Atari 2600 Friday’s #10 – Pac-Man
The tenth Atari 2600 Friday brings us a game our friend The Obsessive Compulsive Gamer is literally obsessed about, Pac-Man. Do there exist people who do not know what Pac-Man is? Well they will after they read this (at least the Atari version).
The Story: I guess Pac-Man doesn’t have one, does it even need one?….I did come across this though “Pacman, the man explains, is the story of a man who wakes up one day to find he is nothing but a mouth. And the ghosts? They envy the living, and their ability to eat.” In any case, the manual offers up the he lives in Mazeland.
From the Manual: “We know that millions of people all over the world just love the PAC-MAN arcade game. PAC-MAN has won the hearts of men, women, and children everywhere. We also know that PAC-MAN has traditionally been an arcade game. Well, we at ATARI know all about arcade games. After all, we make some of the greatest arcade games in the world, and we know how to bring the same dynamite game play into your home. Our PAC-MAN has all of the excitement and challenge of the standard arcade game, and you get to play in the comfort and convenience of your own home. This is especially advantageous if you still plan to make an occasional appearance at the arcade to show off your great playing skills. (Little do they know that you’ve been practicing at home all along.) Just in case you’re new to PAC-MAN, don’t worry. It’s easy to learn. You’ll be a pro in no time at all. So, relax, get comfortable and enjoy it in the privacy of your own home. We suggest that you read this instruction booklet thoroughly before beginning game play. We know that you won’t want to miss any important details about game play. You might even find it entertaining.”
From the Box: “It’s your job to keep Pac-Man as happy as possible. To do this you must guide him around the maze so that he can eat video wafers & power pills. Protect him from the ghosts and help him gobble them up before they gobble him.”
The Game Play: Pac-Man moves around the screen collecting “video wafers” which is what the dots are, while trying to avoid the ghosts. Special “vitamins” for bonus points will appear in the middle every so often for a few seconds. The large dots in the corners are “power pills” and will make Pac-Man invincible and able to eat ghosts for a short time. Don’t worry though, the ghosts won’t die, they will just turn into eye’s and return to the middle before changing back to ghosts and coming after you again.
The Controls: Pretty much just the left, right, up and down directions.
Post Review: This is a stripped down port of the arcade game, due to technical limitations of the Atari 2600, and it shows it. I can’t say this is the version I’d recommend people play. The general game works the way it is supposed to, however I was having a heck of a time getting Pac-Man to go where I wanted and I have decently good controllers. Ignoring that there are hundreds of versions of the games now and a few others for the 2600 itself that might even be better. Still, I think to programmer did a good job for what he had. Maybe I will have better controller response another time.
The High Score: 264