Jr. Pac-Man

Jr. Pac-Man

Company: Atari
Model #:
Ava-Robin Cohen & Tom Calderwood (GCC)
Year: 1984
Programmed in 1984, but not released until 1987.


Following the success of Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, and Super Pac-Man, Bally-Midway decided that they would release yet another Pac-Man game.  The problem was how did they keep the Pac-Man concept fresh while still staying close to the gameplay of the original?  The answer?  Jr. Pac-Man!  Although it might not be immediately obvious, Jr. Pac-Man is supposed to be the son of Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man and is not the same character as Pac Baby from the cartoon series (Baby Pac-Man was a whole separate game).


Jr. Pac-Man features the same old Pac-Man formula (much dots, avoid ghosts, eat power pellet, eat ghosts), but with a new twist.  The mazes of Jr. Pac-Man are bigger than the screen (much bigger), so the whole maze scrolls as you move around.  Not only were the maze sizes increased, but the moving prizes (which were introduced in Ms. Pac-Man) now have the ability to destroy your power pellets!  The prizes also increase the size of the dots they touch making you move slower as you eat them.  Also improved for Jr. Pac-Man were the ghost's AI's, now avoiding them is harder than ever.


While all these changes were well and good for the arcade, how did they translate onto the 2600?  Really well!  Jr. Pac-Man is one of the most impressive 2600 games to grace the 2600.  Not only was all the gameplay from the arcade game left intact, but the game speed and graphics are outstanding!  Only a tiny bit of flicker in the ghosts keeps this version from being nearly arcade perfect.  The programmers over at GCC obviously knew their stuff, and it shows!  However as good as Jr. Pac-Man was, it almost didn't get released!  Since Jr. Pac-Man was completed in 1984, it was a victim of the market crash.  Thankfully Atari decided to release it when they revived the 2600 in 1986, so the world finally got to see this little gem. 


Jr. Pac-Man is quite simply one of the most impressive games in the 2600's library.  Fast action and awesome gameplay make it a winner.  The only complaint people seem to have about it is that the game is tough, much tougher than Pac-Man or Ms. Pac-Man even at the lower levels.  This has to do with the improved Ghost Monster AI and the fact that the maze scrolls so you can never see the entire maze on the screen at once.  Thankfully like most later 2600 games, Jr. Pac-Man has Teddy Bear modes which allows players a chance to practice with only one, two, or three Ghost Monsters instead of all four.  These extra modes can make a frustrating game a much more pleasant experience.


Version Cart Text Description
?/??/84 Jr. Pac-Man Final Version


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