- Pac-Man (1981 on Wang 2200)
- Pac-Man (1982 on DOS)
- Pac-Man (1999 on Atari 2600)
- Pac-Man (2009 on Windows)
- Pac-Man (2013 on Android, iPhone, iPad)
Description official descriptions
One of the most popular and influential games of the 1980's, Pac-Man stars a little, yellow dot-muncher who works his way around to clear a maze of the various dots and fruit which inhabit the board.
Pac-Man's goal is continually challenged by four ghosts: The shy blue ghost Bashful ("Inky"), the trailing red ghost Shadow ("Blinky"), the fast pink ghost Speedy ("Pinky"), and the forgetful orange ghost Pokey ("Clyde"). One touch from any of these ghosts means loss of a life for Pac-Man.
Pac-Man can turn the tables on his pursuers by eating one of the four Power-Pills located around the maze. During this time, the ghosts turn blue, and Pac-Man can eat them for bonus points. This only lasts for a limited amount of time as the ghosts' eyes float back to their center box and regenerate to chase after Pac-Man again.
Survive a few rounds of gameplay, and be treated to humorous intermissions starring Pac-Man and the ghosts.
- Pac Man - Alternate Apple II media spelling
- アーケードアーカイブス パックマン - Japanese Switch spelling
- パックマン - Japanese spelling
- 小精靈 - Chinese spelling (traditional - Taiwan)
- 食鬼 - Chinese spelling (traditional - Hong Kong)
- Arcade Archives series
- Arcade Game Series
- Classic NES / Famicom Mini / NES Classics releases
- Games involved in legal disputes
- Games made into TV series
- Games referenced in literature
- Games referenced in movies
- Genre: Labyrinth / Maze
- Pac-Man games (licensed)
- Video games turned into board / card games
Credits (Arcade version)
Average score: 62% (based on 81 ratings)
Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 483 ratings with 10 reviews)
As a six-year old when the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man came out, I was more excited than anything to have my favorite video game come home. And so I would play this for hours. Even rolled the high score back to zero, I played it so much. Because it was Pac-Man, and to me, that was enough. After all, you did control a yellow dot through a maze eating pellets and running from ghosts. That's Pac-Man, right? Can't argue that the basic premise of the game was there.
I also liked the illustrations found in the game manual, as they had that sleek, rounded style that Atari's illustrator was know for doing with several of Atari's games.
However, as I got older, I soon wised up that this game was almost NOTHING like my beloved Pac-Man that I loved in the arcades. Where do I even begin?
The maze was built nothing like the arcade's version. The maze wasn't even colored correctly. The escape tunnel was no longer on the sides, but on the top and bottom. There were no clever maze parts to lose ghosts, on a series of angles that looked like broken squares. And Pac-Man didn't even dots. He ate "wafers". And don't even get me started on the "vitamin" that replaced the fruit.
The ghosts were equally as bad. They were all the same flickering, pastel color. Hard to see, as they blended in with the maze, and devoid of the personality traits from the arcade game. They wandered around the broken maze aimlessly, and sometime, you might get caught. They didn't even flash when they were about to change back. You left them alone when the tone stopped that signified you could chase them. Setting the game in black and white mode allowed the player to see them clearer. Not that they would miss much from the muted colors of the regular game.
Sound effects were a dud. There was a grating four-note tone that replaced the original Pac-Man theme, and it was awful. Dot eating, ghost noises, chasing the ghosts after eating an Energizer.... Nothing even close to the original sounds.
And the greatest mystery of all: Pac-Man could never point up or down. He always floated around the maze facing the side, no matter where he was going.
And of course, no intermissions. Gamers played the same maze, over and over, without stopping.
The Bottom Line
One of the biggest selling games for the Atari, and also one of the biggest disappointments. This was one of those "the name will sell it alone" moments in gaming history, and they were right. But it came with a terrible price to Atari's future. They corrected this mistake (in a very big way) by introducing near-arcade perfect versions (for Atari) of Ms. Pac-Man and Pac-Man Jr., but as far as Pac-Man goes, the ball was dropped. Not only for the game being this way, but for Atari allowing the game to hit the shelves looking like this.
Still, it seemed that Pac-Man was a hard game to accurately port for the longest time. The most "authentic" of the versions is found in Pac-Man Collection for Game Boy Advance.
Atari 2600 Pac-Man is at best a novelty item for classic gaming or Pac-Man enthusiasts. I can't recommend seriously playing it for a Pac-Man fix, but it is an interesting footnote in how a gaming empire crumbled.
For the curious only.
Atari 2600 · by Guy Chapman (1746) · 2006
The gameplay is classic Pac Man. Graphics are arcade perfect
The reason is that this version is just too frustrating. The ghosts move way too fast and once edible, turn back instantly. This difficulty detracts from the overall Pac experience and makes the game more a chore to play than fun. This coupled on with somewhat unresponsive controls makes it a classic game ruined. This version's sound is grating for some unknown reason. When you are playing this game, please turn down the sound and listen to Buckner and Garcia's "Pac-Man Fever".
