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For other uses of Pac-Man, see Pac-Man (disambiguation).

Pac-Man (パックマン Pakkuman), originally known as Puckman in Japan, is the initial game in the Pac-Man series. It was created by Toru Iwatani and released by Namco in 1980, and it was published by Bally Midway for U.S. distribution. The game would go on to become a cultural icon worldwide.

Namechange

Pac-Man was originally released under the English name "Puckman". The game's katakana was actually closer to "Pack Man", meaning the original name was likely translated incorrectly. Upon its release in the US, the name was changed to "Pac-Man" due to fear of vandalism of the "P" in "Puck" being changed into an "F". Presumably due to this actually being closer to the intended name, the name was changed to Pac-Man in Japan for subsequent sequels and re-releases.

Gameplay

The player guides the titular Pac-Man through a maze to eat Pac-Dots; when all dots are eaten, Pac-Man is taken to the next stage. Four ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde roam the maze, trying to catch Pac-Man - if a ghost touches him, a life is lost. When all lives have been lost, the game ends.

Near the corners of the maze are four larger, flashing dots known as Power Pellets, provide Pac-Man with the temporary ability to eat the ghosts. The ghosts turn deep blue, reverse direction, and move slower when Pac-Man eats one. When a ghost is eaten, its eyes return to the ghost home where it is regenerated in its normal color. Blue ghosts flash white before they become dangerous again.

The amount of time the ghosts remain vulnerable varies from one round to the next, but the time period generally becomes shorter as the game progresses. In later stages, the ghosts don't change colors at all, but still reverse direction when a power pellet is eaten.

In addition to Pac-Dots and Power Pellets, bonus items, usually referred to as Fruits (though not all items are fruits) appear near the center of the maze. These items score extra bonus points when eaten. The items change and bonus values increase throughout the game.

A series of intermissions play after certain levels toward the beginning of the game, showing a humorous set of interactions. There are three total, appearing after levels 2, 5, and 9. The third intermission appears several times afterward on later levels.

Pac-Man is awarded a single bonus life at 10,000 points by default. However, DIP switches inside the machine can change the required points (15,000 or 20,000) or disable the bonus life altogether.
PacMaze

The original maze.

Scoring System

Ghosts

The four ghosts, formerly known as "monsters", are the enemies in the original arcade game. They cycle through different "modes" of behavior, colloquially known as "scatter"–where they retreat to the four corners of the maze–and "chase"–where their A.I. kicks in. Each ghost has unique A.I., programmed so that the game would not get impossibly difficult or boring.

There are certain one-way areas on the maze–namely, the two "T" formations located directly above and below the Ghost Home (the box in the center of the stage)–that the ghosts can travel down through, but can't go up through. There are also two entrances to a tunnel on either side of the maze that Pac-Man can travel through and come out the opposite side of the screen on, which will slow the ghosts down if they enter it. Yet another advantage Pac-Man has over the quartet is that he can turn slightly faster. Once each ghosts' mannerisms are fully learned, they can be easily manipulated by the player to get a very high score. Here is a breakdown of each ghosts' behavior when in chase mode, generally speaking:

  • the red ghost, Blinky, doggedly pursues Pac-Man;
  • the pink ghost, Pinky, tries to ambush Pac-Man by moving parallel to him;
  • the cyan ghost, Inky, tends not to chase Pac-Man directly unless Blinky is near;
  • the orange ghost, Clyde, pursues Pac-Man when far from him, but usually wanders away when he gets close.

Here is a set of all of the ghosts' character names (hinting at their behavior), and nicknames. (The alternate names for Puck Man are triggered through a DIP switch.)

Color Puck Man Pac-Man
Character Nickname Alternate
character
Alternate
nickname
Character Nickname
Red Oikake Akabei Urchin Macky Shadow Blinky
Pink Machibuse Pinky Romp Micky Speedy Pinky
Cyan Kimagure Aosuke Stylist Mucky Bashful Inky
Orange Otoboke Guzuta Crybaby Mocky Pokey Clyde
PACMAN lastLevel 01

Split-screen level

Main Article: Map 256 Glitch

When the player gets to the 256th level, while the left side of the maze is fine, the right side becomes a garbled mess of code, therefore making the level impossible. The right side has some Pac-Dots too, but only 9, and some are inedible. The right side of the screen also traps the ghosts and can make Pac-Man go off the screen. If one uses a hack to skip the level, then the game goes back to the first level. Because of this bug, a perfect game only counts the first 255 levels. This is more commonly known as a kill screen.

This level later inspired its own separate game, called Pac-Man 256.

Home Ports

Pac-Man first appeared on home consoles in 1981, and has appeared on nearly every system since. The game has been released for the following systems and devices in some way, shape or form.

