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I wonder what the arcade ports of Pac-Man, DK, etc would look like had early (80-84) Activision done them for the 2600.
Well, the 2600 version of Donkey Kong was done by an Activision co-founder Garry Kitchen in 1982. It seems the business constraints trickled down to constrain project resources (reduced memory size, development schedule). I'm not sure Activision developers would have done any better given the same requirements. Here's a Donkey Kong making-of written by Garry Kitchen himself.
Similarly with Pac-Man, if the non-game designers would not dictate game design requirements (only space games can have black background), we'd have a better game.