Ms. Pac-Man

Name:
Ms. Pac-Man
Company: Atari
Model #:
CX-2675
Programmers:
Mike Horowitz & Josh Littlefield (GCC)
Year: 1982
Released?
Yes
Notes:
The first 2600 game to contain a full demo mode.

 

Although just about everyone is familiar with the bow-wearing, fun loving, sex-symbol of the 1980's Ms. Pac-Man, very few people actually know of her rather odd origins.  For you see, Ms. Pac-Man originally started out not as a she, but as a he!  That's right, "She's a man, baby!".  Unbeknownst to most people, the original version of Ms. Pac-Man featured an odd little squat character with long legs named Crazy Otto.  Crazy Otto was actually a complicated hack of the original Pac-Man game created by GCC (this was long before their 2600/7800 days).  When GCC showed their creation to Midway they were shocked by the quality of the game, and bought the rights from GCC.  Crazy Otto was given a sex change and the 'Pac Treatment', and Ms. Pac-Man was born!

 

Ms. Pac-Man is an amazing piece of 2600 programming. GCC was somehow able to cram almost all the features of the arcade game into an 8K cart without having to sacrifice gameplay or graphics.  Not only did Ms. Pac-Man feature four different mazes, all four ghosts, and the bouncing fruit, but it even included an animated title screen.  The only thing that had to go was the intermissions, although you can bet they tried hard to fit them in.

 

Ms. Pac-Man was voted video game of the year in 1983, and rightfully so.  GCC showed players what the 2600 could really do if a programmer put their mind to it.  This amazing conversion was just what Atari needed to redeem the Pac-Man name after the debacle with original 2600 Pac-Man.  Oh, and here's a bit of trivial trivia for you: Ms. Pac-Man was the first 2600 game to contain a full demo mode which will run if the game is left untouched for a few seconds.  It's tiny features like this make an already good game better.

 

If there's one fault that I can find in the game, it's that the ghosts tend to flicker a bit.  However this is due to the hardware limitations of the 2600 and not the fault of the programmer.  There is also a 'comb' on the left hand side of the screen, but since it's in a maze wall it's hardly noticeable. Ms. Pac-Man is definitely one of the showcase games of the 2600, and well deserves its place in Atari history.

 

Version Cart Text Description
9/20/83 Ms. Pac-Man Final Version
?????? Ms. Pac-Man PAL Final Version (PAL)

 

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