Ms. Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man
Company: Atari
Model #:
Allen Wells and Steve Szymanski
Year: 1983
Port of the 1981 arcade game


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 improves on the original Pac-Man formula is several ways.  Ms. Pac-Man features four different maze (as opposed to one in the original), bonus items that move around the maze, improved Ghost Monster AI, and more escape tunnels in most of the mazes.  These gameplay improvements along with better graphics and sounds and brand new intermissions made Ms. Pac-Man a winner from the moment it was released.  Ms. Pac-Man went on to be the top grossing arcade game of 1982 and stayed in the top five for 1983 and 1984.  By 1988 Ms. Pac-Man had sold over 125,000 units and is still a common sight in many arcades to this day.


Since Ms. Pac-Man was such a huge arcade hit, Atari wanted their home ports to be the best they could possibly be.  Since GCC had developed the original arcade game it only made sense that they should develop the home versions as well.  GCC ported Ms. Pac-Man not only to the Atari 5200, but also to the Atari 2600, Atari 400/800, and Atari 7800.  Ms. Pac-Man was also ported to just about every system and computer and even made its way onto modern systems like the Genesis, Super Nintendo, and even the iPod.  To date there are over 25 official ports and just as many unofficial ones.  That's a lot of ports!


The Atari 5200 version of Ms. Pac-Man is pretty good.  Due to the arcade version using a vertically oriented monitor, the home versions look 'squashed' vertically so the Atari 5200 port isn't alone in this regard.  Graphically the 5200 looks nice, but the Ghost Monsters are a bit on the chunky side.  The only real knock against the 5200 version is that it plays a bit slow compared to the Atari 2600 and 7800 versions and the sounds could be a bit closer to the arcade version.  But even with these minor quibbles, the Atari 5200 plays a mean version of Ms. Pac-Man once again proving that the 5200 truly was the home arcade machine.


Version Cart Text Description
5/13/83 Ms. Pac-Man 133
Final Version


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