Review: Pac-Man

Review: Pac-Man

In 1980, a horrifying plague covered the entire world. It’s name? Pac-man fever!

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Year: 1980

Played on: Namco Museum (PS2)

Also on: Literally Everything

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Midway

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PAC MAN! AH AAAH! CHAMPION OF THE SUN! YOUR’RE A MASTER OF KARATE AND FRIENDSHIP FOR EVERYONE!

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Date posted: November 27, 2017

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PREMISE

Wait. Why am I even writing this review? You know who he is, what he stands for. No, not Donald Trump- Pac Man! (Thought i’m sure both are haunted by ghosts!)

There is no reason for this review to exist. Everyone and their mother has played this 1980’s arcade classic. It’s pretty much on every system, console, handheld, and PC every created- it has to be the most ported game of all time, right behind Tetris.

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The lives Pac-Man Fever took were in the millions….

In case you didn’t know what Pac-Man is about, let me fill you in. You play as this little yellow guy who goes around in this maze eating these dots. However, he is not alone- four ghosts haunt him, mostly because they’re dicks, and try to kill him for being such a glutton. The only weapon against them is the all mighty power pellet- when eaten, allows Pac-Man to eat the ghost, who have turned blue. Also, fruits will appear ever so often, allowing you to gain points.

The game may seem simple, but it really isn’t-each ghost has it own moves, covered below in the PROS section. The game gets faster and faster as it progresses, and no, there are no continues- you only get three lives with bonus ones awarded so often.

Some more random trivia about Pac-Man you may have not heard- did you know that it made more money then the first Star Wars movie in its first year? Or that Clyde’s Japanese nickname translates to ‘Feigned Ignorance’? How about the time Ronald Reagan personally congratulated the then current record holder, Jeffrey R. Yee, though an official letter? Theres so much to actually talk about such a simple game! Thanks, Wikipedia!

PROS

Pac-man is the ultimate pick up and play game- almost anyone can play it for the first time and know exactly what to do. The games brilliant design demonstrates exactly what needs to be done- from the get go, you see that Pacman is eating the dots. The player thinks about what happens if he or she should eat all of them, coming to the conclusion that this is how you progress. Even further, when a power pellet is eaten, the ghosts turn blue and retreat- giving the player the notion that the ghosts are afraid. Running into these blue ghosts, and the player learns that they can be eaten. I know I sound like a smart ass, but to be fair, Pacman is a smartly designed game!

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The Usual Suspects

Add to this the ghost AI and you actually have even more depth- each ghost has their own attitude! Blinky, the red ghost, for example, will constantly chase the player where ever he or she may wander. Pinky would aim for Pacman mouth, causing her to corner the player ever so often. Inky, the blue ghost, would either give chase or run away from Pacman, whatever he felt like at the moment, and Clyde’s a f@#king idiot- going randomly wherever he wants. What a tool!

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Pacman is most recognizable then Jesus- FACT! (Gets struck by lightning)

The game is almost infinity re playable- easy to pick up, but hard to master. You can play a few rounds for a lunch break, or have hardcore sessions trying to see if you can top Billy Mitchell’s impossibly high score- the game is open to every kind of person, it seems. Its no wonder it’s still the most popular game after all this time- it still holds up, even 37 years after it’s initial release- a true classic!

CONS

It never ends, well technically anyway. At around level 256, the game pretty much becomes unplayable. The now infamous kill screen, it was called, halted the player by presenting them with a broken mess of sprites and such, rendering the game unbeatable.

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Can it really be a con if most players can’t achieve it?

Another con I can think of is that power pellet become useless at around Round 19- the ghosts simply reverse their direction for a bit before they continue. Brutal!

Also, the maze never changes- I guess this is understandable- it was 1980 after all, and games could only do so much- its just a change of scenery every now and then would have been nice. This, however, was remedied in the excellent Ms. Pacman, so it’s all good.

FINAL VERDICT

I think I could go on forever on how great Pac-Man is. Though it’s a bit basic, it still holds up very well, even today. There have been so many versions of Pac-Man, that I have no idea which one I should recommend. I’d just say pick up any version of Namco Museum you can find- Virtual Arcade on the Xbox 360 being the most complete one so far. Or, you can play the Google version here– one that a lot of people seem to love as well.

Whatever version you choose, it’s clear that PacMan is here to stay, and is defiantly going in the halls of one of the most important games ever made. Everyone who says other wise is just another ghost.

7score

Agree? Disagree? Good! Leave a comment about how terrible my taste is in the comments below!

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