Ms. Pac-Man Arcade Flash Game

MsPacMan Arcade

Ms. Pac-Man Arcade Flash Game

Developed by Bally, Midway and Namco, Ms. Pac-Man is the follow-up to the arcade hit, Pac-Man. Just like the original you guide Ms. Pac-Man through maze eating pellets as she is chased by Ghosts. You can eat the few power pellets that are around the maze to power you up and eat the ghosts that will then retreat to their home in the center of the maze to regenerate. You can also collect fruit and travels around the screen for additional points. Once you clear all the pellets from the board you move on to the next stage.

  • Use the Arrow Keys to Move

When Video Games Become Board Games: Part 1

The 1980s saw a sudden increase in board games that were based upon classic video game cartridges or the quarter-devouring arcade machines.  Leading the charge was the powerhouse board game company Milton Bradley with an astounding array of video-to-board game titles, but were soon joined by competing gaming companies such as Ideal, Entex, and Parker Brothers.  It was a glorious time for board game enthusiasts!

This is the first of (hopefully) a series of articles listing and describing the various video game to board game properties that provided hours of family fun for a generation of gamers.  Just a quick note of definition: to be included on this list a game must fulfill a number of requirements: have its origin in a video game property, be for at least two players, and be an actual board or card game (not a handheld or tabletop electronic game).

video game board game

 

Frogger (Milton Bradley, 1981) While the fun of hopping across the road, avoiding certain death from a wide variety of sources was a hit as a video game, the translation – authentic as it was – did not have the same charm as a two-player board game, which, really, should not have been a surprise.   More interesting is that this may have been the very first board game to be based on a video game property!

video game board game

Pac-Man Game. (Milton Bradley, 1981) One of the best conversions of the arcade experience to table top board game play by using a game board in the design of the Pac-Man screen, with marbles taking the place of all the dots (the marbles are held in place by holes in the game board).  Four competing Pac-Man player tokens with the ability to capture and store marbles travel the board, avoiding ghosts and eating their way to success.  A brilliant translation!

video game board game

Defender (Entex, 1982) Entex had introduced electronic handheld versions of several popular video games, including Defender in 1981.  Board games were still a hot market, and so they also experimented with a board game version. Up to four players could attempt to turn back the invasion of various aliens, their directions shifting using a spinner to simulate the mobility of the arcade version. An ambitious, difficult to find game.

video game board game

Donkey Kong Game (Milton Bradley, 1982) Players moved their Mario tokens on a game board reproduction of the classic game screen, dodging barrels and fireballs when necessary, climbing up the girders to defeat Donkey Kong and rescue the “fair maiden.” The game was actually a pretty decent conversion from the video game, and a lot of fun to play.

video game board game

Invader (Entex, 1982) As previously mentioned, Entex produced many electronic handheld games, and some based on video game properties such as Defender and Space Invaders. However, the licencing was a bit of an adventure for this California-based company, and in this case, their agreement did not extend to making a board game based on the Space Invaders video game. Their solution? Rename it “Invader” and remove all mention of the game it was based upon!

video game board game

Ms. Pac-Man Game (Milton Bradley, 1982) Although this game is based on the original arcade game and uses its elements, Milton Bradley ensured that the game play is completely different to prevent Ms. Pac-Man from becoming a duplicate of their original 1981 Pac-Man Game. The game board is divided into four quadrants, and players take turns moving the Ms. Pac-Man token attempting collect as many plastic dots as possible from their quadrant. Each player also controls one Ghost token, which he or she can use to intercept and regain control of Ms. Pac-Man. It may not be completely true to the original, but Ms. Pac-Man is still an enjoyable game to play!

video game board game

Pac-Man Card Game (Milton Bradley, 1982) Pac-Man enters the world of educational card games, albeit with very little of the addictive charm that made the franchise so enduring. The mechanic is a bit labored with players attempting to fill lines of three spaces with Pac-Man cards to complete equations and score points.  To enjoy this game you either have to be a complete math or Pac-Man geek. Not much here for anyone else!

video game board game

Turtles (Entex, 1982) This game for 2 to 4 players was based on the Konami arcade game Turtles by Stern, and was another of Entex’s handheld games to board games series.  Just like the arcade game, players needed to rescue little turtles, and whoever rescued the most, won. Important to note that this game has NOTHING to do with any Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Possibly the most obscure video-to-board game entry on this list.

video game board game

Zaxxon (Milton Bradley, 1982) Translating the faux three-dimensional Zaxxon video game with its altitude-shifting airships into a two-dimensional board game was a challenge that was met in full by Milton Bradley by using a few standard 3-D tokens in conjunction with ingeniously designed fighter tokens that could be raised or lowered on their stands as needed. Game play was very similar to the original Zaxxon game, but with two to four players attempting to reach and shoot Zaxxon with BOTH their fighters and win the game.