  • Android
    • Delisted from the Google Play Store and replaced with Pac-Man + Tournaments in 2013.
    • This version was notably the first game ever released on the Android platform.[1]
  • Amstrad CPC
    • Possibly bootleg in origin, or an unreleased prototype.
    • Nearly identical to the Atari 400/800/XL/XE version.
  • Apple II
    • Rebranded version of Taxman, a bootleg Pac-Man port released in 1981. Atari forced Taxman developer H.A.L. Labs to stop production of the game, and Atarisoft released it as a licensed Pac-Man port in 1983.
  • Arcade1UP Machine
    • Four models were produced: a standard upright machine, a bartop machine, a cocktail table, and one that hangs on a wall.
  • Atari 400/800/XL/XE
  • Atari 2600
    • The most infamous port of the game, with many differences from the original (see this page for more info).
  • Atari 5200
  • Bally Astrocade
    • A semi-official port of the game by Bally Midway, which was renamed "Muncher" due to fear of legal action from Atari.
    • Pac-Man stops in place when the joystick is let go of, rather than continuing to move like in all other versions.
  • BlackBerry
  • ColecoVision
    • A canceled port from Atarisoft, which was planned for a 1983 release. Its cancellation was due to being arguably superior to the Atari 5200 version, with Atari believing that releasing the game would have effected sales of their own console(s). A prototype version has been dumped.[2]
      • The "arcade-perfect" Pac-Man being exclusive to the 5200 was also extensively used in marketing by Atari against Coleco, even insulting their own 2600 version in the process.
  • Commodore 64
  • Commodore VIC-20
    • Two versions were released, with a very complicated history. A licensed Japanese port was released in 1981 by HAL Laboratory, which was very arcade-accurate for the time period. In North America, it was published without license by Commodore themselves under the name Jelly Monsters; Atari quickly took legal action against this port, and it was removed from stores. Atari released their own unique port of Pac-Man for the VIC-20 in 1983, which was not nearly as accurate as HAL's version.
      • Atari's port features a different maze compared to other versions of Pac-Man.
  • Evercade
    • Included in Namco Museum Collection 1.
  • Famicom/NES
    • Developed and published by Namco for the Famicom in 1984. The game was released by Tengen for the NES overseas in 1987, in two different cartridge variants. A Namco-published NES version was released in 1993. In Australia, the game was released by H.E.S. in "piggyback" format (where there is a cartridge slot on the cartridge itself, requiring another game to be on top).
  • FM-7
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • FM-77
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • Game Boy
  • Game Boy Color
    • Released as Pac-Man: Special Color Edition, which also included Pac-Attack.
    • Same port as the original Game Boy version, only colorized.
  • Game Boy Advance
    • Three versions were released. The arcade version was included in Pac-Man Collection and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary; both compilations have the game emulated slightly differently from each other. The Famicom/NES port of Pac-Man was released as a standalone Game Boy Advance cartridge as part of the Classic NES Series/Famicom Mini line.
  • GameCube
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and was featured as a bonus game in Pac-Man World 2 and 3.
  • Game Gear
  • Handheld LCD Games
    • Many different handheld LCD games have been released, the earliest being the Tomy LSI Game from 1981.
    • The ports included greatly vary between units. The majority of earlier systems took creative liberties when porting the game, and feature many differences when compared to the original. Later consoles (such as the MGA "Classic Arcade" version) are much more accurate conversions.
    • Most Pac-Man LCD games are in black-and-white, but a handful were in color.
  • IBM PC
    • Colors are very off due to the limitations of the hardware.
  • Intellivision
    • Features a different maze compared to other versions of Pac-Man.
  • iOS (iPhone, iPad, etc.)
    • Delisted from the App Store and replaced with Pac-Man + Tournaments in 2013.
  • iPod Classic
  • Mobile
  • MSX
  • MZ-700
    • Maze is turned on its side.
    • Features very basic, blocky graphics. If an external PCG chip was installed to the PC, the graphics appear more accurate to the original.
  • MZ-1500
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • MZ-2000
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • Nelsonic Digital Watch
    • Watches featuring an LCD-based conversion of Pac-Man.
    • Two watches were released. One features the Tomy LSI Game version of Pac-Man, and is controlled by four directional buttons. The other features a modified version of Tomy Watchman: Monster Hero, and is controlled using a small joystick.
      • The latter model came with four joystick tops colored after the four ghosts.
  • Neo Geo Pocket Color
  • Nintendo 64
    • Included in Namco Museum 64.
  • Nintendo DS
