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PROOF That Ms. Pac-Man Should've Been The Atari 7800 Pack-In!


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As some of you know, I believe that Pole Position II was a poor choice to be the pack-in for the 7800. It was an okay game, but it didn't have the mass appeal like Super Mario on the NES did. I believe Ms. Pac-Man was the obvious choice from the early titles. It's a great port and was one of the most popular arcade games of all time.

 

Some may disagree, but now I have PROOF!!!!

 

This is from issue 85 of EGM with a cover date of August, 1996:

 

post-303-0-90871900-1494550687.jpg

 

Did you read that? It says that Ms. Pac-Man was a top 20 title on the Sega Genesis in sales 

And because of it's popularity, they where porting Ms. Pac-Man to the SNES  

And this was at a time when the Playstation, Saturn and N64 were battling  

 

So basically, a decade after the 7800 came out, Ms. Pac-Man was showing it's strength on the Genesis and SNES.

 

Can you name any other classic title that was doing that? I didn't find any articles about PP II racing away on the Genesis and bringing in the sales.

 

I'm not saying it would've made the 7800 anywhere near the level of the NES, but I wouldn't be surprised if it would've double 7800 system sales potentially leading to more games being made for the system and possibly a longer life.

 

Case closed  

 

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Pac-Man was a launch title for the 2600 for awhile. I don't have any statistics of how well that turned out. 

 

Pole Position 2 was an Atari title they didn't need to get a licence for and quite a graphical improvement over the 2600 version

 

Ms Pac-man for the 2600 is a terrific game. not sure what improvements there are for the 7800 release. 

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Pac-Man was a launch title for the 2600 for awhile. I don't have any statistics of how well that turned out. 

 

Pole Position 2 was an Atari title they didn't need to get a licence for and quite a graphical improvement over the 2600 version

 

Ms Pac-man for the 2600 is a terrific game. not sure what improvements there are for the 7800 release. 

 

Actually, PP2 was licensed from Namco, just as Ms. Pac-Man was. Odds are that they still had licenses lined up for home use when they 7800 system came out as both games came out for the 2600 before then.

 

Ms. Pac-Man on the 2600 is really good, but the 7800 really improves on it.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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I would agree that Ms. Pac-man would have made a better pack in...but only if the 7800 had been released originally in '84 as it was initially intended and he is why:

 

The 2600 eventually used pac-man as the pack in game, and pac-man eventually became a pack in for the 5200 as well. So it would have made complete since to have Ms. Pac-Man as the pack-in for the 7800 back in '84. 

 

However, I'm not as sure if Ms. Pac-man would have been a good pack-in when the 7800 was finally released in '86 and more mainstream by '88. Perhaps by then a different game to showcase the 7800 better should have been used. I've always thought that Food Fight or Xenophobe would have been good for this. Food Fight would have been fairly exclusive to the 7800 at that time, and if they used Xenophobe it would have been an excellent game to showcase the graphical power of the 7800 plus the fact it allowed two player simultaneous play. Part of the reason Combat was damn popular with everyone when the 2600 first came out was due to the fact that it was a two player game not just because it was the pack-in.

 

Just my opinion of course...

Edited by CrossBow

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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I'd have to agree, Ms. Pac-Man was a far more popular game.  It would have helped sales. 

 

Plenty.  The 7800 version is arcade accurate pretty much.

 

Totally agreed. As long as I've been on AtariAge (about 16 years) I've seen many homebrews and hacks to make Pac-Man more like the arcade version, but I've never seen someone try to do the same with Ms. Pac-Man. Yeah, Ms. on the 2600 is a much better version of Ms. Pac-Man than Pac-Man on the 2600 is of Pac-Man, but I agree with you, Doc -- there's plenty that can be done with Ms.:

 

- Add the intermissions (and include the little sound effect when Pac and Ms. bump into each other -- the only home version I've ever seen that has that little sound is the yet-to-be-released POKEY version of Pac-Man Collection! on the 7800)

- Make the mazes more faithful to both the layouts and the colors of the arcade mazes

- Maze changing patterns to match those of the arcade (2600 has it change every 2 mazes)

- Improve the randomization of the bonus prize after the banana

- Add the background noise

- And for extra measure, add some special features like configuring when you get a bonus life, high speed option, and maybe "plus" mode.

 

Sound like a lot? Sure. But look at what they did with Pac-Man 8k.

