The arcade version of Pac-man had a highest possible score of 3,333,360 which was achieved for the first time by Billy Mitchell on July 4th, 1999 in Weirs Beach, New Hampshire. Billy is a native of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The highest high score can only be achieved by eating EVERY fruit and EVERY blue ghost on every one of the 256 levels in addition to every dot and energizer. Without losing a life.

He arrived July 1st, with the sole purpose to beat the Canadians to the highest high score. He refused to eat until he had won. "I had to be the first," Mitchell explains. "It's like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. No matter how many people who accomplish it afterwards, it will always be Armstrong who will be remembered for doing it first. And best of all, it was an American."

A few months before, Rick Fothergill of Hamilton, Ontario fell just 90 points short of the highest possible score.

Mitchell also holds the world record on the classic Donkey Kong game (as of July 4th, 1999).

information derived from Twin Galaxies Official Video Game and Pinball Book of World Records.

A board game created by Milton Bradley in 1980 and based on the video game of the same name.

The board game version of Pac-Man was a faithful reproduction of the video game in cardboard and plastic. Designed to be easy to learn and play in order to appeal to a similar target audience as the original video game, but never having the entertainment value of its ancestor, this remains a worthy addition to any collection, mainly because of its nostalgia value.

The board game features ghosts, food to pick up in the form of white and yellow marbles (yellow marbles are 'ghost eaters') and portals to move from one side of the board to another with just one move.

It differs in just one respect: the introduction of dice. This turns it from a game of skill and strategy into a game of skill, strategy, and a fair slice of chance.

One of the most innovative features of the Pac-Man board game is the players' pieces. They are real-life replicas of Pac-Man himself, which open their mouths as they are pushed along the board and take the marbles up into their bellies through a hole in the bottom. Unfortunately, they had a tendency to jam, and the marbles did not simply disappear into Pac-Man as they had in the video game (a glaring design flaw).

Milton Bradley also produced a Ms. Pac-Man game.

Personally, I found this game quite dull, but I enjoy playing it on occasions for the nostalgia value. You should buy it either for that, or to prove how much of a geek you are.


Sources (these were useless):
http://www.zutco.com/toy_game_1.htm
http://www.thelogbook.com/phosphor/pac.html

The History of Pac-Man

NOTE: This is a comprehensive history on the origin and life of Pac-Man, the video game. I will only cover the video game itself, and stay away from the many other media facets that Pac-Man made his way into.


In The Beginning...

Pac-Man was the brain child of Namco game designer Tohru Iwatani. While dining out with his friends, Iwatani ate a slice of pizza, and glanced down at the partially whole pizza pie left on the table. Noticing the shape, Iwatani immediately thought of a simple game idea involving a character shaped just like the pizza sitting in front of him.

And so, in 1980, Pac-Man was born. Originally called Puck-Man, the name was changed before the game was released in the United States, due to the obvious chance of Puck-Man being defamed into Fuck-Man. The game was released in arcades across the country, and in 1981 was ported to home entertainment systems, namely the Atari 2600.

Unfortunately, Namco virtually destroyed the game during porting. The characteristics of the arcade version were missing, and gameplay was also changed slightly. Gamers across the globe were angry that the home version was not up to par, though it still sold over 400,000 copies by the end of 1981.

The Pac-Man Craze

Namco quickly established Pac-Man as an identity in the entertainment industry, and it showed. Pac-Man had his rotund face on tons of merchandise, but most importantly, the success of Pac-Man spawned over a dozen spin-offs. Below I have listed every Pac-Man related game released since 1981, in chronological order:

Pac-Man
Atari 2600
The first console version of Pac-Man, the game met the public harshly, due to major revisions to the game during the porting from the arcade version to cartridge. Despite the poor port, the game sold very well.

Pac-Man Plus
Arcade
The next version of Pac-Man to hit arcades, Pac-Man Plus was basically the same game, with random effects thrown in. Invisible levels, traps, and other effects made the game much more difficult, which did not increase the fun level, unfortunately.

Ms. Pac-Man
Arcade
Pac-Man's female counterpart, Ms. Pac-Man was more of the same, and actually quickly became more popular with gamers than the original. No major changes were introduced to the gameplay, other than fruit that moved along the inside of each maze. Ms. Pac-Man is one of the most plentiful arcade games in the world.

Ms. Pac-Man
Atari 2600
Another port to the Atari 2600, Ms. Pac-Man fared little better than the original port. Improved hardware in the Atari 2600 lended to a cleaner look, but gameplay, sound and the overall feel of the game was still lacking.

Pac-Man
Atari 5200
With the improved hardware of the Atari 5200, the latest release of Pac-Man made the game much more playable and much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, people who wanted to play the best home version needed to purchase a new Atari 5200, which was released five years after the Atari 2600.

Super Pac-Man
Arcade
The first major improvement in gameplay came during the release of Super Pac-Man. No longer restricted to eating bland pellets, Pac-Man was able to eat fruits and other junk food, and the game also introduced doors and keys. By eating a key, Pac-Man could munch his way through the appropriate colored door and advance to a different section of each maze. Perhaps the most fun improvement was the "super pellet," which tripled Pac-Man's size and made him invincible, able to glide through ghosts and doors with ease.