    • Three versions were released. The game was included as an unlockable bonus game in Pac 'n Roll and Pac-Man World 3. It was later featured in Namco Museum DS.
  • Nintendo 3DS
    • Four versions were released. There were two Virtual Console versions: Pac-Man for Game Boy and Pac-Man for Famicom/NES. The original arcade version was included in Pac-Man & Galaga Dimensions and Pac-Man Party 3D.
    • Additionally, the 3DS version of Pac-Man Museum was going to feature the arcade game, but this port was canceled alongside the Wii U version.
  • Nintendo Switch
    • Included in Namco Museum.
  • PC-6001
  • PC-8001
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • PC-88
    • Maze is turned on its side.
  • PC-98
  • PlayStation
    • Two identical versions were released, which were included in Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World.
  • PlayStation 2
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and was featured as a bonus game in Pac-Man World 2 and 3.
  • PlayStation 3
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum Essentials and Pac-Man Museum. There were two PS one Classics versions: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • PlayStation 4
    • Released as a standalone digital release titled Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man.
  • PlayStation Portable
    • Three versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum Battle Collection (Namco Museum 1 in Japan and Korea). There were two PS one Classics versions: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • PlayStation Vita
    • Two versions were released via PS one Classics: Namco Museum Vol. 1 and Pac-Man World, both of which feature the original game.
  • Plug 'N Play TV Games
    • Many different Plug 'N Plays featuring Pac-Man have been released (see this page for full list), the earliest being Namco Arcade Classics from 2003.
    • The original systems were released by Jakks Pacific, and featured a port very close to the arcade version. Consoles from the 2010s onward were from different manufacturers, and often feature the Famicom/NES version.
  • Pocket Player (My Arcade)
    • Included in the Pac-Man Pocket Player.
    • Features a seemingly original port running on Sega Genesis hardware.
  • Sega Genesis/Mega Drive
    • Included as a bonus game in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures; was never released in a standalone form.
    • Similar to the Famicom/NES version, but features slightly updated graphics and a high-score table.
  • Sega Dreamcast
    • Included in Namco Museum.
  • Sharp X1
  • Sharp X68000
    • Included as a bonus game bundled with the X68000 port of Pac-Mania.
    • The ghost AI is very off, with the ghosts rarely attacking Pac-Man.
  • Super Famicom/SNES
    • Included as a bonus game in Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures/Hello, Pac-Man!; was never released in a standalone form.
    • Similar to the Famicom/NES version, but features slightly updated graphics and a high-score table.
  • Tabletop Arcade Machines
    • Many different tabletop arcade machines have been released, the earliest being the Coleco Tabletop from 1981.
    • The majority of units from the 1980s to the 2000s ran on handheld LCD technology. More recent consoles often either feature the Famicom/NES version (ex: Pac-Man Micro Player) or use a custom port loosely resembling the arcade version (ex: Stranger Things Palace Arcade).
    • The Namco Museum Mini Player is the only tabletop to feature the actual arcade version.
  • TI-99/4A
  • VR Headset (Oculus)
    • Included in Oculus Arcade.
    • Says Puckman on the title screen, making it the only post-1980s port to do so.
    • Sound is very high-pitched.
  • Wii
    • Three versions were released. The first of these was for the Virtual Console, which was the Famicom/NES version. The other two were included in Namco Museum Megamix and Pac-Man Party, both of which use the arcade original.
  • Wii U
    • Two versions were released, both for the Virtual Console: Pac-Man for the Famicom/NES and Pac-Man Collection for the Game Boy Advance.
    • Additionally, the Wii U version of Pac-Man Museum was going to feature the arcade game, but this port was canceled alongside the Nintendo 3DS version.
  • Windows PC
    • Numerous conversions were released, from Windows 95 to Windows 10. The earliest of these was Microsoft Return of Arcade from 1996.
    • Due to the more powerful architecture of computers compared to consoles at the time, all ports were straight emulations of the arcade version, with little to no differences (the only exception being the bonus version included in Pac-Man World 2).
  • Windows Phone
  • Xbox
    • Four versions were released. The game was included in Namco Museum and Namco Museum 50th Anniversary, and was featured as a bonus game in Pac-Man World 2 and 3.
  • Xbox 360
    • Three versions were released. The game was released as a standalone digital release through the Xbox Live service. It was also included in Namco Museum Virtual Arcade (in which it is the same as the Xbox Live version) and Pac-Man Museum.
  • Xbox One
    • Released as a standalone digital release titled Arcade Game Series: Pac-Man.
  • ZX Spectrum

