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Did you think Atari 2600 Pac-Man was bad when you first got it?

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Here's a question for all the original owners who were there on Day 1: Did you think Atari 2600 Pac-Man was bad when you first got it? Was it a huge disappointment out of the box? Or did you enjoy the heck out of playing that game and only later came to realize the rest of the world thought it was bad?

Genuinely curious to see if you guys had varying experiences and there was a bit of a "Mandela Effect" going on, or if everybody was on the same page from Day 1 saying "It stinks!"

:pac_man:

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I remember saving my money up to purchase this specific game back in the day.  When I finally did play it, I was a little disappointed, but was young enough that I still found enjoyment in the game and played it too death.  I would have liked for it to have been more arcade accurate but now I consider it a classic along with the games sounds.  If you want more arcade accuracy there have been several remakes and hacks including the Dintari Pacman and the Nukey Shay Pac-Man 8K which are both excellent...

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My recollection is:

Electronic Games magazine panned the game, and I'm pretty sure I read that before buying. 

I know that I had to save up to buy it, and I remember the purchase day and store well.  The Pac Man box barely left my hands at the check stand.  We got home, and I played and played.  The flaws were obvious.  Wrong colors, wrong sounds, Pac Man only facing side to side.  But I played and kept track of high scores.  Friends played too.  We had fun playing for high scores and also ripping on the game as we went. 

Answering your question isn't easy.  I knew it wasn't great.  But I had fun playing it anyway.  I don't think the game ruined the gaming industry.  But for me personally, it marked the end of the 2600.  My thought being that if that's the best that system could do, it was probably time to move on.  Looking back, I'm pretty sure that was the last game I paid full price for.  I didn't start buying 2600 games again until they were all on clearance.  Pac Man and Defender were the two that stick out in my mind as "not good enough". 

I moved on to an Atari 800XL, which had an awesome Pac Man and Defender. 

PS - I think I was 13 years old when 2600 Pac Man came out. 

Edited by RickR

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So, I did not get it immediately.  My aunt got it for my cousins and they all were very excited with it and playing it like crazy.  When I first saw it at their home, I was very disappointed in how it looked.  It was nothing like the arcade.  The colors were all wrong.  Despite that, I did buy it and played it lots...until Ms. Pac-Man was released.  Then I never played it again.  Ms. Pac-Man showed that they had done a lousy job adapting the original Pac-Man to the system.  I played Atari's Pac-Man again years later when I found hacks in Atari Age.  Nukey Shay's Pac-Man 8K I think is what Atari could have done back then.  Different but with enough similarities to be more acceptable. 

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I never got it only because I owned a 5200.  But I do remember a neighbor down the road getting it and inviting me over to play it.  I already had Pac-Man for my system so I didn't expect anything different.  Once I arrived in went pac-man and on went my dissecting.  Nothing was right, I dogged it, but at the same time I found joy in playing it.  It was a different pacman. Once I got home, though, I was never so happy to seev my pacman again.

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I wasn't there day one but I also had zero knowledge about its infamy in game history. I didn't this it was bad, just kinda weird. I actually liked the sprite for pac-man and thought he looked neat. I was amused by the manual explaining the bonus "fruit" away as a vitamin or something. Only mild beef with the game was the flicker of the ghosts, but whatevs.....I still like the pac-man sprite 😂

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Despite the fact that the original A2600 Pac-Man could have been better, I really enjoyed it as a kid in 1982 and further on in my childhood years. The highest score I achieved in this game was over 20,000 points. I knew a guy who was a friend of my dad's that got over 100,000 points in this version of the game. He said that the ghosts later turned into question marks and all that. It probably ran out of general memory and started glitching out. That happens sometimes when you get too far in a game with limited memory. I almost always beat out my friends and my dad in this version of Pac-Man. I could really fake out the ghosts. It was really fun. Ms. Pac-Man was much better than Pac-Man, for sure. I got good at that as well. I probably am out of practice now, but back then I was pretty good. Ah, the memories…

