found out about this yesterday:
Given that Mappy runs on the same arcade hardware as Super Pac-Man, it’s worth noting how much more sophisticated its graphics and design are. Its character sprites are larger and more detailed than Namco’s earlier hit, while its levels, although constructed from broadly the same handful of tiles, are more varied. It’s interesting, too, that while Mappy came out in 1983, its characters were conceived much earlier. In fact, they weren’t designed as the cast of a video game, but as robots.
In early 80s, while Pac-Man was filling arcades, Namco had a sideline in robot-building. One of the company’s key personnel at the time was Shigeki Toyama, who was something of a renaissance man when it came to design. Toyama created some of the original concepts for the geometric ships in Namco’s hit shooter, Xevious, and designed several of the company’s arcade cabinets. He was also into robotics, and in 1980, he created a maze-navigating robot named Goro – a portly, grinning cat who looked just like the villain who we’d later see in Mappy. One year later, Toyama created another robot, Mappy, who – you guessed it – was essentially identical to the game’s title hero, right down to the police uniform.
i excitedly look these up, and while they look cool as heck, all they do is hug the left wall till they “find” the exit hahah.
article excerpt from: https://www.denofgeek.com/games/mappy-namcos-forgotten-follow-up-to-pac-man/