A Footnote
It is important to remember that board games are not video games and neither should be expected to match the other’s total gaming experience.  Video games of this era were all about constant motion, quick reflexes and split-second decision-making.  Board games, however, are about measured decisions, random die rolls or card draws, and ever-changing strategies based on the play of your opponents.  In addition, board games often have suggested ages for players. I have read several reviews over the years from adults who were unable to understand that a game meant for children would have limited appeal to adults (and who scored them based on their own experience of playing them as an adult), or from reviewers who also expected a board game to be a video game.  These kinds of reviews do a tremendous disservice to the board game genre and to those who are searching for more information on one of these classic games.  To those game reviewers – and you know who you are – STOP IT! Let the game be judged on its actual merits, not on standards that it was never intended to fulfill.

Robot Chicken: Pac-Man

Robot chicken, pac-man, adult swim, cartoon network, ms. Pac-man, seth green, 8-bit, classic gaming, funny video game videos, retro gaming

Today’s video of the day comes from the Adult Swim show, Robot Chicken. You can always expect Seth Green and the gang to come up with some hilarious shorts, but his retro gaming parody’s are especially funny. Check out their latest one based on the classic arcade hit, Pac-Man.

Arcade Classics: What happened to them all?

It is easily the most common question I get when I chat with anyone about the classic arcade games of the early 1980s. What happened to them all?

Tron

They remember those days just as I do. Video arcades were commonplace and practically every type of business out there had arcade games in them. I remember seeing a Defender in the window of a flower shop, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga machines at the local Denny’s and entire gamerooms in select 7-Eleven stores. These machines were literally everywhere.

Over time a number of these machines have ended up in homes, mostly as an addition to a rec room or something fun in the corner of the garage. A smaller number of home collectors are deeply dedicated, some with dozens or even hundreds of machines. In recent years, arcades and taverns with classic themes are popping up around the country, giving an extent of new life to a bygone era.

Atari Football

What most casual and even many die-hard classic arcade fans don’t realize is that the vast majority of machines from the early eighties arcade boom are long gone from the planet. While games such as AsteroidsSpace InvadersPac-Man and Donkey Kong set arcade sales records that still stand today, most did not survive.

Today I provide some insight into why. While none of this is going to cover things in depth, it is going to touch on the basic answers to that common question.

The Great Video Game Crash

Atari Pole Position

While it is becoming a hardly known legend to the younger generations of gamers, the entire North American video game industry crashed hard in 1983 and 1984. The arcade market and home console markets crashed for different reasons, with the coin-ops dropped off first. Things slowed in the summer of 1982 and went into a free-fall the next year, due in large part to oversaturation of the marketplace and aging equipment.

By 1984, a great number of arcade operators had gone out of business. Those that survived had significantly smaller operations and routes. The vast majority of arcade machines seen in non-arcade businesses were never owned by those businesses but rather by vendors who installed the machines in those locations for a cut of the revenue.

Operators were stuck with huge inventories of machines nobody wanted to play anymore, and with almost everyone forced to scale back operations, most older machines had no resale value or potential buyers. Everyone had enough Scramble and Galaxian machines gathering dust in a warehouse already.

Joust

So they trashed them.

Many machines were gutted for useful parts such as monitors and coin doors then had their cabinets smashed, burned or taken to a landfill. Others were left to rot in abandoned warehouses, sheds or fields.

This practice actually still continues today. Me and a friend came across an antique store a few years ago that had obtained a few trailers of early eighties machines. Thinking they had no value they left the open trailers outside and smashed up entire machines until they’d filled their dumpsters. By the time we got there, we found pieces of games such as Donkey Kong Junior andCentipede in the trash and the machines still in tact had been rained on so much they were falling apart.

While there are hobbyists who restore classic machines scattered across the country, it is commonplace for them to use several machines to complete one full restoration, trashing the rest.

