Ms. Pac-Man is replaced by “Pac-Mom”

Ms. Pac-Man is replaced by “Pac-Mom”

Bandai Namco decides to drop Ms. Pac-Man to avoid copyright concerns.

The famous yellow ball from Namco finds itself forced to separate from its companion after an endless copyright battle. Ms. Pac-Man has disappeared from the titles Pac man reissued as part of the game Arcade Archivesbut why?

An illegitimate character

Before being the official companion from the yellow ball that was all the rage on arcade machines in the 80s, Ms. Pac-Man was a fan creation: a female version of the mascot created for a mod of the original version of Pac man.

As Midway, the company that handled the production and rights to many arcade games in the United States, was looking to make a sequel to the hit game that was Pac-Man, their eyes fell on the female alter ego of the yellow ball.

Programmers at General Computer Corporation then authorized Midway to use their character against royaltieswhich began producing games featuring this brand new Ms. Pac-Manwanted as the companion of the mascot.

Photo of the original Ms. Pac Man arcade machine
© JohnnyMrNinja/WikimediaCommons/CC BY 2.0

When Midway’s deal with Bandai Namco came to an end in 1984, GCC retained the rights to their character, which meant that any heroin use resulted in Namco owing money to the creators of Ms. Pac- Man.

Big legal vagueness until 2019 where a company by the name of AtGames produces a miniature arcade cabinet of Ms. Pac-Man. Bandai Namco, which until then had a monopoly on the character on the condition of paying the royalties to GCC, filed a complaint against the manufacturer. However, it turns out that AtGames owns the royalties after buying them from GCC without Bandai Namco knowing.

What future for the character?

After this case, the result of which is still not known to the general public, Bandai Namco just seems resigned to forgetting Ms. Pac-Man and replacing it with a brand new design that belongs to them.

Thus, “Pac-Mom” enters as a replacement for Ms. Pac-Man in the Arcade Archives collection on Nintendo Switch and will also replace the former companion of the yellow ball in the future compilation. Pac-Man Museum + which is due out this year.

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