Yellow sprite Pacman has died while mourning his creator, Masaya Nakamur, his widow has revealed.
Pacman had a complicated relationship with the game’s designer after the arcade machine became a massive hit in the 1970s and Mr Nakamur licensed Pacman’s image to innumerable brands, taking the lion’s share of the profits. Pacman at first enjoyed a lavish and hedonistic lifestyle, partying with the Space Invaders, but he soon complained about not being cast in other games, and felt typecast as a giant yellow mouth.
Other game characters were jealous of his success, though as his fame dimmed he took to the bottle, started not turning up for games and regularly got into fights, disappearing from public life altogether after a gorilla threw a barrel at him. Later, he reappeared, making personal appearances in arcades and festivals, though fans just wanted to see him eat. Attempting to relaunch his gaming career, he made numerous cameo appearances, most notably as a Pokéball. By the late ’80s, he felt he was never given full credit for creating the rave movement.
Though the two weren’t in frequent contact, Pacman took Nakamur’s death badly, which is thought to have contributed to his decline. However, some have called the circumstances ‘suspicious’, and four ghosts, thought to be connected, have been called in for questioning over allegations of murder.
Ms Pacman told us: ‘He was constantly eating, though he denied ever being an addict. He took too many pills – at first they made him feel invulnerable, though the effects soon wore off. I told him to pace himself, but in the end he didn’t know which way to turn. He saw death round every corner, and the way ahead was a maze. He made several suicide attempts, but always found himself back in the same situation.’
She added: ‘Though he had bouts of depression, I wouldn’t change anything about our life together, not least because he was a very passionate lover.’