The Bottom Line
If you don't know the gameplay (get out from that rock you've been living in), here's the lowdown. You play Pac- Man as he races around a maze to collect all the dots. However, there are four "ghosts" (If you know their names, good for you, but I don't care to learn them.) chasing you. If you touch the ghost, you lose a life. You could defeat them if you collect a bigger dot, which causes them to be temporarily vunerable. Also, you can collect fruit to get a higher score. The overall goal is to get the highest score
Xbox 360 · by Cody Cooper (5) · 2006
That It's Pac-man. You can never beat the gameplay for this game. And it was the only version back then. The game is plenty challenging.
The graphics are horrible. The ghosts flicker too much. The maze is completely separate from the arcade version, and the sound effects are all off. And what happened to the fruit in the middle of the maze?
The Bottom Line
If you can get it for at least $1 to $5 Bucks, don't buy it. or you can download it on a emulator. Pac-Man on the Atari isn't a bad game on it's own, but it should not have been based of of the actual arcade game. il'l pass on this one.
Atari 2600 · by Joel Mitchell (5) · 2006
|Pac-Man Atarisoft / Datasoft releases||S Olafsson (57298)||May 2nd, 2016|
|Channel F version should be split||Игги Друге (46151)||Feb 1st, 2014|
|Famicom Mini series: (alternate) titles||yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy) (2587)||Aug 10th, 2012|
1001 Video Games
The Arcade version of Pac-Man appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.
Apple II version
The Apple II version was originally released as Taxman by H.A.L. Labs, but after threatening a lawsuit, Atari turned around and bought the program to release as their Apple II version of Pac-Man with slight changes.
Atari 2600 versions
When Pac-Man was released for the Atari 2600, over a million units were sold. But because of Hardware limitations, it did not look like the arcade one. The ghost were the same color, you had to eat square blocks instead of dots, and the whole image just didn't stand up. Although this helped gained Atari some bucks, it tarnished its reputation, which would follow them for years to come.
Due to copyright issues, Ébivision never released their Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man for public sale. A copy, with label and box, was given away to Jeff Rothkopf for being the first person to find the hidden level in Alfred Challenge.
Schiffer Books has released a Pac-Man collectibles value guide.
Cancelled Colecovision port
You might notice that there is a certain system missing at the top of this page, namely the Colecovision. This is particularly strange considering the fact that a working Atarisoft prototype of Pac-Man for Colecovision, complete with working AI, graphics and sound, has been discovered and dumped. One can only guess that the release was cancelled by looking at the copyright date of 1983, coinciding with the big video game crash.
During the height of its popularity, Pac-Man had a Saturday morning TV cartoon that focused on Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and (in later seasons) Super Pac-Man. The show lasted for several seasons, and also had a Christmas special. The later game, Pac-Land, based its visual style off of this series.
Pac-Man was popular enough to have a breakfast cereal based on the game. The cereal was a combination of cereal "dots" and marshmallows based on the characters. The first marshmallows were Pac-Man (yellow), Inky (blue), Blinky (red), Pinky (pink) and Clyde (orange). As time went on, Ms. Pac-Man and larger Super Pac-Man marshmallows were added.
The tag line was "You can do the Pac-Man", with kids stretching their arms out and clapping to emulate Pac-Man's eating motions.
Commodore VIC-20 version
In Japan HAL Laboratory held the home computer rights for Pac-Man. They made the original VIC-20 conversion which was released by Commodore over there in 1981. To get around the licensing restrictions, Commodore released the game as "Jelly Monsters" in the US and Europe a whole year before the official Atari VCS version hit the market, much to the chagrin of Atari the license holder for those regions. Atari filed a lawsuit which they won, removing Jelly Monsters from the shelves. In 1983 Atarisoft released their own, largely considered inferior VIC-20 version.
As the story goes, one of the Namco's designers (Namco being the company that created the original arcade version) ordered a whole pizza for himself. After eating one of the slices, he looked at the pizza again. And thus, Pac-Man was born.
The four enemy ghost characters, Oikake, Machibuse, Kimagure and Otoboke, from the original Japanese version of Pac-Man were thoughtfully and descriptively renamed to match their in game behavior. Shadow (red), Speedy (pink), Bashful (blue) and Pokey (orange) are the westernized names of the four ghosts. Additionally they also received new nicknames, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. Only Pinky has the same nickname in both Japanese and western versions of Pac-Man.
According to www.classicnesseries.com, Pac-Man was the first character in a video game.
It's clear that the advertising execs who wrote the advertising blurb for the PC port hadn't played the game seriously. The ad blurb calls the ghosts "goblins", and erroneously describes gameplay.
In fact, of all Atarisoft PC conversions, this was one of the more shoddy ones as the maze's proportions are out of whack. In addition, the programmer was lazy--the entire maze is drawn with the INT 10 set pixel function, which is why it's so slow.
During the later levels, the special item in the middle of the level (cherry, strawberry, apple, etc.) is a Galaxian. The Galaxian comes from an earlier Namco game of the same name.
