Bally Midway once again creating a Pac-Man game without Namco’s engagement. Your Pac-Man level is now split between 2 widths of an arcade screen. Although there are no tunnels anymore to shuttle our Pac-Man to the other side of the playfield.

pac-land arcade machine

Pac-Land (1984)

Generally speaking a great game and many have fond memories of playing this in the arcades. Its a side scrolling game by Namco – a totally different genre of game from previous title featuring Pac-Man attempting to return lost fairies across his colourful land, aptly called “Fairyland”. The game is loosely based on the US cartoon made by Hanna-Barbera (of Flintstones fame) . The graphics intentionally have striking colours to be as close to the cartoon as possible. This was one of the earliest platformers and is often cited as influential in the making of later arcade gems such as Ghosts ‘n Goblins and Wonder boy.

Pac-Man arcade machine from 1987 and beyond

pac-mania arcade machine

Pac-Mania (1987)

Pac-Man is back doing what he does best but this time in an isometric 3D format. He’s still munching pellets but he now has the ability to hop over the ghosts. You can see this is a significantly technological leap for our Pac-Man and it was enough to deliver the game to a new generation in a fresh and exciting way. On balance, you cant help but think this was probably due to the games director being Pac-Man’s originator Toru Iwatani.

pac-man vr arcade machine

Pac-Man VR (1996)

Pac-Man enters the fantastic world of virtual reality at the meagre cost of $5 for 5 minutes. Like all virtual reality games of the day- the games never quite cut the mustard. Incidentally this was the only game developed by Virtuality that didn’t ultimately involve shooting stuff. Notable features included being able to communicate with other players in order to outwit the enemy ghosts.