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She's 19 and Rich...Ms Pac-Man is Back

Techstination feature for Friday, October 13, 2000

She just turned 19 and she's rich. We're talking, of course, about Ms. Pac-Man. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. Namco has built a billion dollar business around the success of the Pac-Man franchise... .

"Pac-Man of course was the original video arcade game character. Before Mario, before Sonic the Hedgehog, before any of these, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man were first."

Namco's Mike Fischer. And if you think it was just an 80s phenomenon, think again. The original versions of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man have each sold over a million and a half units for the Sony PlayStation over the last five years. Namco is out with a new version... Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness...

"I think the original Ms. Pac-Man arcade game had about four different mazes in it, the new Ms. Pac-Man Maze Madness has a hundred and eighty mazes. They're all in 3-D and they're packed with different sorts of tricks and traps and puzzles. What hasn't changed about the game is the simplicity. The conventional PlayStation controller, the standard controller, now has fourteen buttons. For Ms. Pac-Man, you play everything with one, single, controller."

It's gotten to the point where parents can reminisce with their children about the good old days when Pac-Man was chomping on dots on the machine in the local pizza parlor. In fact... Namco says it's true..the original developer..Tohru Iwatani, got the idea for the game looking at a pizza pie... with one slice missing. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg News.