 

And I've said this before on a few occasions, but what I'd really LOVE to see is someone take the existing 2600 Ms. Pac-Man and turn it into a crappy version that would be similar to the Tod Frye Pac-Man. :)

 

 

However, I'm not as sure if Ms. Pac-man would have been a good pack-in when the 7800 was finally released in '86 and more mainstream by '88. Perhaps by then a different game to showcase the 7800 better should have been used. I've always thought that Food Fight or Xenophobe would have been good for this. Food Fight would have been fairly exclusive to the 7800 at that time, and if they used Xenophobe it would have been an excellent game to showcase the graphical power of the 7800 plus the fact it allowed two player simultaneous play.

 

I addressed this in the latest Pie Factory Podcast (or was it the previous one??), but...I don't think Food Fight as a 7800 pack-in would have been a good business move on Atari's part. It would definitely have sold the system, but...thing is, Food Fight is the killer app for the 7800. It would make a lot of the other games pale in comparison.

 

I agree with nsg's assertion that Ms. Pac-Man would have been a better pack-in. It's a game that most people are already familiar with, and it was one of the most successful arcade games of all time, if not the most successful arcade game of all time. Imagine....Christmas time, you get an Atari 7800 for Christmas, and it comes with Ms. Pac-Man. ANYBODY in the family with at least one hand and some mastery of motor skills can immediately fire up the new console and play the game.

 

But Pole Position II?? A racing game being played with the PainLine?? And of course, there's the OCD factor: well, where's the original Pole Position??? Where there's a II, you need a I.

 

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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Ms Pac Man was ported to many of the old systems, but it's amazing how hard it was to get the "feel" of the game just right.  A lot of the versions were too herky/jerky to be really fun. 

 

Someone mentioned the horrible Genesis version, and that's a good example.  Movement of MPM and the ghosts is not smooth enough.  SNES version is almost the same, but gets the smoother animation.  But that version is too slow. 

 

NES had a great version.  No complaints there. 

 

The one that blows me away is the version for original Gameboy.  It totally kicks butt over the Lynx and Game Gear versions (which have color and superior hardware).  But check it out....great graphics, great sound, perfect animation and control.  This version is one of my favorites.

 

2600/5200/7800 versions are all really great.  7800 especially gets the "feel" right, and the speed is fantastic.  Much faster than a lot of other versions. 

 

And then any system that gets a "Midway's Greatest Hits" or "Arcade Collection" pretty much got an arcade-perfect version of the game.  Most notable is for Gameboy Advance. 

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 Perhaps by then a different game to showcase the 7800 better should have been used. I've always thought that Food Fight or Xenophobe would have been good for this. 

 

 

I, for one, enjoy Food Fight more than Ms. Pac-Man, but the truth is Food Fight was not a well known title (even to this day, a lot of non-7800 players aren't aware the game even exists) and the screen shots alone aren't that catchy.  So while I would've liked it as a pack-in, I don't think it has the mass appeal.

 

Xenophobe was one of the later releases, so that would rule it out. Otherwise, I'd be all over a Ninja Golf 7800 System set with Europads thrown in! :rofl:

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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Xenophobe was one of the later releases, so that would rule it out. Otherwise, I'd be all over a Ninja Golf 7800 System set with Europads thrown in! :rofl:

 

And a lot of folks might have been disappointed with Xenophobe...I know Jimmy G has many times lamented that you can't be Dr. Kwack, for example...and one of the attractions about Xenophobe in the arcade was that you could play up to three players.

Supernatural, perhaps...baloney, perhaps not.

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And a lot of folks might have been disappointed with Xenophobe...I know Jimmy G has many times lamented that you can't be Dr. Kwack, for example...and one of the attractions about Xenophobe in the arcade was that you could play up to three players.

 

My point in mentioning Xenophobe was that it would have been better to include it to compare and compete against the NES version since I think most people would agree that the 7800 version is superior to the NES version?

 

But now that I really think about it... Xevious might have been another good one to include as a pack-in. Again it would compete well against the NES version and was definitely around at the time of the 7800s earlier releases right? 

See what I'm up to over at the Ivory Tower Collections: http://www.youtube.com/ivorytowercollections

 

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What ^^ Lost Dragon said.

 

Super Mario Bros was the killer app that sold the NES.  Without something similar for the 7800 (pack in or not), the 7800 was destined to lose the battle.  Which hardware was superior...who was priced lower....who was in what stores....all of that does not matter without the killer app. 

 

Sega Master System is the same.  No SMB...no win. 

Edited by RickR
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Unfortunately, the pack-in was decided for 1984 and there were no NES style games until much later on. Most of the NES style games did not come out until the very end as it took awhile for Atari to realize what gamers wanted.

