This Guy Has A Rare Arcade Cabinet. Is It Real?

Sometimes I get stupid emails from readers. Sometimes I get nice emails. And sometimes, I get emails from people with questions. Reader Joel sent me one of those: A question.

This is a Puckman cabinet. Before Pac-Man was called Pac-Man, it was Puckman. "Paku paku" (パクパク) is the sound in Japanese for people opening and closing their mouths, hence why the game was written as パックマン in Japanese, or "Pakkuman".

But, that became "puck", and "puck" sounds like "f**k". As awesome as "F**kman" sounds, the game's US publisher changed it to Pac-Man. Bastards.

Reader Joel has one of those Puckman cabinets. It's a cocktail cabinet, and reader Joel says it's one of the rarest cabinets you can find in the US.

Reader Joel said he got it from a friend who worked at Namco and Atari several decades ago. I'd imagine if you got something like this from industry friends back in the day, you'd conclude that this was real. Yet, Joel wanted to verify it's authenticity. He actually wanted Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani's email, which isn't mine to give out.

It looks like the Namco Cocktail table. And at the risk of turning this into the Antique Roadshow, it seems to match up with photos online. But this isn't the Antique Roadshow, and I'm not Toru Iwatani. I'm Brian Ashcraft.

Top photo: Joel


    I think he prefers to be called "Puck-Man arcade cabinet owner Joel now with karate-chop action" not "reader Joel".

    It certainly looks like the real thing. If it is - it's in incredibly good condition.

    Now... How rare are they? There's probably quite a few in Japan, but very few in the USA.

    If you want to know Brian, you should really post a question on the KLOV forums. That's where most American owners of arcade cabs are found.

    I always thought it got changed because of a copyright in the USA.

      I always thought PuckMan was changed in the US because they were worried kids would scratch out part of the P and make it an F.

    I remember when the game was called 'Ghost Muncher' before it was called Pacman. There was a contest in the early 80's (I think) where they were going to have a playoff at Westfield Parramatta and the winner got to take a machine home. I remember thinking 'what a weak name for a game' at the time, but yeah... ghost muncher.

    Doesn't matter if it's real... The question is, can it blend?

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