Pac-Man

aka: Arcade Archives: Pac-Man, Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man, Dobişko, Jelly Monsters, NES Classics: Pac-Man, Pac - Man, PacMan, Puck-Man
Moby ID: 138
Arcade Specs
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Conversion (unofficial) Included in See Also

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.

Spellings

  • 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)

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Credits (Arcade version)

4 People

Planning
Hardware
Programming
Sound

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 62% (based on 81 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 488 ratings with 10 reviews)

A decent game on it's own, but needs work.

The Good
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 Bad
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

Retro game with a central character and simple objective

The Good
In 1981, Namco, a small game company released Pac-Man, a concept that occurred when one of the company's game designers ordered a slice of pizza and looked at it after removing a slice., then he decided to make his first game based on the remains. When Pac-Man came out, it was all the rage, and almost everybody wanted to play it.

Pac-Man was one of the first games of its kind. Until then, video games comprised of vertical shooters, where people controlled a ship that must shoot down enemy ships, aliens, asteroids, etc. Seeing Pac-Man for the first time provided some relief for those who already got bored of shooters. Unlike other games around its time, Pac-Man was also the first to have a central character, in which you can move freely in any direction you like – up, down, left, and right.

What I like about the game is its simple objective – navigate the one maze while gobbling up dots and avoiding four ghosts; named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, who love to make a meal out of Pac-Man. If you get eaten, you will lose one of your three lives. Grab a power pellet from any corner of the maze, and you have the opportunity to eat a ghost. Use the escape tunnels located at each side of the maze to confuse them. Occasionally, a fruit will appear in the middle of the maze. Gobble this up as well for big points. Gobble up all the dots (and the power pellets) to move onto the next (and difficult) maze. Every two or so mazes, you are treated to an intermission, which are funny to view.

The NES version comes close to the original game as possible. Apart from the status bar, which is located on the right side rather than the top, Namco has made sure that this would be a rather good conversion of Pac-Man. These include giving each ghost a different color so that you can tell them apart, putting blue mazes against a black background, and making sure that the sounds between the arcade and this remains the same.

The Bad
A little bit of variation would have been nice. With different maze layouts, and the colors used for each maze, not just blue all the time.

The Bottom Line
Pac-Man was all the rage back in its heyday, and it is still enjoyable today. In fact, Pac-Man was so popular back then that Namco decided to do several sequels, starting with Ms. Pac-Man. I believe that the NES version is brilliant – it captures the same look and feel that the original had, without having more features added to it that can spoil gameplay.

NES · by Katakis | カタキス (43092) · 2006

Not bad, but too little too late on PC

The Good
It's Pac-Man, almost identical to original 1980 release.

The Bad
It came to PC in 1983. There were already numerous Pac-Man clones on PC available and especially "PC-Man", which came to PC one year earlier was just better in every aspect. So original Pac-Man just came a bit late to the party on PC, when better arcades were already available.

The Bottom Line
PC port of Pac-Man is not bad, but seems already washed out in comparison with some other better PC Pac-Man clones.

PC Booter · by Vladimir Dienes · 2023

[ View all 10 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Pac-Man Atarisoft / Datasoft releases S Olafsson (58966) May 2, 2016
Channel F version should be split Игги Друге (46656) Feb 1, 2014
Famicom Mini series: (alternate) titles yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy) (2599) Aug 10, 2012

Trivia

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.

Book

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.

Cartoon

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.

Cereal

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.

Development

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.

Ghosts

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.

Innovations

According to www.classicnesseries.com, Pac-Man was the first character in a video game.

PC version

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.

References

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.

Sales

It is estimated that Pac-Man -- both in its coin-op arcade and console incarnations -- has been played over 10,000,000,000 times.

Song

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.

Title

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.

Awards

  • 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

Information also contributed by Игги Друге, gamewarrior, Guy Chapman, J. Michael Bottorff, LepricahnsGold, Little Yoda, Maw, Paul Budd, Robbb, rstevenson, Sciere, woods01 and FatherJack

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Trixter.

Game Boy Advance, Neo Geo Pocket Color added by Corn Popper. Intellivision, NES, Atari 2600, Commodore 64 added by PCGamer77. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. Nintendo 3DS added by CrankyStorming. Nintendo Switch added by Rik Hideto. FM-7, Sharp MZ-80K/700/800/1500, Sharp MZ-80B/2000/2500, Sharp X1 added by Infernos. PC-8000 added by OmegaPC777. Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, Windows Phone, Xbox One, Wii added by Sciere. Android, Sharp Zaurus, Windows, Palm OS 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. ZX Spectrum, Apple II, TI-99/4A, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, VIC-20 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 26, 1999. Last modified February 25, 2024.