I saw this recent question about the origins of Pac-man, and while video games are on-topic and the question is not about game mechanics, is it really an on-topic work?

The only argument I can make is that it features "ghosts" and that Pac-man is so type of non-human creature. However, there are countless games, particularly early arcade games with low graphic quality, that feature non-human creatures and monsters. These games may or may not have any other element of Science Fiction or Fantasy in them.

My question is should we require that video games have an additional SF/F element beyond the character/creatures to be considered on-topic? (similar to how not all spy-fi is on topic)

  • 4
    I rep-capped of that bad boy, so I can't complain!
    – Möoz
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 22:57
  • @Möoz fair enough :D Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 7:05
  • 3
    I don't know video games, but I wouldn't consider a story SF/F just because it has non-human characters. For example, I don't consider The Call of the Wild or The Black Stallion to be SF/F stories.
    – user14111
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 23:54

1 Answer 1


When it comes to video games, we should be taking a look at the complete body of works, not merely a single game. (For instance, we shouldn't judge Donkey Kong based on the original Donkey Kong alone, or Mario just on Super Mario Run).

Just for clarity's sake, Pac-Man is not just a single game.

It's a long-running video game series, has an old and a new TV show, and other surrounding media. Here's a blurb about the current TV show:

Throughout the series, Pac and his loyal crew prove their bravery as they protect the Power Berries from falling into the sinister hands of Betrayus and his evil army of baddies. The fate of PacWorld lies with Pac and his friends as they attempt to rid PacWorld of the ghosts and send them crawling back to Netherworld where they came from.

There's plenty of story content for the Pac-Man universe, and we have a long-standing policy that if one work in a shared universe is on-topic, the rest of the works are. Pac-Man has several on-topic works, not limited to the TV shows but the larger-scope Pac-Man World games.

The newer video games and TV show notably use the modern, anthropomorphic depiction of Pac-Man:

enter image description here

From what I can tell, everything indicates that Pac-Man is on topic.

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    I can agree with this now that I know of the "Pac-man universe". I did suspect there might be one, which is why I tried to frame the question a bit broader.
    – Skooba
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 15:13
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    actually - calling the anthropomorphic version "modern" implies that it is a recent creation, unassociated with the original origin / era. This is incorrect: kotaku.com/5334507/it-was-called-pac-man-land - certainly by the time Ms. Pac Man came around, they were anthropomorphizing the characters, and that is in the original era. Perhaps you mean this particular design is modern (I agree) - but anthropomorphizing Pac-Man happened from almost the very beginning :)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 16:06
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    @NKCampbell It's the modern version, and anthropomorphic. Even the original Ms. Pac-Man game had a limbed Ms on the game art. I didn't mean to say that pre-modern wasn't. Current iterations outside of The Pixels Movie maintain it.
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 20:32
  • @CreationEdge Note that the original Ms. Pac-Man was an unapproved ROM hack.
    – wizzwizz4
    Commented Aug 21, 2017 at 10:24
  • Good answer as to whether Pacman is on topic but this doesn't answer the general case. Panda pop is about anthropomorphic Pandas (and other animals). Would that be SF/F? Clearly human-like panda in WOW are fantasy but does that mean Panda Pop qualifies?
    – kaine
    Commented Aug 25, 2017 at 13:20
  • @kaine When it comes to video games, we should be taking a look at the complete body of works, not merely a single game. (For instance, we shouldn't judge Donkey Kong based on the original Donkey Kong alone, or Mario just on Super Mario Run). Answers the general case. We look at the whole body of works and apply our normal standards. We don't treat them differently because they're a video game, it depends on the story, since stories are what we deal in.
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 26, 2017 at 2:48
  • Also, there was "Pac-Man: the Animated Series" from 1982-1983, where Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man (called Pepper Pac-Man), and Jr. Pac-Man (called Pac-Baby) fought the evil Mezmaron and his Ghost Monsters. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pac-Man_(TV_series) Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 23:32
  • @pleurocoelus I already link to that in paragraph 2.
    – user31178
    Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 0:03
  • @CreationEdge Somehow I missed that... oops. Commented Aug 29, 2017 at 0:42

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