Pac-Man chomps into record books

Namco's arcade classic makes its way to the Guinness Book of Records as "most successful coin-operated game."

Namco celebrated its 50th birthday Wednesday, but the company has more to cheer than its golden anniversary.

During its party held in Japan's Yokohama prefecture, Namco was officially awarded for its entrance into the Guinness Book of Records. The company's classic arcade title, "Pac-Man," is being listed in the record book as the "most successful coin operated game" in history.

Namco sold 293,822 units of the arcade machine during the seven-year period from 1980 to 1987 when the arcade game was being manufactured. David Hawksett, science and technology editor at Guinness World Records, appeared at the party to present the official Guinness plaque to Namco founder Masaya Nakamura and "Pac-Man" creator Toru Iwatani.

"There is no question that 'Pac-Man' was a revolution in computer gaming," Hawksett said. "It not only showed what could be done with very little processing power to the world, but it also brought computer technology to the attention of many young people."

Nakamura commented that he's used to being called the "father of Pac-Man." The little yellow creature is "like a son to me," he said. "He's smart, he's courageous and he's tough enough that there's an M & A (mergers and aquisitions) term called 'Pac-Man Defense' named after him."

Nakamura began his company from a small business of building wooden-horse rides for kids in 1955, and grew it to an international operation with more than 2,500 employees during the past 50 years. After Namco's merger with Bandai, Nakamura will step down from his current position as Namco chairman and become chief adviser to Namco Bandai Holdings.

Hirohiko Niizumi reported for GameSpot.