Conversions, Multicades and MAME

Mame arcade cabinet

Most classic arcade machines that didn’t end up as scrap were converted into newer game titles, and still are today.

The first successful conversion kit game was Mr. Do! in 1983, starting a trend that helped operators survive at least a while longer. For a far lesser price than a full arcade machine, vendors could purchase kits with new electronics, graphics and sometimes wiring which was used to turn that old Qix or Berzerk machine into a brand new game title.

While most arcade manufacturers resisted this trend as long as they could, they were forced to change with the times and start offering kits to operators. Some, such as Nintendo and Atari, began to produce kits designed to specifically convert their older titles.

Pac-Man

 

This trend continued through the middle of the decade but slowed for a time in the late 1980s. A bit of a resurgence in the arcade market came along with the rebirth of the home console industry during this time, and dedicated machines of newer hit titles began to sell once again. Most converted machines were simply converted again to newer titles for street locations.

The next big period of conversion mania came with Street Fighter II in 1991 and 1992. This game earned so much money so quickly that many operators quickly bought kits for every arcade cabinet they had in storage. Years ago I met an operator that literally converted every remaining early 80s machine he had to SFII when it was hot, and remember locations with classic machines such as BurgerTime and Front Line that they converted at this time.

Donkey Kong 3

In recent years the conversion mania has continued in two forms. Over the past decade an influx of overseas knock off boards often dubbed as “Multicades” have made their way into North America. These bootleg boards contain dozens and sometimes hundreds of games. Many arcade machine resellers have gutted surviving classics in favor of converting them into these multi-game machines in the name of making a buck.

Other home collectors have built arcade machines based on the MAME emulation program. While some of these MAME fans have built their arcade rigs from classic cabinets that were already stripped or converted beyond reasonable restoration, others have posted blogs where they show their process of gutting a surviving arcade machine to build it into a computer-based conversion.

Several arcade conversions have appeared on these popular treasure-hunting television programs in recent years, often without the people on the show seemingly aware of it. An episode of Pawn Stars saw someone bring three “Japanese Arcade Games” into the Las Vegas shop, two of which were conversions from Defender machines. The Ms. Pac-Man machine that appeared on an episode of Auction Hunters was actually a conversion of an original Pac-Man machine, a cabinet that is similar but quite different in many ways as well.

Arcade Passports Required

Ms. Pac-Man

Classic-era arcade machines that weren’t trashed, left to rot or converted may not reside in the country at all anymore. Several people in southern states have confirmed to me in the past that they have shipped and sold entire box trucks of older arcade machines to Mexico.

The current world record holder on Taito rarity Zoo Keeper had his machine shipped to his Australia home from the United States.

Preservation is Key

Trojan

At the present time it seems that the number of people who’d rather turn a retro arcade machine into a Multicade or MAME machine far outnumbers those who would rather try to restore them into their former glory. It is a long and often expensive task to do so.

However, these machines are pieces of pop culture and video game industry history. Just as memorabilia from films, television and various sports have seen efforts to save and preserve their history over time, video games are finally starting to see signs of a preservation effort.

The efforts of groups such as Southern California’s Videogame History Museum and New Hampshire’s American Classic Arcade Museum should be noted for being among the first in the country to take serious steps in this direction as well as many individual collectors across the country such as New Jersey’s Richie Knucklez and Cat DeSpira in the Pacific Northwest.

In time, such efforts may turn the question from “What happened to them all?” to “Did you see all that are left?”

Know Your History: Call of Duty critics should note the Pac-Man run of 1982

Welcome to the first edition of Know Your History, a new regular feature in this space.

know your history

Consumer market video games have existed for more than 40 years now, and with such a milestone comes a great deal of history.  Many of the current topics in video gaming can be compared to events of the past but are often treated as if they are first-time happenings.  This column aims to draw on the history of the industry and culture as it relates to current hot topics in the gaming world.

With the recent announcement of Call of Duty: Black Ops II, critics of the best-selling CoD series have been quite vocal.  They state that a new Call of Duty game each year is simply too much and that each game doesn’t bring enough new material or changes in gameplay.

30 years ago there was a popular game series that drew the same criticisms in time.  Eager to follow up on the record-breaking success of Pac-Man, Bally Midway brought not one, not two, not three but FOUR new Pac-Man games to the arcades of 1982.