 

With that being said, here were the games they had ready for the launch to choose for a pack in:

Centipede

Asteroids (UK Pack-In)

Dig Dug

Food Fight

Galaga

Joust

Ms. Pac-Man

Pole Position II

Robotron 2084

Xevious

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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After seeing the list of games available as pack-in (though I"m kind of confused since all the games seem to be listed as released in 1987) Ms. Pac-Man definitely would have been the title to go with. I was going to say Xenophobe too but realized that was also released in 1987, though maybe just due to the launch time of the 7800 itself, I don't know. I played Pole Position II once... and it was awful. ;-) but really, once you play Rad Racer on the NES, nothing compares and you quickly equate the gameplay of still stuck in the earlier 80s. It's no surprise Nintendo become the giant it did. 

 

Punch Out

Marble Madness

Mario Bros x 3

Rad Racer

Tetris

Off Road

 

I see MotorPsycho and shame Atari for their attempt to re-use Pole Position and turn it into a motorcycle game. 

 

One can't help but wonder what Nintendo would've been capable of producing for the 7800 if they owned the hardware. Then I'm just reminded about just how crippled the 7800 was.... released 3-years too late, forced to be backwards compatible with 2600, no amazing Pokey chip included on the unit itself. You have to be kind of amazed that it even got released at all by that time. Clearly shows that Jack didn't understand the value of fun games over amazing hardware. 

2600 - 7800 - 800XL - 130XE - Lynx - Jaguar

cerka.weebly.com

 

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After seeing the list of games available as pack-in (though I"m kind of confused since all the games seem to be listed as released in 1987) Ms. Pac-Man definitely would have been the title to go with. I was going to say Xenophobe too but realized that was also released in 1987, though maybe just due to the launch time of the 7800 itself, I don't know. 

 

One can't help but wonder what Nintendo would've been capable of producing for the 7800 if they owned the hardware. Then I'm just reminded about just how crippled the 7800 was.... released 3-years too late, forced to be backwards compatible with 2600, no amazing Pokey chip included on the unit itself. You have to be kind of amazed that it even got released at all by that time. Clearly shows that Jack didn't understand the value of fun games over amazing hardware. 

 

Ms. Pac-Man was actually released in 1984 for the limited run launch and then again in 1986. However, you can find labels that say 1987, since every year the made more cartridges, they printed the new year on the label.

 

Xenophobe was released in the arcade in 1987, but didn't come to the 7800 until 1989, the same year the Sega Genesis came out  :o

 

I too wish they had a Pokey sound chip on the 7800, but that decision was not Jack's fault, since it was made and released before he bought the company. I do wish he worked out a way to have released the 7800 sooner, but at least he eventually did. Being a computer guy, there was always a chance he could've only used the Atari name for computers only.

The No Swear Gamer on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChtJuo040EOCTVziObIgVcg

Host of The Atari 7800 Game by Game Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and YouTube

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The talk of POKEY has always been an odd one to me.  POKEY was already 7 years old when the 7800 came out.  How expensive could it have been to not just throw one in?  Pound foolish, penny wise.  Furthermore, Commodore set the standard with the SID chip after POKEY came out, so it begs the question of why didn't they try making something even better than that?  Aim higher.  That was OLD Atari's mantra.  Bigger, better!

 

It's kind of fun to play these "What if" games...but a lot of this stuff just makes you shake your head sadly. 

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As some of you know, I believe that Pole Position II was a poor choice to be the pack-in for the 7800. It was an okay game, but it didn't have the mass appeal like Super Mario on the NES did. I believe Ms. Pac-Man was the obvious choice from the early titles. It's a great port and was one of the most popular arcade games of all time.

 

Some may disagree, but now I have PROOF!!!!

 

This is from issue 85 of EGM with a cover date of August, 1996:

 

attachicon.gifCCI05112017.jpg

 

Did you read that? It says that Ms. Pac-Man was a top 20 title on the Sega Genesis in sales  :o

And because of it's popularity, they where porting Ms. Pac-Man to the SNES  :o  :o

And this was at a time when the Playstation, Saturn and N64 were battling  :o  :o  :o

 

So basically, a decade after the 7800 came out, Ms. Pac-Man was showing it's strength on the Genesis and SNES.

 

Can you name any other classic title that was doing that? I didn't find any articles about PP II racing away on the Genesis and bringing in the sales.

 

I'm not saying it would've made the 7800 anywhere near the level of the NES, but I wouldn't be surprised if it would've double 7800 system sales potentially leading to more games being made for the system and possibly a longer life.

 

Case closed  :D

 they should have done that for sure. when the tramiels took over, they told me in one warehouse alone, there was five million new in the box atari 7800 ms. pacmans.