Thanks for letting me share. :O)

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True. The A5200 version of Pac-Man was better than the A2600 version. I just wish that they had enough memory for the intermissions. The intermissions are entertaining in the arcade version. That would have been nice. Actually, the A5200 and A8 versions are almost identical due to the fact that the A5200 is modeled after the A8 computer in architecture. I guess that Nintendo even modeled the NES after the A5200. They apparently just reverse-engineered it. But, of course, the NES has better graphics than that. Newer system. You'd expect that. Anyway, despite all that, there were good games on the A5200, like Space Dungeon, Popeye, Missile Command, Super Breakout, to name a few. Of course, this is my opinion on these games. I like them on that platform. It could have been better with the controls, but it still shines with some of the games.

But, getting back to Pac-Man, I liked it on both systems. Besides, I have heard of attempts to create a new and better controller for the A5200. I hope that it works well. :O)

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32 minutes ago, BlackCatz40 said:

True. The A5200 version of Pac-Man was better than the A2600 version. I just wish that they had enough memory for the intermissions. The intermissions are entertaining in the arcade version. That would have been nice. Actually, the A5200 and A8 versions are almost identical due to the fact that the A5200 is modeled after the A8 computer in architecture. I guess that Nintendo even modeled the NES after the A5200. They apparently just reverse-engineered it. But, of course, the NES has better graphics than that. Newer system. You'd expect that. Anyway, despite all that, there were good games on the A5200, like Space Dungeon, Popeye, Missile Command, Super Breakout, to name a few. Of course, this is my opinion on these games. I like them on that platform. It could have been better with the controls, but it still shines with some of the games.

But, getting back to Pac-Man, I liked it on both systems. Besides, I have heard of attempts to create a new and better controller for the A5200. I hope that it works well. :O)

The 5200 version of Pac Man has the intermissions.  It's easy to get confused, because the 8-bit version does not have the intermissions.  

In most cases, Atari took the 8-bit versions and improved them for the 5200.  Some games like Dig Dug and Centipede are completely new.  Some games just have trak-ball support added (like Space Invaders and Galaxian).  

 

 

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I have said it a great many of time, I think folks were more disappointed in the port more than anything. They expected what they had at their local arcade, pizza shop and bowling alley. We all know it would not be arcade perfect, we (I was anyway) were used to that idea. People popped it fin their systems and saw something that only in spirit resembled the game as they knew it. It plays fine. If it were just another Pac clone, most would say its playable but meh. Disappointment somehow translated into "a bad game". 

 

I Love this port. Got it around when it came out, (maybe that Christmas) and played the hell out of it. To this day I love it no matter its flaws. Love it enough to use its sounds in my intro!

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I'm woefully behind in replying to this. I didn't get my own Atari until Christmas of '82 but my friends down the street certainly had them and I would play on those all the time. Most of my friends had Pac-man but it wasn't played that much. I do remember us playing it sure but it wasn't played as much as Pitfall or even Combat was.

Having said that, I also don't recall us ever talking about Pac-Man being a bad game or not looking like the arcade perfectly. Back then none of the ports really looked like the arcade (Space Invaders was probably the closest back then). So we just accepted it for what it was I guess? Now, I can tell you that once I got my Atari 2600, that Pac-Man was NEVER purchased until much much later when I got it used from a pawn shop in the late 80s for like $1 or something back then. 

Do I think it was part of the ruin of the game industry? No... it was pac-man and still had the same gameplay elements in it. And again we expected the games to not look exactly like the arcade because none of the ports did. I also do not believe E.T. brought down the industry. I think the general lack of quality control and soo many games (Many of which being clones or rips from other games already it seemed) had more to do with it than anything. And I know that most adults back then thought that video games were just a phase and lost interest. Also many kids grow up even today and what toys they had that were awesome yesterday...collect dust and do not get played with tomorrow. 

Curious if any demographics have been compared on the age groups playing Atari in the late 70s to early 80s and see if there might be a correlation to most of the gamers back then just growing out of it? 

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