ChiDM Presents: Evolution of Pac-Man with Tim Lapetino
Tuesday December 5th 2017, 6:00 pm7:00 pm

The Evolution of Pac-Man: Powerful Character Design In Video Games

For nearly 40 years, Pac-Man has excited audiences by revolutionizing arcade games in 1980, then spawning a cultural and merchandising empire. The simple, dot-munching character began with a handful of pixels, but has grown and evolved with the ties. As a character, Pac-Man utilizes simplicity in design to transcend media, evolving game technologies, artist interpretations and re-mixing–to remain undiluted as an object of design. The reductive simplicity of early arcade video game design was a product of technological limitations, but it also had the benefit of designed minimalism that provided storytelling fodder and the opportunity for creative development of the industry’s first character.

Throughout media, visual style changes and changing cultural needs, Pac-Man has evolved, grown, transmuted, stretched and remixed into other properties while still retaining his elemental “Pac-Ness.” This talk will also cover:

  • History of the game itself and its extraordinary success
  • Why Pac-Man was different and appealed to both men and women, young and old
  • Game development of the original by creator Toru Iwatani
  • How Pac-Man became the first video game character who ushered in personality-driven marketing of “mascots”
  • The character’s malleability to meet the needs of different platforms and game technologies (3-D, more elaborate character design, polygon rendering, cel-shaded, animated, etc)
  • Visual Evolution of the character – cartoons, sequels, marketing, spinoffs
  • How great character design can transcend its original source material