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What are the real facts behind Pac-Man’s 2600 development?


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#1 Arenafoot

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 02:00 AM

Interesting read:

 

http://ataribook.com...ns-development/

 

pacman_2600box-221x300.jpg


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consoles I own: Atari 2600 Vader & Jr. (short rainbow) w/box, GCE Vectrex, Radio Shack CoCo2 (64k) w/box, Intellivision, NES, SNES, N64 (x3), Xbox (Halo Ed.), PS1 (x3), PS2 slim, Wii, Mattel HyperScan (x2) handhelds I own: Microvision w/box, Electronic Football (by Sears) w/box, Tomytronic Pac-Man w/ box, Entex PacMan2, Coleco Donkey Kong tabletop w/box (w/ Coleco "Perma-Power" Adapter), & all MGA Classic Arcade's and Jakk's Pacific/TV Games Plug-n-Play.


#2 StormSurge

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Posted 25 September 2015 - 09:12 AM

The ghosts story is very interesting. I never heard the myth that Atari changed them from "monsters" to "ghosts".

 

Good stuff!


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#3 Yo-Yo

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 02:53 AM

Cool story. The guys who wrote that book can be excessively pompous to the rest of us though. If you don't know every detail of every story or you don't bow down to kiss the ring.... or say you'd like a refund for something you paid them $200 for in 2010 and never received.... then they talk down to you like you're a meaningless nothing of a person. Whip out an old Atari id badge though and it's a different story.


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#4 RickR

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Posted 26 September 2015 - 10:34 AM

The best part of this story is the marketing guy who pushed to not release it.  A few small changes would have made the game a lot better.  Black background, blue maze, for example.  And remove the eye on Pac-Man.  They do mention that a lot of other programmers thought it was a tremendous accomplishment on the 2600, and it is.  Especially when you consider it was Tod Frye's first game!  But that's the frustrating part....just a few small changes.....

 

One part I still don't understand is the lack of oversight at Atari.  It always seemed like the programmer didn't have to listen to any input from other developers or a supervisor.  The decisions they made went unchallenged.  I'm not sure if that's entirely accurate, but it seems to be implied in a lot of stories like this. 

 

This was a good read, and thanks for posting it.  :pac_man:


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#5 VicSage

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Posted 27 September 2015 - 06:33 AM

Some of this I had never heard before, thank you very much for sharing it Arenafoot!


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#6 LeeJ07

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Posted 30 September 2015 - 05:58 PM

Great to learn the real facts. The game really stood no chance in the court of public opinion.
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#7 Yo-Yo

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:04 AM

How would they have really known that though? Video games were still a brand new thing. These things were all being done for the very first time and this was one of the first times an arcade port of this importance had been done. Space Invaders was the first port of an arcade game that brought a lot of success to the 2600, and it was different than the arcade version.

You would think Atari's own play testing and focus groups would have resulted in a "Pac-Man that plays just like the real thing" but that wouldn't happen until the 5200. Because of that I say Tod Frye had more of a hand in the collapse of the video game market than Howard Scott Warshaw ever did.
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#8 RickR

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Posted 07 October 2015 - 10:18 AM

I say Tod Frye had more of a hand in the collapse of the video game market than Howard Scott Warshaw ever did.

 

:Howard_Scott_Warshaw: <-- BINGO!

:indiana_jones: <-- I agree

:yars_revenge: <-- Bzzkptpl Zypfflpztl (translation:  Tod Frye and my namesame Ray Kassar)


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#9 LeeJ07

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Posted 10 October 2015 - 12:56 AM

Hey now, I like Tod Frye.
"I'd buy that for a dollar!" -Smash T.V.

#10 atarilbc

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 01:48 PM

Excellent read. I still enjoy Tod Frye's Pac-Man. Its the version that I grew up with. Sure it could have been better with a few more tweaks and some different design decisions but it is still fun for what it is.

