Paku-Paku Pacman

I’m sure everybody but me knew this but until just a few minutes ago I didn’t know the origin of the name Pac-Man. My friend Jun just got this Namco TV Games thingy and brought it over to show me and as she was playing it occured to me that paku-paku is the sound of munching something in Japanese. Specifically it’s the sound of taking a quick bite out of something and so Pac-Man would be a logical name in Japanese for a character that goes around gobbling up or paku-paku ing around eating stuff.

In the same way, the Japanese snack, Pocky, has a similar origin. Note that Pocky is pronouced Poe Key where Poe rhymes with Edgar Allen Poe or Bow as in Bow and Arrow and Key is like the thing you lock a door with. It is NOT pock-ee like chicken pox.

Anyway, poki in Japanese is the sound of snapping a small stick (ポキっとする), hence, naming a snack that is a small stick that you break, Pocky would be an obvious name.

I’m sure there are others I haven’t noticed yet. I’ll have to keep my eyes open next time I’m in the combini. 🙂

  • Birder
    origin of Pacman

    The working title of the game was Paku-Paku but the game was released as Puckman.  Before it came to North America it was changed to Pacman supposedly because they were worried kids would deface the P into an F.


  • django

    In South Korea there is a knock-off POKY called ‘PEPERO.’ (Pay-pay-ro) and like most thing they inherited or ripped off (in this case) from the Japanese, there is heavy denial about it’s origins. I don’t think “Pepero” is the Korean sound for a stick breaking. Every November 11th (11/11) it’s custom for kids here to pass out Pepero to the people they like, since they look like the #1.


    Hey, has the remake of DAWN Of THE DEAD opened in Japan yet? (it sucks, but I am curious since Japan has an ardant DAWN fan cult).





  • Paku-Paku Man

    Pac-Man etymology And by the way: don’t buy the hype about video-games putting a bad influence on the youth of today. It is completely unfounded. I mean, come on: if Pacman really had affected us as kids, we’d all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to…

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  • RabbiRabbi
    About the Namco tv game…

    You need to review that Namco tv games toy. I was thinking of buying one (Walmart sells them for only $18!) but someone told me they are not perfect emulationsof the originals, but instead, are cheap re-programmed versions (and not done all that well either).

    Let us know!

  • Namco TV thing

    they are not the originals.  They look like the Sega Genesis versions.  Pac-Man is pretty good.  I don’t know if it’s perfect though.  Here in Japan I’ve been told that one of the issues with ports of old classics is there are otaku that know them perfectly so for example while it make only take a few days to program Pac-Man from scratch for a cell phone the otaku will complain if the patterns of the ghosts aren’t the same as the original coin-op etc and that that is what makes them take more work than you’d expect.  Anyway,…

    Galaxian some of the sounds were off but it was second closest.

    Dig Dug didn’t dig the background by pixels but instead by tiles so it was not as smooth.  3rd best.

    Rally X plays pretty much like the original, maybe that should be a tie for #3.  For some reason it doesn’t look the same to me but I don’t have the original in front of me to check.

    Bosconian is not really even close, at least to my eyes. 

    But hey, it’s $18.  Pretty cheap and pretty amazing they can make them that cheap, controller, display circuitry and all.  I guess there is an Atari one and an Activision one as well.

    As you can see this is also why the people claiming they should be able to pirate old roms because they are not worth anything anymore are full of it.

  • Inochi

    Ive also read somewhere that the idea for pac-man was inspired by Pizza.