Ever play Pac-Man by Namco? Ironically, if you have played the Pac-Man Atari 2600 version, you may not recognize it as the same game. The Pac-Man in the cartridge was not the same as the Pac-Man in the arcade machine, that’s for sure.
If you are reading this article, then you probably know by now that the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man sucks. The Pac-Man maze is different. The sound effects are different. Pac-Man’s animation is different. So are the colors. It’s barely recognizable at all. But worse of all? It isn’t even fun. I cannot put my finger on why that is, but take my word for it: it is bad. Really bad. Some people point out how the ghosts flicker as a negativity. But there were other versions of Pac-Man on the Atari 2600, and the ghosts always flickered. For example…
Ms Pac-Man Atari 2600
When I was a wee lad (five years old, I’m guessing) I could see that the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man was terrible. But Ms Pac-Man was great. To me, this was the real Pac-Man. Everything about it was proper and pleasant. Sure, some of it isn’t completely faithful to the Arcade verson (like no story scenes in between levels) but it is still great. So great that I would play it for hours. I had a least three copies of the garbage we call “Pac-Man”, (they were easy to come by used, and were often sold in bundles) but I only had one copy of Ms Pac-Man, which I treasured as the real deal. So PacMan vs Ms PacMan? Ms PacMan wins.
Pac-Man Junior Atari 2600
I guess due to Pac-Man’s success, games like Ms Pac-Man were made to appeal to girls or something. But really they were just milking the insanely popular game by created a bunch of clones. So what does Pac-Man Junior bring to the table? Pac-Man Jr introduces screen scrolling to the 2600 Pac-Man family. This means that the maze is bigger, and the screen “moves” as the player orients the on-screen character. There is not much else to say, except it’s a lot better than the original Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. But that isn’t saying much.
So what’s my point, my fine Atari collector friend? Skip that dime-a-dozen Pac-Man game that is completely worthless, and get Ms. Pac-Man instead (or Pac-Man Junior) which is much more satisfying. Being a nostalgia junkie, accuracy is important to me, and I am sure that it is important to you too.