Retro Videogame Mystery Minis - Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

The original Pac-Man came out in the midst of a fad for space shooters, because if there's one thing you can count on the game industry for, it's that it's constantly playing a gigantic game of "follow the leader." Anyway, Iwatani designed his game to appeal to girls as well as boys, and it definitely did - so when it came time for a sequel, that egalitarian spirit carried over. Originally a knockoff game called Crazy Otto, the program was sold to Midway and Namco and made official. It was originally going to be called Pac-Woman, then, three days before the game went into production, it was renamed Miss Pac-Man, then Mrs. Pac-Man and finally Ms. Pac-Man.

Ms. Pac-Man's model is mostly the same as her husband(?)'s, a yellow circle with a mouth, but she does have some distinctive features to make her more recognizable: working on both graph paper and a Lite Brite, the designers (with input from Namco's president) added lipstick, a bow, eyes, and even a beauty mark. Early versions had a full head of hair, but that was reduced. The Mystery Mini version is more involved than the game sprite, giving her arms and legs, and a little tuft of hair on top.

Her pose is straightforward. She's standing with one hand raised in greeting, and the other held out at her side. Her feet are separate, unlike Pac's, and she's wearing blue high heels. Those, coupled with the pink bow, seem to take inspiration from the cabinet more than the game or any modern official art. The nose is short, and all the other facial features are simply paint. She has blue eyeshadow, and the famous "Pac-Man eyes" - I remember hating those so much as a kid that I took a black marker to a coloring book to fill them in, not realizing it would bleed through the pages and ruin the image on the other side. Bad design made me ruin my possessions! Or maybe I was just a dumb, picky kid.

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3 Responses to Retro Videogame Mystery Minis - Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man

  1. Jackie (a Pac-Man fanatic) says:

    I just wanted to say that you got some false information in this. That is NOT the original arcade art for PuckMan. That is actually art for a bootleg version of PuckMan, so it is unofficial. The OFFICIAL PuckMan artwork uses the design seen in this Mystery Mini. (With some small differences, like a longer nose and smaller feet.) This design was used in all official Japanese artwork and merchandise for Pac-Man throughout the 80s, and also appeared in-game for official games. Starting with Pac-Land, and continued to be used in Hello! Pac-Man, Pac-in-Time, and most famously the Pac-Man World trilogy. This design also recently appeared in Super Smash Bros. So, this design for Pac-Man existed and has been used long before his 25th anniversary logo, as well as being around since the first game. (and before his name was finalized) So yeah, that creepy pink-lipped green-footed PuckMan is just an unofficial bootleg. Here is the official art.

  2. Jackie (a Pac-Man fanatic) says:

    No problem! I’m always happy to share information on Pac-Man. I’ll also share something interesting about the enemies. While they were originally called monsters, the ghost name originated from the Atari 2600 version as a way to cover up the sprite flickering. The ghost thing was eventually adopted by Namco, starting with Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures. However, for a while they sorta went back and fourth between calling them ghosts or monsters, until they eventually just decided to stick with callimg them ghosts in around the early 2000s. This is especially apparent in the reboot series Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, where it is explicitly explained that the ghosts are actual spirits of dead pac-people. Also, the reason Pinky is listed as “Ms. Pac-Man Ghost” and has a different art style is because it’s based on the ghost seen on the Ms. Pac-Man arcade artwork from Midway, same for Ms. Pac-Man herself. (although her design is sort of a combination of her Midway design and her official Namco design) Blinky just looks like he does in most games, hence why he’s just listed with his name.

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