The Story Of Ms.Pac-Man: Making History One Cherry At A Time

Arcade History


What fuelled Ms.Pac-Man’s immense success and how did this impact the video game industry?

Friends episode featuring Ms.Pac-Man classic arcade

The year is 1982 – peak of the golden age of video games – with games of the likes of Q-Bert, Donkey-Kong leading the industry. However, at this stage, the demographic of gamers was highly male dominated, partly fuelled by a lack of female protagonists in popular games of the time. Namco’s Ms.Pac-Man changed this, with a game that not only allowed the company to sell over 3,5 million units of a game, but more importantly redefine the video game industry. Take a look into the history of this game-breaking release and Maison Roshi’s experience with this arcade classic.

History of Ms.Pac-Man

The very first female protagonist to be introduced in an arcade game was the female version of one of the most iconic characters in the industry, Pac-Man. Fittingly, she was called Ms.Pac-Man. The original Pac-Man was released in 1980 by Namco, and revolutionised the game industry due to it’s introduction of the four way joystick. The game was a hit, and is regarded as one of the best known names in the retro video game world. Following the immense success of Pac-Man, various developers raced to create sequel games to continue the franchise, and in 1982, Ms. Pac-Man was released by Midway. This game introduced an alternative character to Pac-Man – one that would appeal to a different, and larger, demographic.

Ms.Pac-Man game on luxury arcade screen

Gameplay and characters

In terms of gameplay, Ms.Pac-Man varied only slightly in premise – you are still desperately going around a map with 3 lives and trying to eat all the cherries before the evil ghosts get you – but a few crucial enhancements were introduced. Firstly, Ms.Pac-Man had harder gameplay due to speed, randomisation of movements and added levels, allowing users who had already played Pac-Man to be re-challenged, and find the game equally – if not more – engaging. In addition, the protagonist, Ms.Pac-Man herself, added a new layer of diversity to the game, with her appealing red bow and lipstick combo, that appealed to a larder audience in comparison to the plain old Pac-Man. Finally, an important addition to Ms.Pac-Man that fuelled its success was the introduction of a romantic storyline, which added depth to the game, forming an emotional appeal.


Our experience with Ms.Pac-Man

In confirmation of it’s historical success, we at Maison Roshi have found Ms.Pac-Man to be one of the most popular arcade games requested by our clients to play – more so than the original Pac-Man if we dare say so! It’s appeal to a large demographic, combined with improved gameplay and storyline make it a top hit amongst all retro game lovers. Ms.Pac-Man is included in the games list of each our luxury arcade cabinets, and is also available on each arcade used for event rentals, amongst 5000 other classic games.

Discover more about our arcade cabinet games and event rentals here.

Luxury arcade cabinet event at The Hoxton hotel

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