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Someone Made The Pac-Man Soundtrack 13 Years Before The Game Was Created

This Italian sound experiment from 1967 sounds eerily familiar...

by Zach Sokol
24 March 2014, 9:00pm

Pac-Man, arguably la crème de la crème of 8-bit arcade glory, wasn't released until 1980, yet we recently noticed a YouTube video that points to a maybe-unexpected source of its inspiration. Take one listen to the above track, and tell us it isn't eerily similar to the iconic arcade game's soundtrack. 

In 1967, the Studio Di Fonologia Musicale Di Firenze, a collective that used new technologies to experiment with recorded music, released GE-115 Computer Concertowhich used the eponymous computer to recreate excerpts from Paganini and Bach. "Mixed Paganini," a B-side, sounds very similar to the Pac-Man intro, as well as the bleeps and bloops that ring out when the yellow guy goes into ghost-hunting mode. 

Pac-Man is said to be inspired by a Japanese onomatopoeic slan phrase "paku-paku" which connotes the sound of munching. Maybe Namco was also toying around with computer central processor unit transcriptions to nail that chomping noise. Or maybe they were into Italian experimental music.

Here some more Pac-Man sounds below:

And look back at our coverage of a live performance piece of Pac-Man mashed with Steve Reich, another experimental music guru.

H/T @cyriakharris


Video Games
Experimental Music
8 bit