Retro Game Guy

It's the 1980's again!

Atari 5200 Pac-Man games…

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There were only two officially released Pac-Man games for the 5200 (Pac-man and Ms. Pac-Man), but thanks to the efforts of the Atari community, there is now  a complete library of Pac-Man games for the Atari 5200.

Pac-Man…

Pac-Man was one of the launch titles for the 5200 and it is pretty darn good.  In fact, compared to the rather pathetic 2600 version, this game is almost arcade perfect.  The maze has been modified to fit a TV screen, but, otherwise it is all here.  Great colors, arcade like graphics, no flicker, and even intermissions! The only complaint that one could have would be with the 5200 controllers making it difficult to navigate the maze.  I tested the game with a newly re-built controller and found that it only took a few minutes to get used to the feel of the analog joystick. Pac-Man became the ‘pack in’ game for the 5200 in 1983, so it is easy (and cheap) to find a copy.  Pac-Man belongs in every 5200 game collection.

If you want to play a good game, made even better, Bob ‘Pac-Man Plus’ DeCrescenzo ‘hacked’ the 5200 version of Pac-Man to correct some short comings.  Specifically, Bob fixed the ‘flashing’ of the ghosts, the speed of the game to match the arcade version, and the board where the energizers last forever.  Bob’s version is  not available on cart, but you can play it on an emulator or multi-cart.  Read here for more about Bob’s fixes for Pac-Man.

Pac-Man Plus…

Bob ‘Pac-Man Plus’ DeCrescenzo ‘hacked’ the 5200 version of Pac-Man to create Pac-Man Plus.  Bob changed the mazes to be green, changed the ghosts to have leafs on their heads, and changed the fruits to match the bonus items in the arcade version.  He also added some of the other Pac-Man Plus features such as sometimes having the maze turn invisible and having one of the ghosts sometimes not turn blue.  Be warned that these changes make this game more challenging to play, so you will not get bored quickly.  I don’t think that this variation has been made available on a cart, so you will need a multi-cart or emulator to play this version of Pac-Man Plus.  Read more about Bob’s development of this game here.

Hangly-Man…

Hangly-Man was a 1981 clone of Pac-Man by Nittoh.  It is really just a ‘hacked’ version of Pac-Man in a regular Pac-Man cabinet.  The game play is similar, but the mazes are slightly different.  Also, on the third maze and every odd maze after the third maze, the maze is not a maze at all.  There are a few other differences from Pac-Man that is well documented here.  Once again, Bob has come to the rescue and created a version of Hangly-Man  for the 5200.  In the development of his games, Bob always pays attention to detail and this ‘hack’ is no exception.  All of the major features of Hangly-Man are present in Bob’s version.   I don’t think that this variation has been made available on a cart, so you will need a multi-cart or emulator to play this version of Hangly-Mans.  Read more about Bob’s development of this game here.

Pac-Man Arcade…

Perry Thuente started with the 8-bit version of Pac-Man and developed Pac-Man Arcade.  He then ported his 8-bit version to the 5200.  If you are a fan of Pac-Man and have a 5200, then you will want to get a copy of this game.  Perry will either make a cart or provide a copy of the game for your multi-cart for a very reasonable price.  Differences from the ‘standard’ 5200 version includes great title and intro screens, a better looking maze, better looking ghosts (with white eyes), and improved sounds.  You can read more about Perry’s work here.

Ms. Pac-Man…

Ms. Pac-Man was an official release for the 5200 and is an excellent arcade conversion.  Developed by General Computer Corporation and released in 1983, Ms. Pac-Man demonstrates the strength of the 5200 as a great home console for arcade ports.   This game has great graphics, intermissions, four different mazes, bouncing fruits, and four mostly flicker free pesky ghosts with white eyes!  The AI for the ghosts was improved in Ms. Pac-Man, so they are definitely pesky and more difficult to avoid.  Fortunately, you get five lives as you are going to really need them!  Ms. Pac-Man is not quite as easy to find as Pac-Man, but should not be considered a rare title.  A copy Ms. Pac-Man should have a home in every 5200 collection!

Super Pac-Man…

Super Pac-Man was developed and completed for the 5200, but never officially released.  This is really a shame, as this game is almost arcade perfect.  The colors are bright, all of the arcade features are included, and this game provides some variety from the ‘standard’ Pac-Man format.  AtariAge produced a few carts of Super Pac-Man, so you might be able to find a copy or ask them to make you one.  Otherwise, you will need a multi-cart or emulator to play this game.  You can read more about the 5200 version of Super Pac-Man here.

Jr. Pac-Man…

Jr. Pac-Man is another great game that was developed for the 5200, but not officially released.  This version is very close to the arcade and, like the arcade, 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.  The only negative thing to say about the 5200 version is that there is some flicker with the ghosts, but nothing that detracts from the game play.  AtariAge produced a few carts of Jr. Pac-Man, so you might be able to find a copy or ask them to make you one.  Otherwise, you will need a multi-cart or emulator to play this game.  It is really too bad that Atari never released this game as it would have been a big hit with 5200 owners.  You can read more about the 5200 version of Jr, Pac-Man here.

Thanks to the Atari community, at least seven great versions of Pac-Man are available to be played on the 5200.  It is always hard to pick a favorite, but, on the 5200, I really enjoy the extra strategy and difficulty of Pac-Man Plus.

Wild for Pac-Man 5200!

Wild for Pac-Man 5200!

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One thought on “Atari 5200 Pac-Man games…

  1. Wow – I hadn’t seen those threads (Hangly Man and Plus) in a very log time – that brings back memoires! 🙂 That was just before I started working on the 7800. Thanks for mentioning me and the kind words – yet again. 🙂

    Bob

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