June 26, 2015
TORU IWATANI RECEIVES THE GAMELAB 2015 LEGEND AWARD
Toru Iwatani, creator of the famous Pac-Man, receives the Legend Award in the second day of Gamelab
"Back in 1980 there weren't any computers at home and you had to go to the arcade rooms to play. They were places just for boys, and I wanted to create a space way more cheerful, I wanted to draw girls too". Just like that, looking for a way to draw women attention to video games, looking for a name which could explain the concept "to eat" and with a likeable shape (a pizza he had just taken a piece of), Toru Iwatani created his Pac-Man, an essential and iconic chapter of video games history. In his creator's opinion, the key of Pac-Man success is its simplicity. Everyone, Iwatani said, understand the simple actions of Pac-Man: eating and fleeing from the bad guys. A legend and a pop culture icon which are part of Iwatani's past, his present and, probably, his future too; but they have not swallowed his own identity.
After 30 years working at Namco, Toru Iwatani left his job in video game indostry to teach in Tokyo Technical College. "I felt attracted to the students' young spirit. I thought about teaching them game philosophy, something I could instill something with. Also, I can devote there to my research and studies. If a game company is not profitable, they don't allow us to spend money on experiments". And it's precisely in college where he had created his latest work, a gaming suit which attach to the human body a screen and controllers. "It is not fast, and the sensor doesn't work as it should, but we are creating new ways to play".
Toru Iwatani defended learning in the streets to observe what is the people looking for in a game, as well as developing a critical sense in a world with a constant flow of data. And he eagerly received his Gamelab Legend Award, granted to those who are part of history just like Iwatani.