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1986 interview with Pac-Man character designer Toru Iwatani discovered, according to interview, Pac-Man is "a human being"

KSweeley

Community Resettler
Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,056
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
Someone on Twitter found a 1986 interview with Pac-Man character designer Toru Iwatani where it was stated that Pac-Man is "a human being":



IWATANI: Well, there’s not much entertainment in a game of eating, so we decided to create enemies to inject a little excitement and tension. The player had to fight the enemies to get the food. And each of the enemies has its own character. The enemies are four little ghost-shaped monsters, each of them a different color–blue, yellow, pink, and red. I used four different colors mostly to please the women who play–I thought they would like the pretty colors.

To give the game some tension, I wanted the monsters to surround Pac Man at some stage of the gang. But I felt it would be too stressful for a human being like Pac Man to be continually surrounded and hunted down. So I created the monsters’ invasions to come in waves. They’d attack and then they’d retreat. As time went by they would regroup, attack, and disperse again. It seemed more natural than having constant attack.

Then there was the design of the spirit (kokoro), or the energy forces of Pac Man. If you’ve played the game, you know that Pac Man had some ammunition of his own. If he eats an energizer at one of the four corners of the screen, he can retaliate by eating the enemy. This gives Pac Man the opportunity to be the hunter as well as the hunted.

INTERVIEWER: What was the most difficult part of designing the game?

IWATANI: The algorithm for the four ghosts who are the enemies of the Pac Man–getting all the movements lined up correctly. It was tricky because the monster movements are quite complex. This is the heart of the game. I wanted each ghostly enemy to have a specific character and its own particular movements, so they weren’t all just chasing after Pac Man in single file, which would have been tiresome and flat. One of them, the red one called Blinky, did chase directly after Pac Man. The second ghost is positioned at a point a few dots in front of Pac Man’s mouth. That is his position. If Pac Man is in the center then Monster A and Monster B are equidistant from him, but each moves independently, almost “sandwiching” him. The other ghosts move more at random. That way they get closer to Pac Man in a natural way.

When a human being is constantly under attack like this, he becomes discouraged. So we developed the wave-patterned attack–attack then disperse; as time goes by the ghosts regroup and attack again. Gradually the peaks and valleys in the curve of the wave become less pronounced so that the ghosts attack more frequently.
 

Thorakai

Member
Oct 27, 2017
439
This is like when Miyamoto called Zelda an RPG and the creator of .gifs said they are pronounced .jiffs. We all know when to ignore the ramblings of creators 😄
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,650
I guess "man" here is used in like the Proto-Germanic sense, as opposed to like, Pac-Werman.
 
Oct 25, 2017
4,861
Arizona
That someone on Twitter definitely watches GMTK.

I wouldn’t read very far into that quote, but this is a game forum and THE LORE IMPLICATIONS nonsense is popular so
 

Krejlooc

Indie Game Dev
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
19,391
Gonna need to read the original japanese translation here, because when referring to "things" in japanese, you use sometimes generic identifying markers which can make for weird instances like this.
 

Lant_War

The Fallen
Jul 14, 2018
10,903
This is like when Miyamoto called Zelda an RPG and the creator of .gifs said they are pronounced .jiffs. We all know when to ignore the ramblings of creators 😄
I never understood why people have such a gripe with accepting that Zelda is an RPG. You got the combat, the exploration, the items, the story... how is it not an RPG?
 

L Thammy

Spacenoid
Member
Oct 25, 2017
16,650
I never understood why people have such a gripe with accepting that Zelda is an RPG. You got the combat, the exploration, the items, the story... how is it not an RPG?
In the course of my career as a videogame specialist (my own coinage, spend it wisely), I have never seen such blatant and frankly, sickening ignorance as that exhibited by the "people" (if, in fact, they are homo sapiens at all, as their intelligence implies elsewise) that claim that Zelda is not an RPG. There is nothing that Shigeru "Shiggy" Miyamoto could possibly do to make the videogame any more of an RPG as it meets every single criterion for being one, particularly that it takes place in an imaginary realm with a fantastical bestiary, and that the core emphasis of the gameplay is on bedazzling all foes with impeccable swords and sorcery. Furthermore, this line of thought can be extended to all videogames which the player controls a character(hence, role-playing), though I cringe slightly at the thought of such mundane videogames as Madden being RPGs, as they do not even include exotic weaponry such as the tonfa.
 

RagnarokX

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,818
Ningen translates to "human being," but as Dragon Ball taught us, the word can be used very liberally.
 

HooAmEye

Member
May 17, 2019
748
In the course of my career as a videogame specialist (my own coinage, spend it wisely), I have never seen such blatant and frankly, sickening ignorance as that exhibited by the "people" (if, in fact, they are homo sapiens at all, as their intelligence implies elsewise) that claim that Zelda is not an RPG. There is nothing that Shigeru "Shiggy" Miyamoto could possibly do to make the videogame any more of an RPG as it meets every single criterion for being one, particularly that it takes place in an imaginary realm with a fantastical bestiary, and that the core emphasis of the gameplay is on bedazzling all foes with impeccable swords and sorcery. Furthermore, this line of thought can be extended to all videogames which the player controls a character(hence, role-playing), though I cringe slightly at the thought of such mundane videogames as Madden being RPGs, as they do not even include exotic weaponry such as the tonfa.
Hello, old friend. I've missed you.
 

Tempy

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,302
An abstract representation of a human being due to hardware limitations, art budget, and gameplay considerations.

Like the cube in Atari's Adventure and the @ in NetHack.
 

inguef

The Fallen
Oct 28, 2017
12,895
He is probably talking about the human controlling Pac-Man.

Where is this genius now? Edit: Oh, RIP.
 

Jegriva

Member
Sep 23, 2019
1,272
I never understood why people have such a gripe with accepting that Zelda is an RPG. You got the combat, the exploration, the items, the story... how is it not an RPG?
Because every Link is identical to other people's Link. Decision-making is not such a big part of the Zelda games.

particularly that it takes place in an imaginary realm with a fantastical bestiary, and that the core emphasis of the gameplay is on bedazzling all foes with impeccable swords and sorcery.
Fantasy doesn't equal RPG. Many tabletop RPGs are set in our world.

RPG isn't just a setting.
 
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Version 3.0

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,528
Y'all know the ghosts are humans, too, dressed up in sheets... right?

Source: PacMan cutscenes (start at 9 seconds)


That's something in a sheet, I suppose, but it's quite a stretch to call a pink blob with huge eyes "human". It looks like a naked...whatever the ghosts are. Square thing with eyes.

Anyway, a lot of early games were abstract as hell. If Pac-man was supposed to be a human, so be it.
 

MadMod

Member
Dec 4, 2017
907
I'd say this is pretty relevant, was released yesterday. :P

Theres a bit in this video that discusses cutscenes and you can see the costume come off the ghost.

 

AllEchse

Member
Oct 29, 2017
829
Yeah I don't trust this until someones knowledgable about japanesecould tell us aboout what he originally said in japanese.