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.