Video Game Industry & Culture: Pac Man Advertisements

How has marketing for video games changed over time?

In the 1982 Pac Man advertisement, there is a whole family playing the game, which suggests that people of all ages and genders can play, not just children or boys. We also discussed in class that videogames have become a way for families to spend time together, and this advertisement is an example of this. The lyrics to the music playing in the ad include “I’ve got Pac Man fever,” which suggests that at the time, everyone was playing this game.

In the Ms. Pac Man trailer, it is evident that she is hypersexualized. Unlike the original Pac Man advertisement, this character has legs, high heels, and makeup. She is also introduced as “the woman of the year.” I think this advertisement is trying to appeal to a larger audience. By having a Ms. Pac Man, it is trying to appeal to a female audience, and by making her hypersexualized, the ad is also targeting male players.

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The advertisement for Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures is from 2013, which means it is 30 years after the previous two commercials shown above. The ad is clearly targeted to a younger audience because the narrator sounds young, while the 1982 Pac Man ad was targeted to people of all ages because its narrator was an adult.

The video game design for Pac Man and the Ghostly Adventures is also more complex. The object of the original game was straightforward, where the player had to eat all the dots on the screen while avoiding being caught by the ghosts. In the 2013 commercial, there is more than just one playable location. The player can explore different worlds and on different game consoles.

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