Ms Pac-Man 1982

Ms. Pac-Man started the march of sequels.  Released in January 1982, this first Pac-Man follow-up added more colors, moving fruit and multiple mazes to the popular Pac-Manformula and took the top of the arcade earnings chart with ease.

Super Pac-Man

Super Pac-Man was the first Namco-produced sequel and came out later in the year.  Adding gates and keys, bonus rounds and a super pill to the maze chase concept, Super Pac came on strong at first but quickly slid off the earnings charts.

Pac-Man Plus

Pac-Man Plus was an upgrade kit for existing Pac-Manmachines in need of an earnings boost, released by Midway after pressure from arcade operators who were facing legal action for installing “enhancement kits” from other sources in order to twart the patterns players had developed for the original game.

Baby Pac-Man Pinball

Baby Pac-Man rounded out the 1982 Pac-Man games by attempting to merge a maze video game with a small pinball machine.  The game failed to make much of a splash and is difficult to locate today.

Call of Duty critics might point at this and note that frequent sequels is far from a new concept in the world of video gaming and has actually moved far faster in the past.  Two more Pac-Man-related arcade titles came out in 1983 as well.

Also worth note is the fact that historians blame Super Pac-Man‘s quick fade from popularity to be due to the massive changes in the basic Pac-Man gameplay concept.  Ms. Pac-Man, however, changed little to the basic concept of the game and simply added new screens and features while running on the hardware of the previous game.  Ms. Pac-Mansold a record number of arcade machines in the United States and continues to hold the record to the modern day.  Ms. Pac-Man machines can still be found in many locations across the country, the only one of the four 1982 Pac sequels to do so.

While annual releases to popular game titles may seem like a topic of note to the gaming world of today, it doesn’t mean it is a new concept when one knows their history.

Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection

Well, well…. It hasn’t been so long ago… I mean it’s only been 50 years since the founding of Namco and almost 30 years since the oldest game of this compilation was released. On the other hand this blog has existed for less than one day, and this definitely is the first PC game review to appear here. That’s quite a paradox. Maybe.

Anyway. Namco’s Museum is an almost decent (budget) collection of some classic, some not so classic and a few pointless games, hoping to please retro gamers, to teach new gamers some old tricks, to teach young dogs strange tricks or to please the average casual gamer. There are 16 games on offer, two of which (PacMania and Galaga `88) are unlockable by attaining (pretty low) highscores in PacMan, Ms. PacMan or the original Galaga, which are actually three of the best titles available in this compilation, and are decently emulated. The other games included are:

Dragon Spirit, which I had never played before, and is a passable top down shooter with an appropriately ridiculous backstory and cute graphics .
Pole Position and the radically samey Pole Position II, both aged beyond recognition (they used to be quite nice guys back then) but excellently emulated.
Galaxian, which has always been a poor man’s Space Invaders.
Mappy, the strange little unknown game that is fun for five minutes, but tends to get nervous, act stranger and gradually reduces the poor player to a horrified excuse of a person.
Rolling Thunder, a decent platformer/shooter with nice graphics.
Xevious, the classic Namco Classic.
Skykid, which is pointless, annoying and obscure, but I guess perfectly emulating the horror of being a skykid (?).
Rally-X, a very interesting car game. An absolute time sink.

Oh sorry, almost forgot. When (and if) you buy Namco Museum you will also be able to play Digout and Bosconian.

That’s the deal. Just take into consideration that there are virtually no extras (like interviews, photos, videos etc), very few options, very slight but usually annoying sound problems and the overall presentation isn’t as sleek as it should have been. And you could always download MAME for free instead. On the plus side you get to hear five ‘classic’ 80s songs while browsing through the games and it wont cost you a fortune.

That’s a (five) out of (ten).

 

Ryan Modjeski: Legacy Interactive

Legacy Interactive logo
Legacy Interactive logo

Name: Ryan Modjeski

Company: Legacy Interactive

Profession: Producer

Favorite Classic Game: The Secret of Monkey Island II and Ms. Pac-Man (preferably a modded Laundromat version).

Quote: I make games.

