Pac-Man (Atari 2600) Review


“Why aren’t you reviewing the original Arcade game?” I hear you cry. Well, much like a later game on this list, I chose this version so I can both talk about a memory of playing it when I was young, and so I can finally get a game on a console that currently has “Coming Soon” listed on its blog page… So, yeah, Pac-Man! He’s gaming’s first icon, and I was thrilled to see him arrive in Smash Wii U and face off with Mario and Sonic, but Pac-Man Atari 2600? Yeah… it’s, retrospectively, not very good…


Pac-Man 1

Prepare yourself for a lot of very similar looking screenshots…

After the original Arcade game came out in 1980, it was eventually ported to the Atari 2600 1982. Sadly for gamers of the time (who were familiar with the Arcade version) the limits of the 2600 were evident, and game fell short of the original by a wide margin. It still sold over 7 million copies though!


Pac-Man 2

This is, oddly, the only screenshot I took that has Pac-Man with his mouth open…

You control Pac-Man around a maze eating dashes while being chased by flickering ghosts. It the ghosts touch you, you die. If you eat all the dashes, you win and move on to the next level. If you eat a power pill then you can turn the tables and eat the ghosts. That’s it! Simple but addictive gameplay at its finest… well, maybe the 2600 was the finest version, but you know what I mean!

Graphics and Sound:

Pac-Man 3

A ghost has been eaten in this screenshot… that’s good, isn’t it?

Yeah… the graphics and sound are obviously poor. Not only due to the limitations of the Atari 2600, but it’s even a pretty poor example of a 2600 game. Other games managed better looking sprites and slightly more varied sounds, so this isn’t just me crapping on an ancient console’s hardware or anything…

Thoughts Then:

Pac-Man 4

This screenshot has an un-eaten ghost in it!

My family brought an Atari 2600 and a suitcase of games from a local second hand shop, and it was my first exposure to gaming. I loved playing Outlaw with my brother, but otherwise I obviously sucked because I was 4-years-old at the time. I do remember playing Pac-Man (and a few Pac-Man rip-offs…) quite a bit, and you couldn’t tell me that wasn’t what Pac-Man was… at least until I grew up and saw the original version…

4 Star Game Old

Thoughts Now:

Pac-Man 5

The game is about to begin! Exciting?

Now? I’d rather play a MAME ROM of the Arcade version, even with the nostalgia taken away. This is slower, uglier and the flickering gets annoying fast. Now I have the option of other… er, Pac-Men? I don’t feel like breaking this out…

2 Star Game New

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