|Allen Wells and Steve
|Port of the 1981
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.
||Ms. Pac-Man 133
to 5200 Software