It’s a pixelated face only a father could love.

As video game characters from the '80s attack the United States, one man comes forward with an emotional plea: "Pac-Man is not bad!"

Then he has to run for his life.

Played in this scene for laughs by actor Denis Akiyama in the movie "Pixels," the character of Pac-Man’s creator is in fact based on a real person, Toru Iwatani.

As the father of the iconic yellow munch-happy arcade creature, Iwatani is no less protective of his progeny and bristles at the notion of a rampaging Pac-Man.

"Pac-Man was said to just eat bad things, and he was more for justice, which is why you would never see Pac-Man eating a human being," Iwatani tells

Born in Tokyo, Iwatani joined computer software company Namco in 1977, and with the help of Shigeo Funaki and Toshio Kai, went on to launch Pakku-Man in 1980. Called Pac-Man in the United States, the game was immensely popular around the world, though Iwatani did not personally profit.

"There were no rewards per se for the success of Pac-Man," he told VH1 in 2007. "I was just an employee. There was no change in my salary, no bonus, no official citation of any kind. So I didn’t buy anything for myself. And it’s really not my personal style to buy myself a present anyway."

But the decades-long love for Iwatani's little character is no surprise.

"My opinion is that Pac-Man became popular with everyone, from youngsters to elders to men and women because of our original idea to make a game that spoke to both female customers and couples," Iwatani told Time in May. "Empowering Pac-Man to chase the ghosts gives players a refreshed perspective on the game's core gameplay, and I think this idea also appeals to a new generation of female players who have grown up empowered and want to be the pursuer rather than being the pursued."

"Pixels" is out Friday. Watch the trailer below:


"Game On."
PG-131 hr 45 minJul 24th, 2015