PacMan vs. Mario: Are Games Evolving?

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Difference between PacMan and Mario

Pac-Man and Mario are two of the undisputed pillars of the gaming world, and it is hard to imagine two other games that have had such a massive and far reaching impact. In this comparison article, we take a look at these still-fascinating and timeless games.



Pac-Man or Pakkuman, as it is called in Japan, is an arcade game developed by Namco. It was initially released in Japan in May 1980, and was later distributed to the United States market. The game achieved massive success early on, and it is to this day one of the best-loved and still widely played games around. In fact, the game and its characters have become certified pop culture icons in their own right.

‘Mario” is the name of another popular arcade game, as well as the name of its protagonist. The game is every bit the classic that Pac-Man is, and its characters are just as widely recognizable. There are currently more than 200 games in the Mario series and all combined, they have sold more than 200 million copies around the world. By this account, Mario is the most commercially successful video game series ever.


Pac-Man first burst onto the gaming scene when space shooter type games ruled the market. The rest of the games on the scene were little more than sports game variations of the venerable Pong. Amidst this setting, pacemaker managed to both introduce a new game genre and produce a game that appealed to both male and female audiences. Of course Pac-Man is one of the most recognizable gaming icons of all time, and it is recognized by as much as 94% of the U.S. consumer market. it is also one of the only three video games that are displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C., A distinction it shares with Pong and Dragon's Lair.

Mario for its part is considered one of the most well-loved series in gaming history, and it consistently ranks in the top spot of greatest games lists to this very day. Mario was also responsible for popularizing the side scrolling motion, and countless other games gave since followed suit. The Super Mario Bros. version itself has sold more than 40 million copies all over the world, making it the single best selling title in the series.

Game Play

Pac-Man is played by maneuvering the Pac-Man character through a maze, as he eats the pac-dots in his path. The game proceeds to the next stage when all the dots are consumed. There are four enemies that subsequently enter the playing field at the different stages, and Pac-Man will have to avoid all of them or lose a life. The game ends when all the lives have been lost.

Most of the action in Mario involves jumping on and avoiding enemies. The later 3D versions of the games introduced close quarters fighting stages. Throughout the game, Mario will have to defeat his enemies, reach certain points, and solve puzzles. Among the innovative features of the game are power-ups, linear levels, hidden items and secret warp pipes.

Similarities and Differences


  • An arcade game initially released in Japan in May 1980
  • One of the most recognizable gaming icons of all time


  • The most commercially successful video game series ever
  • Responsible for popularizing the side scrolling motion


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