Homebrew versions of Pac-Man have also been released for the Atari 7800, Fairchild Channel F, and MS-DOS, alongside countless "improved" versions of Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 (one of which, Pac-Man 4K, was officially licensed by Bandai Namco).

Other versions

There are many variations of Pac-Man that are fundamentally the same as the original game, but feature several differences that make them stand out. These games include:

In other games

The first Pac-Man is also featured in some newer games in the series. The following Pac-Man games contain the original arcade version.

Namco Museum port

This version of the game, introduced in Namco Museum Volume 1 (1995), is notable for being perhaps the most frequently rereleased "official" version of Pac-Man from 1995 to 2005. This version of the game often featured a border based on the classic Puckman artwork surrounding it. Being based off the original's source code, it is mostly faithful to the arcade version, but a few things were altered in gameplay:

  • Pinky always aims exactly four spaces in front of Pac-Man when in chase mode (in the original, this became four spaces up and four spaces to the left when Pac-Man was facing up, due to a glitch).
  • Inky's behavior has been considerably altered; he exclusively aims for Blinky's position in chase mode.
  • The ghosts' eyes will not travel up through the one-way paths when returning to regenerate.
  • When a ghost is sent back to the Ghost Home to regenerate, they will always come back out instantly, even if Pac-Man lost a life on the current round. (Incidentally, this fixes a glitch that can occur in the original where Pac-Man can trap Pinky, Inky, and Clyde in the Ghost Home.)
  • Ghosts will exit the Ghost Home to the right if their target position happens to be there. In the original game, they will only exit to the right if the behavior mode (i.e. scatter, chase, frightened) changes while they are in the Ghost Home.
  • If a bonus fruit appears and Pac-Man eats a ghost, the timer that controls how long the fruit stays onscreen halts with everything else. This makes it impossible for fruit to disappear while Pac-Man is eating a ghost.

Most releases of Pac-Man after 2005 are either completely accurate recreations of the arcade version or the original ROM (both cases with references to Midway removed); as such, the ghosts all behave as they originally did, and any patterns applicable to the original version will work on these. The Namco Museum 50th Anniversary and Xbox Live Arcade versions were among of the first of them. The latter featured an updated screen border using artwork from Pac-Man World instead of being based on the original Puckman design.

Play Online

These versions of Pac-Man are either listed in the public domain or are considered abandonware. Clicking the game title will lead you to a playable online version of it from archive.org (mobile compatibility may vary).

Trivia

Google Pac-man

Google's Pac-Man game as their logo to celebrate Pac-Man's 30th anniversary.

  • For the game's 30th anniversary, Google briefly updated their homepage on May 21, 2010 for 48 hours to allow players to play a version of Pac-Man in a maze based off of the Google Logo. This version plays exactly like the original (including Ghost A.I.), but with the following differences:
    • If "Insert Coin" is clicked after the game has started, the Ms. Pac-Man theme plays and two players may then play cooperatively as Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man. The two play exactly the same except for sound effects made when munching dots.
    • The maze, as aforementioned, is derived from the Google logo, and it is no longer symmetrical.
    • There are five power pellets instead of four.
    • The Google version of Pac-Man has been made permanently available here.
  • According to Toru Iwatani, Namco initially told him to make the ghosts all the same color - red. Toru refused the order, and on questionnaires to the game testers asking if they would want only red-colored ghosts, none of them did.[3]
  • The game features a rare glitch where Pac-Man can walk through a ghost.
  • Pac-Man, Pac-Man Plus, and Pac-Man Arrangement are the only games in the series to formally feature the ghosts' "character" names.
  • The Namco Classic Collection Vol. 2 version of Pac-Man featured a mix of the Puck Man alternate character names and the Pac-Man nicknames as the new default for international audiences. This is the only version of the game to do so, as any other versions either port over the Pac-Man or Puck Man default names (for worldwide and Japan, respectively).
  • The Xbox Live Arcade version of Pac-Man features an arcade cabinet in the background of its title screen. It is quite clearly based off of the Puck Man cabinet, but taking a closer look at it will show that all instances of "Puck Man" are replaced with "Pac-Man", and all of the art of Pac-Man on the cabinet has a shorter nose (not unlike the Namco Museum screen border).
  • Pac 'n Roll reveals that the game takes place on the Pac-Moon.
  • The maximum score in the arcade version is 3,333,360 points, because of the glitched screen at Level 256.

Gallery

Screenshots

Machine and Box Art

Character Artwork

External links

References

  1. "Google's Android operating system launched yesterday with a decidedly underwhelming games line-up of, er, just Pac-Man." https://kotaku.com/gameloft-glu-announce-android-games-452594236
  2. https://atariage.com/forums/topic/182946-atarisoft-coleco-titles/?do=findComment&comment=2369557
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20110307134412/http://blog.games.yahoo.com/blog/443-five-things-you-never-knew-about-pac-man
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