The Ms. Pac-Man arcade game was released in 1981 as Midway’s follow-up to Pac-Man, which entered the hall as part of the inaugural class in 2015. The Pac-Man sequel reimagined the main character to acknowledge the original game’s female fans, according to the hall. After selling 125,000 cabinets within the first five years, it became one of the best-selling arcade games of all time.
There was nothing inherently gendered about early video games, said Julia Novakovic, senior archivist at the hall. But “by offering the first widely recognized female video game character,” she said, “Ms. Pac-Man represented a turn in the cultural conversation about women’s place in the arcade, as well as in society at large.”
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