Did anyone else ever use the B&W switch when playing? It gives it a different look.
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#11 AlamoAtari

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 03:03 PM

I was forced as a kid to play my Atari on a black and white tv. My parents fell for the rumors about screen burn. I tried to tell them that it only happened when you play a single game for hours on end. Never got to play in color until the 90s.
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#12 atarilbc

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 05:08 PM

I was forced as a kid to play my Atari on a black and white tv. My parents fell for the rumors about screen burn. I tried to tell them that it only happened when you play a single game for hours on end. Never got to play in color until the 90s.


I gamed in B&W at home till '87 for this same reason.
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#13 RickR

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 05:15 PM

I was forced as a kid to play my Atari on a black and white tv. My parents fell for the rumors about screen burn. I tried to tell them that it only happened when you play a single game for hours on end. Never got to play in color until the 90s.

My parents relegated me to the basement TV for this same reason!  Initially, it was B&W, but they did upgrade to a "Sampo" 19" color shortly after.  I did get to put the 2600 on the big console TV upstairs once when I was really sick.  They took pity on me.  It was a rare snow day, and I wasn't allowed to go outside...so they let me game on the big tv instead.  I remember that day well.  A ton of Circus Atari was played that day. 


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#14 AlamoAtari

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 06:29 PM

Whoever thought of that crap needs a summary execution. I know several people who had to suffer from having to play on a black and white tv. I think that someone thought oh it's a great way to sell more tvs, but the pain and suffering.
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#15 greenween

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 09:22 PM

Hell,think I was 12 when this came out. At the time I loved it, it was freaking Pac Man at home. After a couple months and learning the pattern that repeated over and over again it lost it's appeal. I still pop it in from time to time. Pretty weak overall.


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#16 greenween

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 09:24 PM

I was not allowed to use the Atari on our color tv until 84' or so. It was beautiful!


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#17 AlamoAtari

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 09:45 PM

Was this thing perpetuated because of the burning that happened on arcade units? I remember the tvs at my work had a permanent burn from the CNN ticker being on almost 24 7 so I think it's possible, but you got to play a lot of the same game in order to do it. My parents were like we spent all this money on a tv, not going to have it ruined over a game.
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#18 RickR

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Posted 15 November 2015 - 10:21 PM

It was probably some of the earlier Pong machines that caused the fear.  I'm sure a rare few of them caused burn in if you played for several hours every day.


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#19 kamakazi20012

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 12:38 PM

I have to say that I was not immediately impressed with 2600's Pac-Man because I had the 5200 and 5200 Pac-Man.  So when I seen the 2600's Pac-Man it was disappointing visually.  Then I played it and immediately starting thinking about my Pac-Man at home.  Today I have the 2600 Pac-Man in my collection and I like it.  After that reading about the game I can appreciate the game more now.  Being a newbie 2600 developer at the time pretty much said it all.  Atari was also good at rushing projects so it is not surprising how many developers demonstrated their stuff only to have Atari release an unfinished product as finished.  2600 Pac-Man could have used a bit more polish but it is a good game...I just don't think I would have called it Pac-Man.  


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#20 Arenafoot

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Posted 10 December 2015 - 03:41 PM

 Atari was also good at rushing projects so it is not surprising how many developers demonstrated their stuff only to have Atari release an unfinished product as finished.  2600 Pac-Man could have used a bit more polish but it is a good game...I just don't think I would have called it Pac-Man.  

Thank goodness we now have the right version that Atari should have released  :pac_man:.  .  .  .  .  .  .  

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consoles I own: Atari 2600 Vader & Jr. (short rainbow) w/box, GCE Vectrex, Radio Shack CoCo2 (64k) w/box, Intellivision, NES, SNES, N64 (x3), Xbox (Halo Ed.), PS1 (x3), PS2 slim, Wii, Mattel HyperScan (x2) handhelds I own: Microvision w/box, Electronic Football (by Sears) w/box, Tomytronic Pac-Man w/ box, Entex PacMan2, Coleco Donkey Kong tabletop w/box (w/ Coleco "Perma-Power" Adapter), & all MGA Classic Arcade's and Jakk's Pacific/TV Games Plug-n-Play.





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