 

 it would have been a good way to get rid of them. by the end of the line of the 7800, they still had five million unsold various 7800 games, including a large amount of ms. pacmans, they offered them to me in the early 1990's, i turned them down, to many for me to warehouse. they ended up in a liquidator's cave system in i think it was kansas, name escapes me now, it was o'shay that's it.

 

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

VIDEO 61 & ATARI SALES
www.atarisales.com
22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079
651-462-2500

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Even bearing in mind the 7800 hardware being set in stone, Atari could of done far more to showcase that it's system could take on the NES and the Master System, yes it would of meant pumping money into it, but once you made the decision to enter the fight with Sega and Nintendo, you had to bring your very biggest guns.

 

 

Even putting MS Pac-Man in as the in-pack game would only generate the inital momentum sales, you had to build up a good head of steam in order to maintain consumer confidence and Atari failed to even stoke the boilers in my eyes.

 

Pokey produced far better audio in my experiences than the standard MS sound chip, so it needed to be rolled out on all the flagship 7800 titles and a lot made of how 7800 games (using it) sounded compared to Master system games.

 

Nintendo and Sega between them had the cream of software developers tied up, but Atari did make a key players in form of:

 

 

Sculptured Software, Tynesoft, Tiertex, Imagitec, but even here they fumbled oh so badly.

 

Why on earth have your key developers doing things like Commando on platforms that are competing with each other? considering A8 Commando never saw a release, all that coding/play testing time? wasted.

 

Why buy into imagitec Design's claims they could handle multiple 7800 projects at once? why even bother trying to convert Pitfighter to 7800? hardware isn't geared up to sprite scale large, digitised sprites, just have they finish 7800 Rampart, see how they perform before giving them future projects? at least by going the 1 game only route, you have something to give consumers...

 

If you cannot get Gradius or Star Solider, yet Tynesoft have 2 showcase clones in the making...Sirius and Plutos, fund the damn things, ensure developer has your full support....every tool etc they need.

 

 

Decide just what kind of games you want to provide...

 

So you've Pole Position II, yet wait MS has Hang-On, but your not going to do a straight clone you want your title to appear edgy, more teen market (yet your telling Press the 7800 as a replacement for aging 2600, is aimed at Under 10's....) so you bring out Motor Psycho....NES has Road Blasters...so you have Fatal Run..again, with that p*ss poor attempt to have a more dangerous title...

 

How about you ensure both bloody games use the hardware well, have decent controls, enjoyable gameplay?

 

Ninja Golf worked..not due to it's title, but by being fun and something you couldn't find on other systems...though it was rumoured to be coming to other Atari platforms i believe?

 

But the biggest bloody fool mistake i felt Atari made once they committed themselves to the 7800 was releasing the XEGS...utter brillance Atari...your 5200 bombed, so you roll out not 1, but 2 follow on replacements.Want stores to stock both, you feel you've a machine for every user, consumer thinks WTF? and you've not the developer support to churn out Triple A titles in numbers needed for a single format, let alone dual 8 bit consoles.

 ninja golf was done for the XEGM. one of my fellow dealers has one. i have never found one in my stuff however. atari should have finished rampart, as well as G.A.T.O.

 because of activision and the spinoff company, there was already f-18, and tomcat, atari had super huey, and ace of aces, so it was already getting to be known for its arcade/simulator type of games.

 back in 1986, or perhaps 1987, i and what was left of atari's distributors and dealers, received a letter from atari, they had promised 25 new 7800 games, i never saved the letter, so i do not remember every title, but one that stood out, that should have become the pack in as soon as it was available, was california games.

 i chided them when they never delivered california games, it would have been the best choice for goosing sales of the 7800 as a pack in. when i chided them they said just buy the 2600 version, i told them it was good, but the 7800 was far more capable to deliver better graphics and game play. they were so out of touch, with what the customers wanted, let alone what was needed to be done to attract customers to their products.

 

 

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

VIDEO 61 & ATARI SALES
www.atarisales.com
22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079
651-462-2500

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It was imagitec who should have finished Rampart for Atari..but looking at their track record..it's honestly no small wonder it never appeared.

 

Company constantly promising what it couldn't deliver.

 

Your info is superb my friend just superb.

 yea, jacks atari was never the type that got other businesses to excited, a track record of not paying, or driving down the costs, after a contract had been signed.

 

 people simply no longer trusted jack. he left a trail of bad feelings all over asia. besides what he did here in america.

 

thanks, yours is top notch also:)

 

 

lance

www.atarisales.com

VIDEO 61 & ATARI SALES
www.atarisales.com
22735 Congo St. NE, Stacy, MN 55079
651-462-2500

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