Eighties Arcade Icon Claims Top Video Game Spot in Survey

A recent survey identified America’s most popular online video game more than 40 years after its creation.

He’s been eating for all these years and he still hasn’t put on any weight. It was on May 22, 1980 that the video game was released in Japan.

The story goes that game creator Toru Iwatani wanted to develop a game that would appeal to women as well men — unlike Space Invaders, Asteroids and other more violent electronic fare of the period.

Who could have predicted that the yellow pie-shaped character, who zips around a maze gobbling dots and ducking ghosts, would become a legend in the gaming world — and beyond? 

Originally christened “Puck-Man”, a reference to “puck-puck,” the sound for munching in Japan, the character got a new handle when he came to the States to avoid an F-bomb reboot.


This Game Was an Immediate Success 

Pac-Man went on to be a roaring success, inspiring sequels, merchandise, two television shows as well as a 1981 song,”Pac-Man Fever,” that hit No. 9 on the Billboard charts. There was also an album that sold 1.2 million copies by the end of 1982.

Pac-Man is one of the highest-grossing and best-selling games, generating more than $14 billion in revenue as of 2016 and 43 million units in sales combined.

And the yellow pie-shaped creature is still chomping away, long after the days of leg warmers, Swatches and Care Bears.

Most Popular Online Game

A recent study conducted by online gaming platform Yahtzee Craze found that Pac-Man is America’s most popular online game.

The survey analyzed Google U.S. and worldwide data for the 14 most popular searches online associated to the word “play” and ranked them according to the average monthly searches on Google in the U.S. and worldwide.

Pac-Man racked up an average of 768,000 U.S. Google searches. Snake, which dates back to 1976, came in second, with an average of 669,000 searches per month.

Solitaire was holding down the number three spot in the U.S. with 499,000 searches per month.

Rounding out the top five was Tic Tac Toe, which dates back to ancient Egypt, and Minesweeper, a slightly newer game that was released in 1989.

So, are we sensing a theme here?

“People who are Googling video games are likely older folks who played those games when they were growing up,” said Mark Deppe, director of UCI Esports at the University of California, Irvine. “Most of my college students are getting information through Discord communities, on Twitter, Tik Tok, Instagram, and Reddit.”

Retro Resurgence

Deppe noted that there has been a resurgence of some retro games recently. 

“Chess is a great example as it’s blown up on Twitch and there are now large college esports tournaments for it,” he said. “In June we hosted an old-school Tetris tournament at UCI.”

An older video game was also at the top of another survey.  Gaming experts at Minesweeper said that Take-Two Interactive’s  (TTWO) – Get Take-Two Interactive Software Inc. Report Grand Theft Auto V, which was developed nine years ago, is the most searched for video game across 15 different states, including New York.

The majority of searches for the game were in the South and Midwest.

The Minesweeper team analyzed Google trends search data for the top 25 most popular video games, according to the site HowLongtoBeat for 2022 year to-date. 

Released in 2013, Grand Theft Auto V is the seventh main entry of the Grand Theft Auto series and the 15th installment overall.

As of June, the game had shipped over 169 million copies worldwide across all platforms and more copies were sold in 2020 than any other year since its launch.

God of War, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge, and Horizon Zero Dawn are the second most searched for games in the U.S., coming out on top in Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, and New Jersey.

Minesweeper noted that Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shredder’s Revenge and Elden Ring, the most popular video game in Colorado and Oregon, were all released this year. 

“Grand Theft Auto V however, has almost been played for the last ten years by gamers,” the company said in a statement. “It is clear that the game’s immersive storyline, funny characters and gameplay still resonates with a large number of American gamers. It will be interesting to see how these results shift throughout the year and into 2023.”

Deppe said he was not surprised to learn that gamers are still crazy about Grand Theft Auto V after all these years.

“While games come and go in popularity, people often return to the games that they love,” he said.

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