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.