The Secret of Pac-Man’s Success: Making Fun First

  • Reading time:2 min(s) read

by Eric-Jon Rössel Waugh

The radios were on the seats, this time. Most of the radios remained in place. On the screen to the right, An isometric illustration of Pac-Man greeted newcomers. A scruffy middle-aged man fumbled behind the podium. Brandon and I chose seats close and to the right of center. When most of the seats were filled, the man behind the podium turned on his microphone; it was Iwatani. He introduced himself, and his topic, in an English which might have carried him through the lecture, were he able to keep it up.

He wasn’t. To fill in the language gap, Iwatani was given a tag-team of feuding translators. Every few minutes, one woman would trade off for the other. It was a little bizarre to listen to, as it was clear that neither translation was as accurate or well-phrased as it could have been. One of the women tried at least three times, and ultimately failed, to pronounce “Galaxian”. Neither seemed to notice Iwatani’s well-organized slides, which almost narrated his lecture on their own. According to Brandon, who chose to listen to the Japanese channel on his radio, there was a point when one of the translators shouted at the other to “shut up”.

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