17 Facts About Toru Iwatani


Toru Iwatani is a Japanese video game designer who spent much of his career working for Namco.


Toru Iwatani is best known as the creator of the arcade game Pac-Man.


Toru Iwatani was self-taught in computers without any formal training in programming or graphical design.


Toru Iwatani often filled his school textbooks with scattered manga, which he claims had a major influence on the character designs of his games.


At the age of 22 Toru Iwatani joined the Japanese video game publisher Namco in 1977.


Toru Iwatani was assigned to the video game development division of the company upon arrival.


Toru Iwatani originally wanted to create pinball machines, however Namco executives declined the idea due to patent-related issues.

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Two sequels were released in 1979, Bomb Bee and Cutie Q, which Toru Iwatani worked on as a designer.


Towards the end of 1979, Toru Iwatani grew disappointed towards the video game industry, thinking that the market only appealed to men through its usage of violent "war" games, such as Space Invaders, and sports games reminiscent of Pong.


Toru Iwatani decided to create a video game that appealed to women, with cute, colorful character design and easy-to-understand gameplay, based around the concept of eating.


An often-repeated story is that Toru Iwatani left Namco furious at the lack of any recognition or additions to his pay, which he has claimed to be false.


Toru Iwatani went on to design Libble Rabble in 1983, a twin-stick puzzler based on a game he had played in his childhood.


Toru Iwatani worked as a producer for many of Namco's arcade games, including Rally-X, Galaga, Pole Position, Ridge Racer and Time Crisis.


Toru Iwatani left Namco in March 2007 to become a full-time lecturer at Tokyo Polytechnic University.


Toru Iwatani returned to his Pac-Man roots in 2007 when he developed Pac-Man Championship Edition for the Xbox 360, which he states is the final game he will develop.


On June 3,2010, at the Festival of Games, Toru Iwatani received a certificate from Guinness World Records for Pac-Man having the most "coin-operated arcade machines" installed worldwide: 293,822.


Toru Iwatani was portrayed in the Adam Sandler sci-fi comedy adventure Pixels by actor Denis Akiyama, while Iwatani himself has a cameo as an arcade repairman.