The only officially released Pac-Man game for the 7800 was Ms. Pac-Man, but thanks to Curt Vendel and Bob DeCrescenzo, we now have a complete library of Pac-Man games for the Atari 7800.
Programmed by General Computer Corporation as part of the first set of games for the 7800’s release in 1984, Ms. Pac-Man is an excellent conversion. Ms. Pac-Man demonstrates the strength of the 7800 as one of the best home consoles for arcade ports. This game has great graphics and pretty much has it all…title screen, intermissions, four different mazes, and four flicker free pesky ghosts! Better yet, since millions of copies of this game were produced, a boxed copy can be had for less than ten dollars. The only thing that should stop you from picking up a copy for your collection is whether or not you decide to purchase the Pac-Man Collection described next.
It is hard to believe that Atari never developed a version of Pac-Man for the 7800. Fortunately Bob ‘PacManPlus’ DeCrescenzo has come to the rescue. Speaking of rescue, in 1996 Curt Vendel found the source code for Ms. Pac-Man in a dumpster. It seems that in Atari’s haste to ‘go out of business’, they inadvertently discarded the source code for several games. Through Curt’s efforts, this source code was preserved and released to the public domain. Bob used this source code to develop several new Pac-Man games for the 7800. Originally, Bob developed one game at a time, but already had the idea to put them together as a collection. Included in Bob’s Pac-Man collection are:
- Pac-Man Plus
- Ms. Pac-Man
- Ms. Pac-Attack
- Hangly Man
- Puck Man
- Random Mazes
Bob’s collection is about as arcade perfect as can be done on a home system. He even ‘tweaked’ the already pretty awesome Ms. Pac-Man to be even better. The Pac-Man Collection has been one of the best selling carts at AtariAge since Bob put it together. If you have a 7800 you need to have this cart in your collection…don’t hesitate any longer!
After he released his Pac-Man Collection, Bob turned his attention to creating a version of Super Pac-Man for the 7800. Before I started this thread on Pac-Man games, I really didn’t know much about Super Pac-Man and I don’t remember ever playing it in an arcade. I didn’t know what to expect when I ordered my Super Pac-Man cart from AtariAge, but I have to say that I really like this game. As always, Bob took care to make as accurate a port as possible and his 7800 version is a blast to play. The colors are bright, all of the arcade features are included, and this game provides some variety from the ‘standard’ Pac-Man format. If you are a fan of Super Pac-Man, then this cart should be in your 7800 collection!
This one started out as a fairly elaborate April fool’s joke on the AtariAge forum back in 2009. Bob DeCrescenzo had been working on Jr. Pac-Man and got a few friends to go along with the hoax that a prototype cart of Jr. Pac-Man had been discovered. The joke went pretty well until some discovered Bob’s initials in a line of code.
Jr. Pac-Man for the 7800 is another Bob classic and has become my favorite Pac-Man game. Like the arcade (and unlike the 2600 version), the screen scrolls horizontally, there are six power pills, and the fruits have been changed. As the fruit bounces, it changes the dots into larger, more valuable dots, but can also destroy the power pills. Since this can be happening off-screen, there is some additional strategy to Jr. Pac-Man than other versions.
Jr. Pac-Man is another awesome game and is available on cart from AtariAge.
Thanks to GCC, Curt Vendel, AtariAge and, most importantly, Bob DeCrescenzo, almost every variation of Pac-Man is available to be played on the 7800. I asked Bob which version was his favorite…can you guess what he said? Considering that he goes by the handle ‘PacManPlus’, his answer should be easy to guess!