Pac-Man (35), as you know it, might have been vastly different had Namco president and co-founder Masaya Makamura had his way.

Makamura was convinced that all of the ghosts in Pac-Man should be a uniform color: red. Meanwhile, Toru Iwatani, a Namco developer who was 26 at the time thought they should be multi-colored instead.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Iwatani recounts his argument with Makamura.


Mr. Nakamura was very scary. All the developers on the team, and all the people our age, knew that each ghost had to have a different colour . . . the ghosts needed to be cute like cartoons. But Mr. Nakamura wanted them all red. I was 26 years old, and it was terrifying to confront the boss. But I decided to hit him with data. I conduc­ted an internal survey among my colleagues and, with my hands shaking, presented Mr. Nakamura with the results. It was 40-0 in fav­our of coloured ghosts, and he agreed.

Seems like all you need to win an argument is a cool head, and to be backed by extraordinary amount of data. Needless to say, Iwatani won the dispute. And as for Nakamura? Well, there's one red-colored ghost in the game: "Blinky."

Cover: Flickr.