Tōru Iwatani

Tōru Iwatani created Pac-Man (1980), one of the most popular and innovative games of all time, after setting out to design a game that would appeal to a wide demographic.

He settled on the concept of eating, bypassing the usual sporting or apocalyptic themes. As Pac-Man navigates his way through a maze, munching on yellow dots and pieces of fruit, he is pursued by four candy-coloured ghosts: the cuteness of the characters is matched by the ingenuity of the design, which provides addictive gameplay without the sense of imminent annihilation.

Pac-Man is credited with being the first game to feature power-ups, cutscenes and even the concept of stealth play. While the Guinness Book of Records confirmed Pac-Man as ‘the most successful coin-operated game’, Iwatani did not profit from it personally but was promoted within Namco. In 2007 he became a professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University.

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