Pac-Man Was Made for Women

Pac-Man Was Made for Women

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As Pac-Man's 30th birthday draws near, creator Toru Iwatani tells how the character was designed to appeal to women.

If you think that getting more women interested in games is a modern problem, think again, as even the earliest developers puzzled over how to do it. As the 30th anniversary of the release of Pac-Man draws near, its creator Toru Iwatani relates how making the game appeal to women was very important to him.

"The hardware spec at the time, compared to the present time, was very limited, so we could only have artwork in a very simplistic style. It was very difficult to create a sense of empathy for the player in this limited way, but we wanted as many people as possible to enjoy the game. By creating a character saga and kawaii characters we thought we could appeal to women as well."

"This was before the Famicom home consoles so the only place to play videogames was at arcades. Most arcade videogames of the time were violent and focused on the male player, so the game-centers became places frequented mainly by men. We decided to change that demographic by designing games that can appeal to women and thus to couples, therefore making game-centers desirable places to go on a date."

Iwatani goes on to say that his love of old Disney movies also influenced his decision to make a non-violent videogames, saying that he "[couldn't] imagine thinking like that, to express anything in a violent manner."

Source: Eurogamer

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Well, they were obviously wrong, although it's good to know their heart was in the right place. I'm old enough to remember when PacMan came out and I didn't see lots of women jumping on board at that time. Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad at due to the common differences in cerebral cortex function between the sexes. The first all-inclusive female friendly games came much later.

Either way, they made a great game.

Thats really interesting :D

Does that mean Mrs Pac Man was made for men? Rule 34 anyone?!

But then for whom was Ms. Pac-man made?

BonsaiK:
Well, they were obviously wrong, although it's good to know their heart was in the right place. I'm old enough to remember when PacMan came out and I didn't see lots of women jumping on board at that time. Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad at due to the common differences in cerebral cortex function between the sexes. The first all-inclusive female friendly games came much later.

LOL!!!
Sexist much? Sure if you take a world average men are a bit better at spacial navigation and women are a bit better at literature, but "Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad" is ridiculous. The difference is navigating through space, say from the inside of a maze, not reading maps.

I want to make some kind of an overeating joke... But my heart just isn't into it right now.

Someone else should do it.

I'll even provide a few ideas... Running away from "monsters" by eating stuff non-stop. Sounds exactly like compulsive overeating of some sort O_o

Okay, now I'm confused. All nighters don't work well.

Disney movies not violent? What was he smoking when he said that?

I remember reading the pac-man post mortem in game developer mag some time ago.. it's a good read; the development time was surprisingly long, all of the ghosts have different AI, and - yes - the designing to women aspect was also covered.

Pokenator:

BonsaiK:
Well, they were obviously wrong, although it's good to know their heart was in the right place. I'm old enough to remember when PacMan came out and I didn't see lots of women jumping on board at that time. Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad at due to the common differences in cerebral cortex function between the sexes. The first all-inclusive female friendly games came much later.

LOL!!!
Sexist much? Sure if you take a world average men are a bit better at spacial navigation and women are a bit better at literature, but "Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad" is ridiculous. The difference is navigating through space, say from the inside of a maze, not reading maps.

Sexist? Maybe, I don't know, I think it's nature that's sexist, or maybe the sexism in the society that then shapes nature. Men's and women's brains do work differently on this level, this much has been proven. Whether this is due to genetic/hereditary factors or social conditioning is a question that's not been fully answered yet by science, but the fact is - women overall aren't so crash hot at reading maps and they're also not that great at Pac-Man. Are there exceptions? Hell yes, you bet there are. But taken as a broad consensus you'll find that most of the better Pac-Man players are male, as are most people who read maps for a living. Both activities require the ability of the brain to process certain types of spatial information, so it's not unreasonable to assume that some sort of correlation might exist. I'm not saying that women are less intelligent or anything like that, just that the brains of the sexes think differently.

Further reading: http://www.despardes.com/lifestyle/jan05/map-reading-0128.htm

Spaceman_Spiff:
Does that mean Mrs Pac Man was made for men? Rule 34 anyone?!

The rules of internet are older than internet itself.

This is news? I've known this for years.

Well, it makes since to me. My mom's favorite game is PacMan, and Ms. Pacman of course.
She also likes Centipede, Asteroids, and Galaga.

Outside of the classics, Mom likes Mahjong, Bejeweled, Oregon Trail, Wii Sports Resort, and Game Party 3 (Wii).

I have Pac Man scrawled into my foot.
I didn't know it was made for women, but it's all right, maybe women will take interest in my feet now a character that was created for them is etched there.
Doubt it.

Hehe, well, I dont know if it was ever perceivedi n that way, but it was an epic, awesome game! Still is!

"Toru Iwatani tells how the character was designed to appeal to women."

