Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pac Man (Atari 2600) Review


Pac-Man is a video game published by Atari and released for the Atari 2600 in 1982. This game, a port of the smash hit arcade game by Namco, was the best selling Atari 2600 game and sold over 7 million copies but has a bad reputation. Let's find out if it's warranted.

You play as Pac-Man, a yellow pizza wheel with slice missing which acts like a mouth. He's hungry and goes around the screen eating pellets called wafers but there are four mean ghosts that want to stop Pac-Man from eating his meal.


You begin the game with four lives and earn another each time you pass a screen. Pac Man's job is to eat all the pellets on the screen without letting the ghosts kill him. When you get them all the screen changes to another level, basically the same screen reset and the ghosts move towards you quicker.


There are four power pills located in the four corners of the screen and when you eat one the ghosts turn bluish and if you touch them you get extra points. This is the purpose of this game, points. There is no ending which is how most arcade and Atari 2600 games of this era worked. Underneath the box in the center of the screen, the box the ghosts come out of is a big "vitamin" pill that gets you 100 points.


The gameplay in this game isn't the greatest, especially if you play the arcade version before the Atari version. It's clunky and just doesn't feel very good but that isn't the biggest problem with this game. This game looks and sounds bad. Bad even for Atari games. The game also has a lot of flickering which doesn't do it any favors. Below is a shot from the original arcade game.


The Atari 2600 was known to have inferior graphics to the arcade versions and I'm sure people that played this when it was new would excuse that but since the controls weren't there either Atari ended up with lots people pretty mad for buying this game thinking they would be getting a port that would compare to the arcade. This game, among others, help lead to the video game crash of 1983.


The question is, is this a good game? My answer is that it is playable and if you only had this one and never played the arcade version you'd probably be ok, maybe even happy with this. I had more fun playing this than Superman 64. The problem is if you played the arcade version before, or pretty much any other port, you'll find the Atari 2600 version the worst. Because of this, I rate Pac-Man for the Atari 2600 a 3 out of 10.

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