Namco's Pac-Man is a video game that needs no introduction. Toru Iwatani's 1980 coin-op smash-hit has spawned sequels, TV shows, songs, merchandise and much more besides, and the character is so famous he's even included in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate roster. Plenty has been written about the pill-shaped hero over the past 40 years, but Pac-Man: Birth of an Icon aims to be the definitive account of his creation, success and legacy.
Published by Cook and Becker and written by Arjan Terpstra and Tim Lapetino, this impressive tome charts the early history not just of Pac-Man, but of Namco itself. Peppered with insightful interviews, it looks at the history of the Japanese coin-op industry, and how Japanese games dominated the arcade scene in the west. Even the interesting story of how the unofficial-then-official sequel Ms. Pac-Man came to be is covered here.
It's not only packed with official artwork and concept designs but also features contemporary photos that show the immense cultural impact Pac-Man had on the world – such as snaps taken in arcades all over the globe and even candid images of '80s kids blowing out candles on a Pac-Man birthday cake. Indeed, 'Pac-Man merch' occupies a large section of the book, and ample space is also devoted to the astonishing commercial success of the many home ports which were published in the wake of the arcade original's release.
Many books claim to be 'exhaustive' but Pac-Man: Birth Of An Icon really does leave no stone unturned when it comes to fully presenting the story of this remarkable video game mascot – there's even a section at the back which lists all of the games Pac-Man has starred it, which is a greater undertaking than you might assume. The special colletor's edition shown here even comes with a reproduction 7" vinyl copy of the 1982 single 'Pac-Man Fever' by Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia, as well as a limited edition Pac-Man arcade coin – the catch being that it's limited to just 2000 copies costs $100.
If you still fancy it, you can pick up a copy of this truly unique book by visiting the Cook and Becker site. Orders will ship next month.