Pac and Pal
Arcade
Probably the least popular adaptation of Pac-Man, Pac and Pal featured the gobbling yellow gaming star with a new friend, a green ghost (named "Ichi" in the Japanese versions). Ichi helped Pac-Man through each level by giving Pac-Man items that he obtained by moving around the level. Several other "innovations" were made, such a short-range weapons for Pac-Man to use, and the inclusion of doors again.

Professor Pac-Man
Arcade
Simply another excuse to use the Pac-Man license, Bally Midway released this monstrosity. A quiz game that was based on points, Professor Pac-Man did nothing to improve the original game, and was therefore shunned by gamers. Only 400 of this unit were produced.

Junior Pac-Man
Arcade
After two disasters, the next Pac-Man game returned to basics. Junior Pac-Man gave players the old-school Pac-Man style, with several improvements: scrolling levels, which allowed for much bigger mazes and more pellets (which meant more points), and the inclusion of higher level pellets, which were worth more points when touched by a bouncing bonus item.

Ms. Pac-Man
Atari 5200
Again, with the improved hardware of the Atari 5200, the new version of Ms. Pac-Man for the home entertainment crowd was definitely a step in the right directions. Better graphics, smoother gameplay and better sound made this game a commercial success for Namco.

Junior Pac-Man
Atari 2600
A port of the arcade version, this was by far the best home port of any Pac-Man game. It had all the same features of the arcade version, and gameplay was the best it had been for a home console system. Commercially, however, Junior Pac-Man did not do well, and after the release of this game, the decline of Pac-Man games began.

Pac-Land
Arcade
One of the first side-scrolling adventure games, Pac-Land was a horrible, horrible creation. Boring, predictable levels, repetitive gameplay and ugly graphics helped carry this mistake to the bottom of the arcade pack. This was the last Pac-Man game to be released until 1988, four years later.

Pac-Mania
Arcade, Sega Genesis
An isometric point-of-view was the unique addition to this game, which was otherwise a flop. Difficult camera angles made manuvering difficult, and the jumping that was added to both Pac-Man and the ghosts made for frustrating deaths entirely too often. All in all, the gameplay remained simplistic, but the new additions made the game much less fun than previous versions.

Pac-Man
Nintendo Entertainment System
Another port of the classic game, Pac-Man was better than ever, with gameplay, graphics and sound equal to the arcade quality. However, competing with games like Super Mario, Duckhunt, Metroid and other future classics made Pac-Man a has-been.

Pac-Attack (aka Pac-Panic)
Super Nintendo, Genesis, Game Gear, Game Boy
Pac-Man was dipping into other genres to succeed in the 1990's. Pac-Attack was a Tetris variant, and a pretty fun one at that. By dropping Pac-Man blocks onto ghosts, you could eat the ghosts, which were otherwise immovable from the game board. A fun game, it still was not popular with gamers as much as the original Tetris.

Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures
Super Nintendo, Sega Genesis
I purchased this game, excited for a new action/adventure game that used the Super Nintendo's graphics and sound capabilities. I made a mistake. This game was plauged by a gameplay system that gave you no direct control over Pac-Man, though it did have an interesting plot. You had a slingshot, which you could fire at him or his environment to force him to interact with it. A novel, new idea, but one that did not make for a fun, exciting game.

Pac-in-Time
Super Nintendo, Genesis, Game Boy
This was the game I wished I had bought. Pac-in-Time was another side scrolling adventure game, but this time, the control was over the main character, and it was good. By eating pellets, you could advance through levels. It reminded me of a cross between Pac-Man and Sonic the Hedgehog. A very fun game.

Pac-Man/Ms. Pac-Man
Nintendo Game Boy Color, PlayStation, Nintendo 64
The new-school ports of Pac-Man basically gave you the original arcade games, all in one. The same old fun game was packaged along with Ms. Pac-Man, and several other versions included Junior Pac-Man.

Pac-Man World: 20th Anniversary
PlayStation
A trip back in time is in order for this game. A 3-D revamping of Pac-Man's traditional gameplay is the new innovation in this title, and the game is chock full of easter eggs for older fans, such as art, music and other goodies. Also, the gameplay is excellent, though the controls are a little lacking.

Note: I did not include the Pac-Man pinball games released in 1982 by Bally, which also achieved quite a popular following. Over 20,000 machines were produced.

Since the release of Pac-Man, the identity of Pac-Man as a character is instilled in all our minds as a piece of culture, but the gameplay is not. Once a challenging game, Pac-Man has now become a way to pass the time, as games have come much further since the days of Tohru Iwatani. Still, Pac-Man started a gaming craze, and was one of the first game characters to have his face on hundreds of outside products. Most gamers will tell you that although dated, Pac-Man is still one of the all-time classic games.


