After neglecting writing about console games for the past 20 years or so, here’s not one, but two for the Atari 2600. One is Pac-Man, the other one a clone. Welcome to Pac-Manday.
Yes, this is the infamous port of Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. A port that was nothing like the Arcade game, which shouldn’t be that surprising, considering the hardware limitations of the 2600.
For everyone who never heard of Pac-Man (do you people really exist?)
let me just lazily copy and paste what I wrote for Pac-Mania here a brief explanation of what it’s about: You are Pac-Man, a 30-something, yellow medicine ball suffering from gluttony, always on the lookout for food. One day you find this awesome maze with all those delicious food pellets inside, and that’s just too much for you to resist. Unbeknownst to you, the maze is guarded by a bunch of old-school ghosts, prepared to hunt down anyone who dares to nick those pellets. [Source: The Life Of Pac-Man, Vol. I]
Screenshots (click to enlarge)
If you had a closer look at those couple of images, you would’ve noticed that there’s only one ghost present. “One?! But wasn’t there like four of them in the Arcade game?” I hear you say. Don’t worry, there’s four ghosts, but thanks to the way the Atari port was programmed, only one at a time gets displayed every four frames, creating an ‘interesting‘ flicker effect.
Now, I could go on and talk about how this game was supposedly jointly responsible for the North American video game crash that started in ’83, together with the even more infamous E.T. on the same console [note to self: Put E.T. on shortlist], but I really don’t want to bore you with my unqualified drivel.
Nuff said, watch the video below to see flickering ghosts in action.
That was weird, wasn’t it? Anyhow, I actually did enjoy it on the 2600 somehow and, apart from those flickering enemies it wasn’t all bad. And if you can’t get enough of Pac-Man then read the next short article about one of its clones.