#18 Pac-Man

Posted: 1st March 2014 by Jeroen in Games
Tags: , , , ,

311th played so far

PAC MANGenre: Maze
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1980
Developer: Namco
Publisher: Midway

Pac-Man is probably one of the most recognised gaming characters out there – in fact, he probably is the most recognised out of all of them. His simple shape and early mascot status seems to make this all but certain, really, especially with how much we saw him in marketing.

And of course Pac-Man, the game, is a game most everyone will have played (or, anyone who calls themselves a gamer at least. Tetris is similar in that respect). We both have, with fond memories. In fact, one of my courses at uni was 2D/3D programming, where we created a 3D Pac-Man game for our final assignment. We managed to do it complete with authentic AI… and user-created maps if you knew the basic format. It was awesome.

Our Thoughts

Of course, this leaves us with a simple problem. What can we say about a game that everyone knows and plenty has been said about? There’s always the Google Doodle. That was a cool way to celebrate 30 years of Pac-Man.

The gameplay is simple, as is your goal – eat all the power pellets (dots) to advance to the level, while avoiding the ghosts who will kill you when they touch you.

Part of simple to learn, difficult to master, the game starts off easy enough with few ghosts chasing you (making them easy to avoid), but as you gather more pellets in the first level, they all start going after you. With the right powerup thing (big dot, really), you can eat them for a short while as they run away, but that time gets more and more limited.

As you proceed, the game speeds up, and even with some practice I can’t make it much further than three or four levels. It’s commendable, then, that some did make it further – level 255 for some, in fact, at which point the game breaks. The developers clearly never tested that far. It’s probably one of the bigger known bugs in games, and more impressive as giving an absolute limit to the score in the game.

So yeah, the graphics are simple, but the abstract look works for it, and somehow still manage to give the ghosts enough personality to matter as well. It’s simple, but their scared look is just enough, adding a bit of personality that would otherwise be lacking. Another bit of this are the cutscenes, which happens after you complete certain levels. They’re simply variations of the characters chasing each other, but fun enough anyway.

Final Thoughts

With all that has been said, Pac-Man remains a great game. Its simple gameplay, as many older games, is addictive, and it’s got its own legacy. It has gotten as recognisable as anything else for a good reason. Then again, if you’re here, shouldn’t you know that anyway?

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