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Justin

Is Pac-Man Fever real?

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Ever since Atari National Pac-Man Day on April 3rd, I've been unable to put Pac-Man down. Ms. Pac-Man on Atari 2600 actually. I love this game so much. I’ve been playing it every day! 

 

I'm used to Ms. Pac-Man on Atari 7800. Playing the 2600 version so much has really made me go back and appreciate what they were able to do with the 2600. It’s amazing really. The 2600 was designed to do Tank and Pong and that’s it, anything else was gravy. And yet they were able to put out these games with incredible play value that keep sucking me back in. I can’t put the game down! Could Pac-Man Fever be a real thing?

 

Life is busy. I have a lot going on right now and my free time should be committed to working on the site upgrade. But Ms. Pac-Man keeps calling my name! When I’m not playing the game, I want to be playing it. Sometimes I’ll start running mazes in my mind, or wake up late at night with a serious urge to get up and play just one more round. It’s not competitive drive, or a need to achieve a new high score. It feels like has its own “momentum”, I start playing the game and it exercises my mind in a way that makes me want to come back. It feels addictive.

 

 

So… Is “Pac-Man Fever” real? Here are two ways of looking at the question:

 

  1. Have you experienced anything that would make you think “Pac-Man Fever” is a real thing?
     
  2. Have there ever been clinical, fact-based studies, or empirical evidence establishing “Pac-Man Fever” and its affects as real?

 

I posed this question to our Instagram audience over the weekend. With over 100 votes cast 85% of participants said Pac-Man Fever is real

 

 

pac_man_fever_real.jpg

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Similar to the Tetris effect which has had the benefit of being clinically studied, perhaps? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tetris_effect#Place_in_cognition

 

 

The result proves that this game is responsible for physical cognitive development, which also improves things like memory capacity. Tetris has been found to act upon this flexibility of brain matter by thickening it. According to the BMC study, it appears to link gray matter plasticity to the brain efficiency, but there is no substantial research making these claims has been published at this time. It can be assumed that playing Tetris affects the brain in the healthy way, such as allowing your brain to operate more efficiently

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Pac-Man Fever is very real my friend. The song by the same name was not telling lies. Need an example? Here...listen and remember.

 

https://youtu.be/0-MONIvP6kI

 

Pac-Man was, and remains, the most iconic video game of all time. There is something mesmerizing about running around a maze, gobbling up dots, and eating ghosts. It is a formula that never gets old. There have been imitations but there is only one Pac-Man. It was my most played game on the 5200 once it arrived on the doorstep thanks to UPS. I still play it today but play Ms. Pac-Man on the 5200 and 7800, and I play those plus Jr. Pac-Man on the XEGS. I have those for the 2600 as well with Jr being my top played game. I play them at least every other night.

 

So, yea, the fever is real and once you have it there really is no known cure other than to play the game. Sometimes that doesn't help either.

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 It was my most played game on the 5200 once it arrived on the doorstep thanks to UPS. I still play it today but play Ms. Pac-Man on the 5200 and 7800, and I play those plus Jr. Pac-Man on the XEGS. I have those for the 2600 as well with Jr being my top played game. I play them at least every other night.

 

 

The very first purchase I made for once I got an Atari 800XL computer was "The Entertainer" pack, which came with Pac-Man, Star Raiders, and a joystick.

 

Z0076131.jpg

 

The 8-bit version of Pac Man is really great.  I still love playing that version now.  It's a lot of fun to play and reminds me of being back in 1983 again....  Oh, and Star Raiders is one of my all-time favorite games.  That Entertainer pack was the best thing. 

 

 

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For a long time, I was unaware that Atari "improved" some of the 8-bit games for the 5200.  Once I knew, it made the 5200 versions a little more special and I really wanted to try them out.

  • As you mentioned, Pac-Man has the intermissions and better ghost AI
  • Space Invaders has much improved (and changing) invader animations.
  • Dig Dug I think is a complete re-write.  But I'm not sure it's an improvement.
  • Centipede has more colorful objects
  • Star Raiders has bug fixes and the long-range scan is more useful.

This is all I can remember off the top of my head.  What's really cool is that the 5200 versions have been ported to 8-bit!  Load them using an SIO2SD device or a multi-cart.  How sweet is that? 

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For a long time, I was unaware that Atari "improved" some of the 8-bit games for the 5200.  Once I knew, it made the 5200 versions a little more special and I really wanted to try them out.

 

  • As you mentioned, Pac-Man has the intermissions and better ghost AI
  • Space Invaders has much improved (and changing) invader animations.
  • Dig Dug I think is a complete re-write.  But I'm not sure it's an improvement.
  • Centipede has more colorful objects
  • Star Raiders has bug fixes and the long-range scan is more useful.
This is all I can remember off the top of my head.  What's really cool is that the 5200 versions have been ported to 8-bit!  Load them using an SIO2SD device or a multi-cart.  How sweet is that?

Ummm...link please?

 

Space Invaders on the 5200 is also the only one to have aliens that morph. A first.

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Ummm...link please?

 

Space Invaders on the 5200 is also the only one to have aliens that morph. A first.

 

I don't have a link...just my own memory and experience.  I started a post here on the forums a few years ago, but I don't think there was much interest so i stopped.

 

http://forums.atari.io/index.php/topic/988-8-bit-games-that-were-re-written-for-5200/?hl=%2Bspace+%2Binvaders

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I believe Atari tried get games on the 5200 to act more like their arcade cousins because the system was suppose to be an at-home arcade machine. When you have a 5200 that works as intended it is a hard system to beat.

 

The 2600 does have great ports of Ms and Jr Pac-Man. The Super Pac-Man prototype found for the 5200 is really spot on and should have been released.

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