(SOUNDBITE OF TOSHIO KAI'S "PAC-MAN THEME")
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
That distinctive theme is not by B.J. Leiderman, who writes our theme music. Of course, it's Pac-Man. You don't need Zoom to play it. The original maze arcade game debuted in Tokyo 40 years ago this week. Toru Iwatani said that he wanted to come up with an alternative to the violent arcade games that were so common at the time and have hardly disappeared now. He originally called it "Paku Paku Taberu." The name's a play on the Japanese word for gobbling something up. And the game, indeed, has chomped its way around the world with its simple, relatable, zen-like simplicity. We are. Therefore, we munch. And keep munching. Munch. Munch. Munch.
(SOUNDBITE OF PAC-MAN SOUND EFFECTS) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.