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PAC-MAN
Universe - PAC-MAN
PAC-MAN symbol
Most of the franchise logo.
Developer(s) BANDAI NAMCO Games
Publisher(s) BANDAI NAMCO Games
Distributor(s) BANDAI NAMCO Games
Creator(s) Tōru Iwatani
Genre(s) Platform, maze, puzzle
Platform(s) Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 800, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, Commodore 64, Intellivision, Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, Game Boy, Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Game Boy Color, Mobile, iPod, , Windows Phone, Genesis, Super Nintendo Entertainment System, CD-i, PlayStation, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo 64, Dreamcast, PC, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox, Nintendo DS, PlayStation Portable, Nintendo 3DS, Wii, PlayStation 3, Wii U, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Platform of origin Arcade
Year of inception 1980
First installment PAC-MAN (1980)
Latest installment PAC-MAN Hats 2 (2017)

The PAC-MAN (パックマン) universe refers to the Super Smash Flash series collection of characters, stages and other properties that hail from BANDAI NAMCO's flagship mascot series. One of the most iconic video game franchises in the video game industry, which includes the most successful coin-operated arcade video game of all time, its conception in 1980 makes it predate other iconic video game franchises like Mario and Donkey Kong. All this makes the PAC-MAN franchise among those represented in Super Smash Flash 2, including its eponymous main star as a playable character. Its series symbol is the highly recognizable PAC-MAN "wedge" form as seen throughout his numerous games.

Franchise description

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 on screen 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 the Super Smash Flash series

In Super Smash Flash 2

The PAC-MAN franchise's inclusion in Super Smash Flash 2 is unique among the roster due in part that PAC-MAN was originally introduced in the game as an Assist Trophy, but would later become a playable character.

Character

SSF2 PAC-MAN icon
  • PAC-MAN: A PAC-PERSON who goes on many adventures to stop the evil ghosts from taking over PAC-LAND. As stated above, PAC-MAN was originally introduced as an Assist Trophy, that when summoned could be controlled by the person who summoned him directional keys. However, leaked files for SSF2 Beta had shown that he was going to be playable, before being officially confirmed on the May 29th, 2016 Dev Blog. His appearance, along with his moveset, is based on his appearance in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U.

Stage

SSF2 PAC-MAZE
  • PAC-MAZE: A stage based on the famous maze grid from the PAC-MAN arcade game. The stage is based on the stage of the same name that appears in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS, but unlike the latter, it comes with a new gimmick: all the blast lines are connected with each other so characters pass through them only to respawn in the opposite side, by launching opponents with enough force or making them to flinch, one can truly KO in this stage.
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