"Pac Man's character is difficult to explain even to the Japanese -- he is an innocent character. He hasn't been educated to discern between good and evil. He acts more like a small child than a grown-up person. Think of him as a child learning in the course of his daily activities. If some one tells him guns are evil, he would be the type to rush out and eat guns. But he would most probably eat any gun, even the pistols of policemen who need them." --Tohru Iwatani, creator of Pac-Man


Sources:
- www.gamespot.com
- http://www.classicgaming.com/pac-man/home.html
- http://www.designboom.com/eng/education/pong4.html

Addenda:
Master Villain says Hey, Pac Mania was also on the Atari ST, it was packaged with it at one point.

Atari 2600 Game
Produced by: Atari and Sears
Model Number: CX2646 (Atari) and 49-78185 (Sears)
Rarity: 1 Common+ (Atari) and 3 Scarce (Sears)
Year of Release: 1981
Programmer: Tod Frye

Ok kids this is it, the game you have been waiting for. I am sure you all have many fond memories of playing Pac-Man in the arcade. Well, you can toss all those memories away, because this is Pac-Man for the Atari 2600. Finally you can have all the frustration of Pac-Man at home, without nice graphics or good gameplay getting in the way!

This game was an absolutely terrible translation of the arcade game of the same name. Atari really pulled a fast one on the public with this one. They knew that everyone would buy Pac-Man no matter what. So they put one of their worst men on it (Tod Frye, almost every game he ever worked on was canceled). To add insult to injury they decided to use the smallest sized ROM that they could, so that they could save a bit of money on each game. They used a 4K ROM when the design called for at least a 8K ROM (the arcade version used more than 24K of ROM space). The end result was a terrible game, but everyone still bought it.

The worst thing is that fact that this game will never go away. At some point shortly after its release a sound clip was recorded of a few seconds of gameplay ending in a death. That soundclip got used pretty much anytime any videogame was shown on TV (or in the movies) for the next 20 years. It didn't matter what game the people were playing, or what system, it would be that same sound.

10 Things I Hate About This Game
  1. The various bonus fruits have been replaced with a dumb looking bonus square vitamin square (doesn't Pac-Man already pop enough pills?). The bonus is worth the same stoopid 100 points each time, no matter what level you are on.

  2. The maze is ultra lame, and frankly makes me want to destroy all gravity.

  3. The tunnel is supposed to go from left to right, not top to bottom.

  4. The ghosts are all wrong in appearance and in movements. They are supposed to come out of the ghost house one at a time, not all at once.

  5. There are more copies of this cartridge than their are working Atari 2600 units. This (unfortunately) assures that all Atari owners have a copy.

  6. Pac-Man is not supposed to have an eye and the intermissions are missing completely.

  7. The points scoring is all wrong. They paid good money for the Pac-Man license, and couldn't even retain the same scoring as the arcade?

  8. The sound was super bad, and we still get subjected to it everytime anyone plays Crash Bandicoot on tv.

  9. There are many people who have no other memories of Pac-Man except for this cartridge, that is just plain wrong.

  10. The instruction manual says that Pac-Man lives in "Mazeland" and eats "video wafers". Hello, earth to Atari manual writing staff, Pac-Man lives in Pac-Land and eats power pellets, you can't just make stuff up and think that people will believe it.

From the instruction manual.
We know that millions of people all over the world just love the PAC-MAN arcade game. PAC-MAN has won the hearts of men, women, and children everywhere. We also know that PAC-MAN has traditionally been an arcade game. Well, we at ATARI know all about arcade games. After all, we make some of the greatest arcade games in the world, and we know how to bring the same dynamite game play into your home.
Collectors Information

This game is so common that you may have trouble walking down the street without finding a copy on the ground. It is worth approximately 7 cents for the cartridge, or $1 if it is still sealed in the original packaging. Don't bother looking for this one, it will find you soon enough.

The Atari and Sears versions come in different boxes. The Atari version came in an ugly orange box with a mega weak looking Pac-Man on it. The Sears version was a bit more attractive with a black box that had the same artwork as the cartridge.

Every great game has great villains, and Pac-Man's ghosts help make the game the major success and addiction that it is. Between the Japanese and American versions of Pac-Man there are 23 distinct name/nickname combinations for the four ghosts, and arcade operators could flip the dip switches in the machine to change the names of the ghosts to whatever combination they pleased. The ghosts' names/nicknames are...

  • Red Ghost: Oikake/Akabei, Urchin/Macky, and Shadow/Blinky
  • Pink Ghost: Machibuse/Pinky, Romp/Micky, and Speedy/Pinky
  • Blue Ghost: Kimagure/Aosuke, Stylist/Mucky, and Bashful/Inky
  • Orange Ghost: Otoboke/Guzuta, Crybaby/Mocky, and Pokey/Clyde (and, in Ms. Pac-Man, Sue)

Bonus Fact: Atari produced more Pac-Man cartridges than there were Atari 2600 systems. Why? Atari's management said that they believed that the game would be so popular that people would want to buy a second copy for their ski house. Yes, someone said that.


References:
High Score: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games
Thanks to mr100percent for the info about Sue

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