These days, words like 'social gaming' get thrown around like it's an amazing new trend. The reality is that people have been gaming socially for centuries, and most likely since the dawn of human history. Social gaming is a shared experience that brings people together, whether they're playing together or bonding over it in a social situation. Today, May 22, one of the penultimate social games -- Pac-Man -- celebrates its 30th anniversary.
Still question Pac-Man's classification as a social game? No, it's not on Facebook, and you can't gift power pellets to fellow players, but we challenge you to find anyone who hasn't at least heard of this game, much less navigated those mazes, while avoiding dastardly ghosts. Every major media outlet saw fit to highlight this milestone, and Google's playable homage to the ghost-gobbling icon proved so popular that a few unlucky souls were banned from playing it at work last week. Pac-Man is a cultural touchstone, bringing people together internationally and across generations. If that's doesn't fit the definition of social game, than what does?
Of course, we'd like nothing more to see a fully realized Facebook version of Pac-Man (fingers crossed), but while we wait, we'll raise a toast to Pac-Man, one of our favorite social games for the past three decades. Happy 30th Pac-Man; here's to 30 more.