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Pac-Man Plus is an arcade game released by Bally Midway in 1982. It is a hack of Pac-Man that adds several new features. No dedicated Pac-Man Plus machine was ever created, so the game is only found in converted Pac-Man cabinets.

History

Starting in 1981, many bootleg hacks and modifications of Pac-Man were being released. These were easily installed into arcade machines, and altered various functions of the game (different mazes, faster speeds, etc). Many of these were borderline unplayable, and could have hurt the Pac-Man brand if wide distribution continued.

To combat this, Midway decided to release their own "official" modified Pac-Man kit, in hopes that arcade operators would see it as a cheap, less shady option to install into the aging machine. This strategy seems to have been moderately successful, but in the end the bootleg "fast speed" hack was still the most popular Pac-Man modification. (Midway eventually began selling their own version of the speedup kit, which was identical to the bootleg.)

Gameplay

Pac-Man Plus

Despite advertising stating that the game was "Exciting!" and "New!", Pac-Man Plus is essentially identical to the original Pac-Man, with only minor gameplay tweaks and altered graphics. These are the features found in Plus that aren't in the original game.

  • The ghosts‘ eyes are closer together.
  • The maze is green instead of blue.
  • Eating a Power Pellet can sometimes only turn three ghosts blue instead of all four, or even make the maze invisible.
  • Blue ghosts are now smaller in size and have leaves sticking out of their heads.
  • Most of the fruit graphics are changed, and the ghost graphics are slightly altered as well.
  • When a fruit is eaten, the ghosts become invisible. If you run into the spot where they are, you will eat them (just like with a Power Pellet, but the score counter is doubled).

Scoring System

Ms. Pac-Man Plus

Ms. Pac-Man Plus

A game titled Ms. Pac-Man Plus was released seemingly around the same time as Pac-Man Plus. As its name implies, it is a "plus" version of Ms. Pac-Man.

The game is credited to Midway, but is of rather poor quality, to the point where it resembles a bootleg hack. But as their name is intact on both the title screen and marquee, it is more likely that it was an actual Midway release, possibly only test-marketed in select arcades before fading into obscurity. There is also evidence it could be legit, because certain ads for Ms. Pac-Man used screenshots from Ms. Pac-Man Plus. This could also just be a mistake.

Ms. Pac-Man Plus is just maze hack of the original game, lacking the extra features seen in Pac-Man Plus. The way the mazes were redone can lead to glitches, such as ghosts or fruit getting stuck within the maze's walls. All other features from Ms. Pac-Man remain intact, with no changes whatsoever.

Home Ports

Pac-Man Plus

  • Arcade1UP Machine
  • Mobile
  • Plug 'N Play TV Games

Because there were so few differences between Pac-Man and Pac-Man Plus, the game was never ported to home systems during its heyday. There are many homebrew versions of the game however - mostly hacks of already existing Pac-Man ports - including ones for the Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 7800 and ColecoVision.

Ms. Pac-Man Plus

Unsurprisingly, no home ports of Ms. Pac-Man Plus were released. As with Pac-Man Plus, there are several homebrew-hacked versions, for the Atari 7800 (renamed to "Ms. Pac-Attack") and NES.

Play Online

Clicking the game title will lead you to a playable online version of it from archive.org (mobile compatibility may vary).

Trivia

  • Several promotional pictures/packaging for Ms. Pac-Man-related products use a Ms. Pac-Man Plus screenshot instead of the original game. This is seemingly done by accident, but it may further indicate that the title was, in some way, legitimate.[1]
  • This is the first game to feature Hanna-Barbera Pac-Man style artwork.
  • Very little is known about Ms. Pac-Man Plus, as the actual release date even remains unknown.
    • This is likely because it never got any true home ports.
    • This also could be because it was not an official game made by Namco.

Gallery

Machine and Box Art

Character Artwork

References

  1. Example usage: Ms. Pac-Man Plus screenshot used on a Pac-Man's Arcade Party stock image. http://bandainamco-am.com/games/pacmanapbartop/images/PMAP_BARTOP_CONCEPT_FLAT1.jpg
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