Good News on This Day in History – May 22

40 years ago today, Pacman, the ground-breaking video game, was first placed in an arcade in Tokyo. Invented by a young man who loved pinball, ‘PuckMan’, as it was first called, became the most successful arcade game of all time.

“When I started drafting up this project in the late 1970s, the arcades were filled with violent games all about killing aliens,” the 25-year-old told CNN. With only boys hanging out there, Iwatani wanted to make arcades into places that girls and couples might enjoy, so he designed a game with them in mind.

Working for Japanese games firm Namco at the time, Iwatani grabbed a slice of pizza from a box and had an epiphany: The remaining pizza slices formed Pac-Man’s shape, and the game of gobbling up points went on to make history. (1980)

Photo Courtesy Bandai Namco

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Amnesty Act restoring full civil rights to most Confederate sympathizers (1872)
  • Harvey Milk was born, the war veteran who became the first openly gay politician elected in California and who was responsible for the passage of a civil rights bill that outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation (1930)
  • US President Lyndon Johnson announced his Great Society goals to “end poverty and racial injustice” – more info below (1964)
  • Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, the longest-running US children’s television series, aired its first episode (1967)
  • Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, who was discovered at 6-years-old and who 17 years later won three Grand Slam titles in one year, was born (1987)
  • Swedish professional golfer Annika Sörenstam became the first woman to play on the PGA Tour in 58 years (2003)
  • Tokyo Skytree was opened to public as the tallest tower in world (2080ft/634m), and the second tallest man-made structure on Earth, after Burj Khalifa (2012)


*After Johnson announced his Great Society goals, the government spent $3 billion in three years on new programs like Food Stamps and Head Start which helped to cut the poverty rate from 22.2 percent to 12.6 pt. in seven years. Also a part of the Great Society were goals to improve education, health, urban areas, transportation, and consumer protection, resulting in efforts such as Medicare, Medicaid, the Higher Education Act and the Highway Safety Act. The National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities and Public Broadcasting were formed to improve citizens’ access to the arts. Even though the Viet Nam war and its costs dimmed Johnson’s hope for fully realizing his aim of a Great Society—and he would only be president for one term—the Johnson administration was still able to lead arguably the most successful legislative agenda in American history. 87 bills were submitted to the Democratic Congress, and 96 percent of those were made law.

Irish Flag with statue in Dublin ladyb CC 326x181 1
By ladyb, CC license

And, on this day in 1998, the citizens of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland voted overwhelmingly to accept the peace plan known as the Good Friday Agreement. Negotiated and signed by 8 disparate political factions, it was designed to end 30 years of bloody conflict and bombings and establish self-rule for Northern Ireland, which had been under direct British control for 26 years.

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