We had seen a lot of posts on other sites about the full size Pacman game going on at the IREX-2005 robotics show in Tokyo, but none of the stories we read gave any of the background on the exhibit. So, we spent some time with Takashi Yamazaki of Namco’s corporate group at the show to find out why Namco, celebrating their 50th anniversary, went to all the effort to build the popular exhibit.
According to Yamazaki-san, both Pacman (the video game) and the micromouse contest started just over 25 years ago. They share the hearts and spirits of at least two generations of engineers.
The young designers that played Pacman in the 80's and participated in the early micromouse competitions, also went on to lay the foundations for the robots we use today. Namco, the creator of Pacman, and long time sponsor of the micromouse competitions in Japan, designed a full size, fully functional Pacman game to commemorate this long association, and hopefully to inspire today's young designers and engineers to bring robotics to the next level.
Micromouse plays a key role in the exhibit with lots of mentions during the shows, video clips of famous micromouse robots, including one of David Otten’s robots from MIT, and lots of information available to show attendees.