I only see two points being made here about how to appeal to women:
* Include a story
* Make cute characters (Kawaii translates into cute)

That's it. Not especially mindblowing, but at least they thought about women as a demographic.

All I have to say: Lolololololololololol. It's epic that even in that time they weren't going for the money-breathing male demographic but the female as well. Genius.

HK_01:
Disney movies not violent? What was he smoking when he said that?

What was he smoking when he said Pac-Man wasn't violent? The ghosts are all trying to kill Pac-Man, and once Pac-Man eats one of those large dots he goes on a spree of eating the ghosts whole.

There is a documentary Called "The Rise of Video games" or something on a few years ago, in which Iwatani said this during an interview. He wanted to target the game at females, claimed that females love eating loads,(His words, not mine) and that's how Pac Man was created, by taking a slice out of a pizza.

BonsaiK:
The first all-inclusive female friendly games came much later.

I will be honest I've been gaming since I was a child and I've never a met a game designed 'for men' specifically or the other way around for that matter, it's all a matter of taste, really.

Is it strong enough for a man, though?

Spaceman_Spiff:
Does that mean Mrs Pac Man was made for men? Rule 34 anyone?!

I think rule 63 is if it exists there is a female version of it.

Hmm, a sexism joke would be too easy, and probably be in bad taste...
But its an interesting thought, imagine if it had been successful and appealed to females
And females became the majority of gamers, and males were outnumbered...
Crazy crazy world

HK_01:
Disney movies not violent? What was he smoking when he said that?

^

Plus how is Pac man not violent? Don't you either eat the ghosts or get killed?

Should have been called Pacwoman then.

grumble grumble

Marmooset:
Is it strong enough for a man, though?

Just this guy
image

Nigh Invulnerable:

Marmooset:
Is it strong enough for a man, though?

Just this guy
image

Ooh! Third best villain ever!
Who says they can't make a good movie based on a video game?

There was usually one girl for every two guys in video arcades, sometimes more sometimes less, and it wasn't a terrible place to meet people and socialize. A lot better than the couch in your living room. If you were good, you could strike up conversations that way. I seem to remember a lot of women liking Frogger, Tron, and Tempest.

Gaming was good then.

BonsaiK:

Pokenator:

BonsaiK:
Well, they were obviously wrong, although it's good to know their heart was in the right place. I'm old enough to remember when PacMan came out and I didn't see lots of women jumping on board at that time. Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad at due to the common differences in cerebral cortex function between the sexes. The first all-inclusive female friendly games came much later.

LOL!!!
Sexist much? Sure if you take a world average men are a bit better at spacial navigation and women are a bit better at literature, but "Navigating a Pac-Man maze isn't too different to navigating a street directory, something many (but not all) women are notoriously bad" is ridiculous. The difference is navigating through space, say from the inside of a maze, not reading maps.

Sexist? Maybe, I don't know, I think it's nature that's sexist, or maybe the sexism in the society that then shapes nature. Men's and women's brains do work differently on this level, this much has been proven. Whether this is due to genetic/hereditary factors or social conditioning is a question that's not been fully answered yet by science, but the fact is - women overall aren't so crash hot at reading maps and they're also not that great at Pac-Man. Are there exceptions? Hell yes, you bet there are. But taken as a broad consensus you'll find that most of the better Pac-Man players are male, as are most people who read maps for a living. Both activities require the ability of the brain to process certain types of spatial information, so it's not unreasonable to assume that some sort of correlation might exist. I'm not saying that women are less intelligent or anything like that, just that the brains of the sexes think differently.

Further reading: http://www.despardes.com/lifestyle/jan05/map-reading-0128.htm

I'm not denying any difference in the hardwiring of the brains of the sexes in this scenario, all I'm saying is the difference isn't as large as you make it out to be with your language. Less pro female pacman players has nothing to do with sex differences, it has to do with sample size, the same reason why small countries often have less top Olympians, not because that country is bad at sport, but because they have a much smaller pool to choose from, I can guarantee there would be many many many times more hardcore pacman playing males than females, not because of inherent gaming (pacman gaming lol) abilities, but just because women as a whole never actually got into it. Not to say they didn't at all, my friend's mother for example had all the high scores at her local arcade when she was at college. Though she would have been an exception for the time.

"some sort of correlation might exist"

101 Statistics, correlation does not imply causation.

Billion Backs:
I want to make some kind of an overeating joke... But my heart just isn't into it right now.

Someone else should do it.

I'll even provide a few ideas... Running away from "monsters" by eating stuff non-stop. Sounds exactly like compulsive overeating of some sort O_o

Okay, now I'm confused. All nighters don't work well.

You could just play into ED's definition of a troll and accuse the creator of being a sexist, chauvinist, pig saying that women run away from their problems while eating.

Note, I do not advocate this actual stance, but damned if I didn't think of it when the page was loading.

 

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