Pac-Man (2600)

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North American box art.

Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, is an action game and port of the original Pac-Man arcade game. It was designed and programmed by Tod Frye and published by Atari in 1982. Atari made to blunders during the development of this port. They gave Frye an unusually short length of time to create the game in order to make it available for Christmas, and they required him to fit the game in 4K, rather than use the more expensive 8K ROM chips. These constraints led to an inferior game so different from the original, it's hard to call them the same game. Despite being a terrible port, Atari 2600 Pac-Man went on to sell 7 million copies, and become the best-selling video game at the time. However, its poor quality ultimately hurt the video game industry and contributed to the crash of 1983.

I first played this version of Pac-Man on my home Atari around 1986. Having seen the original in the arcade, everyone in my family saw that this was a mockery.

Status

I own this game. It can't be beaten.

Review

  • Overall: 2/10
  • Best Version: Arcade

Good

  • Had I never seen the original Pac-Man, I may have thought this game was a passable Atari title.
  • The speed of the ghosts and length of the power pills can be customized to fit your playing needs.
  • The manual is well-made and the cartoons are pretty good.

Bad

  • Graphically, the game is quite dull. The maze and dots are the same color, there's not much variation, Pac-Man doesn't look correct or display up and down movement, the ghosts look wrong, etc.
  • The flicker of the ghosts makes them difficult to see, and even harder to distinguish their color (although, since they all use the same AI, it doesn't matter).
  • All the additional variation of the game like the cut-scenes, fruit, music, etc., has been removed.

Ugly

  • The game utterly fails as a port. Atari 2600 games are expected to be inferior, but this one is garbage.

Documentation

Links