References to the game
Pac-Man is referenced in the Futurama episode Anthology of Interest II. The episode consists of three shorts; one of which involves Fry asking the "what-if" machine "what if life was more like a video game." In the short, aliens invade the earth; then Fry and his friends seek the help of Secretary of Defense Colin Pac-Man. Also in the short, Fry and friends have to navigate a Pac-Man styled maze.
It is estimated that Pac-Man -- both in its coin-op arcade and console incarnations -- has been played over 10,000,000,000 times.
Pac-Man was the first video game to inspire a popular pop song, which was played on the radio, had a full-length record and a single. The song in question was Buckner and Garcia's Pac-Man Fever.
Rapper Lil Flip's hit song, Game Over uses sound effects from Pac-Man. But the bad thing is Lil Flip never got permission from Namco to use the sounds and was later sued.
When the game first appeared in Japanese arcades in 1979, it was called Puck-Man. When Midway ported to America, the company decided to re-name it Pac-Man because they were concerned that English speaking players might vandalize the "Puck" to spell a certain swear word.
Pac-Man's name is derived from the Japanese adverb 'paku' used to describe gaping, biting or snapping mouths. 'Paku' is also an onomatopoeia modelled after the smacking sound of lips. This could explain the sound Pac-Man emits when moving around.
Xbox 360 version
The Xbox Live! Arcade version stays true to the original gameplay and look, with the addition of improved graphics and sounds, leaderboards and achievements. The game itself was already included as a secret in Ridge Racer 6.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly
- November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #89 (Best 100 Games of All Time) (Genesis / SNES versions)
- November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #11 (Titles That Revolutionized Console Gaming) (Arcade version)
- Retro Gamer
- October 2004 (Issue #9) – #10 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote)
- The Strong National Museum of Play
- 2015 – Inducted into the World Video Game Hall of Fame
Related Sites +
1st Church of Pac-Man
Reverend Shoebox's fansite dedicated to the religion of Pac-Man.
Abandonia (PC Booter)
downloadable releases; additional material
AtariAge (Atari 2600)
for Atari 2600: downloadable ROM; scans; manuals; additional material
AtariAge (Atari 5200)
for Atari 5200: downloadable ROM; scans; manuals; additional material
AtariMania (Atari 2600)
for Atari 2600: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
AtariMania (Atari 5200)
for (Atari 5200): database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
AtariMania (Atari 8-bit)
for Atari 8-bit: database; downloadable releases; artwork; additional material
Bucker and Garcia Official Pac-Man Fever Site
The official website of the artists who created the "Pac-Man Fever" song from the early '80's.
DJ Oldgames (PC Booter / C64)
for PC and C64: downloadable releases; additional material
Game Base 64
for C64: Downloadable links, Database, Music, Emulation, Frontends, Reviews and Articles
Game Oldies (Nintendo Game Boy)
for Nintendo Game Boy: online emulation of game
Game Oldies (Nintendo NES)
for Nintendo NES: online emulation of game
Game Oldies (SNK Neo Geo Pocket)
for SNK Neo Geo Pocket: online emulation of game
Game Oldies (Sega Game Gear)
for Sega Game Gear: online emulation of game
Internet Archive (ZX Spectrum)
for ZX Spectrum: downloadable release; online emulation of game; additional material
for C64: games, reviews and music
for MSX: catalogue; cover art; additional material
My Abandonware (PC Booter)
for DOS and C64: downloadable releases; online versions; additional material
SMS Power! (Game Gear)
for Game Gear: releases info; credits; box text; additional material
The International Arcade Museum
extensive information about the arcade game machine
The Pac-Man Dossier
a very detailed and technical study on all aspects of the original arcade game
Fansite dedicated to the many games of the Pac-Man family.
Virtual Apple 2 - Online disk archive
for Apple II: online emulation of game (for Windows and Mac); downloadable releases; additional material
The Pac-Man article at Wikipedia
World of Spectrum
for ZX Spectrum: downloadable releases; additional material; player reviews; magazine references
X360A achievement guide
X360A's achievement guide for Pac-Man.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Trixter.
Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket Color added by Corn Popper. Atari 2600, NES, Intellivision, Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. Sharp MZ-80K/700/800/1500, Sharp X1, FM-7, Sharp MZ-80B/2000/2500 added by Infernos. PC-8000 added by OmegaPC777. Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Windows Phone, Wii added by Sciere. Sharp Zaurus, Android, Palm OS, Windows added by Kabushi. MSX added by Martin Smith. BlackBerry added by Pseudo_Intellectual. PC-88 added by Terok Nor. Arcade added by The cranky hermit. Apple II, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, ZX Spectrum, VIC-20, TI-99/4A added by Servo. PC-6001, Game Gear added by Игги Друге. iPhone added by Ben K. PC-98 added by j.raido 【雷堂嬢太朗】. Game Boy added by Jim Fun.
Additional contributors: Jeanne, Guy Chapman, Alaka, vileyn0id_8088, monkeyislandgirl, formercontrib, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Plok, S Olafsson, Rik Hideto, LLC, FatherJack, ZeTomes, firefang9212, SoMuchChaotix.
Game added May 26th, 1999. Last modified October 16th, 2023.