Insert virtual coin to play Pac-Man on Google


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A little more than 30 years ago, Toru Iwatani helped himself to a slice of pizza and looked down at what was left. What he saw inspired one of the world’s most recognized video games: Pac-Man, first released in Japan on May 22, 1980, by Namco.

On Friday, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde were back, this time as guest stars on the Google home page, trolling along the search engine’s iconic logo. (For those who subscribe to iGoogle, click on the ‘Classic’ home page option on the upper right-hand corner to see the game.)


Google has twiddled with its logo hundreds of times before (about 700 times, in fact). The first time was in 1999 when Google’s founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin put a wooden stick man behind the logo as a tongue-in-cheek way of saying they’d be out of the office attending the Burning Man festival. You can read a history of Google Doodles here.

One of our favorites appeared this April Fool’s Day, when Google changed the logo to read ‘Topeka,’ in response to the Kansas city’s mock attempt to change its own name to Google, Kansas, in a bid to become a super-fast experimental Internet hub for Google.

Google’s Pac-Man homage, however, is the company’s first playable logo. In place of the usual ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button below the search field, it says ‘Insert Coin.’ (Clicking the button twice lets you play Ms. Pac-Man.) The game will be up on the Google homepage until Sunday, 8 a.m. Pacific time, after which time, it will migrate to the company’s logos page.

While players don’t have to fork over any quarters, some are playing the game on their boss’ dime -- the game seems to have become as addictive on the Web as it was as an arcade game 30 years ago.

-- Alex Pham