Biot: Ryan Modjeski began his career making games as a toddler, dictating amendments to board game rules as they suited his whim. He continued his love of interactive design when he discovered Dungeons and Dragons in grade school, concocting and running elaborate imaginary campaigns for is classroom friends during recess. Writing and designing his first adventure game on spec in the late 1990’s, he has gone on to work as a designer and producer of casual, mobile and social games. He was recently a juror for the 2010 Indiecade International Festival of Independent Games and keeps a game design blog at ludicmagician.wordpress.com

Classic Gaming Beauty Pageant

Ever hear the saying; “Don’t be fooled by a pretty face”? In this case that “pretty face” can put you in intensive care quicker than a Dragon Punch. ~J.A. Laraque

Classic Gaming Beauty Pageant

We asked our fans on the official Obsolete Gamer Facebook Page which classic gaming heroine was the sexiest. We received a number of responses and now we will showcase some of them here. Let’s take a look at some of the lovely ladies of classic gaming to see if we can find a clear winner.

Beauty Pageant

Princess Toadstool

Princess Peach from Mario

With golden blond hair, big sky-blue eyes and rosy-red cheeks it’s no wonder Mario is willing to go anywhere in the galaxy to save her. As princess of Mushroom Kingdom, Peach takes her job very seriously and is even willing to battle to save her land. Her beauty and grace are unmistakable, she clearly owns the evening gown competition, but she is much more than just another pretty face. Peach is also an avid go-cart racer and excels in golf, tennis, soccer and even brawling. She is clear royalty that brings a lot to the throne.

Ms. Pac-Man

Ms Pacman arcade side

Nothing beats a full figured woman and Ms. Pac-Man carries the perfectly round look better than anyone else in history. While it is true the lovely lady spends most of her time eating she is constantly on the run which balances it out. Her strong suit is the swimsuit competition because she refuses to wear much else besides a pink  pumps, silk gloves and a lovely bow. Don’t get any ideas guys, Ms. Pac-Man is married and has a child. Honestly would you want to date someone who is constantly being pursued by ghosts?

Samus Aran

Samus Metroid

Sometimes a man wants a strong woman, someone who can handle herself in battle; someone who can kick your ass, that woman is Samus Aran. This battle beauty spends most of her time in her battle suit blasting away the badies in Metroid, but there is a softer side to ol’ Sam. When not blowing away anything in her path, Miss Aran loves to read war strategies and weapon tech manuals. She lost a few points for refusing to compete in the evening gown or swimsuit competition but her answer to what would she do if she won the pageant was clear and to the point, she said: “I’d keep doing what I’ve been doing all my life, saving the world.”

Tyris

Tyris Flare Golden Axe

Originally Tyris was not part of the pageant, but when a sword-wielding, red-haired amazon asks to be included you better not say “no”. Brawn and beauty are in perfect harmony with this video vixen. In Golden Axe, Tyris battled against the horde to seek revenge on Death Adder for the murder of her parents. Now Tyris is a swimsuit model and military consultant. That’s an A+ resume.

Princess Zelda

Princess Zelda

This noble beauty believes in the more traditional role of fantasy princesses. Zelda spends most of her time either in a magically induced sleep or trapped in some dungeon waiting for a hero to save her. Being a lady of stature and prestige she refuses to show herself in anything beyond her royal gown, but we still like what we see. Zelda understands the key to being saved is looking good and patience, lots and lots of patience.

Chun Li

Chun Li Street Fighter anime

Ever hear the saying; “Don’t be fooled by a pretty face”? In this case that “pretty face” can put you in intensive care quicker than a Dragon Punch. Chun Li is a competitor be it in Street Fighting or beach volleyball, she doesn’t like to lose. Being the first lady of fighting games has put a target on her head and Ms. Li wouldn’t have it any other way. She loves to show off her silky smooth legs and powerful thighs, but that is just a trap. If you are not careful you will quickly become a victim to her lighting fast kicks. Chun has no problem using her brute force to get what she wants, she rather kick you than kiss you which is why many of the judges are voting 10.

Jill Valentine

Jill Valentine Resident Evil fan art

If you were to date this woman and Valentine’s Day came around it would be in your best interest to give her the world. I mean not only is Valentine her last name, but she kills zombies for a living. You have to love a woman with a gun who knows how to use it and with her lock picking skills you will never run out of ammo. Now some have called her the weaker link in team Resident Evil, but that is far from the truth. Her strengths lie in her versatility. Jill is proficient in many different weapons and her puzzle solving skills are top shelf. Ms. Valentine dazzled us with her numerous wardrobe changes. We asked her, “Why do you love to show off all your different types of clothing?” Her response was, “Do you have any idea what I had to do to get these clothes?”

Lara Croft

Lara Croft - Tomb Raider

When out raiding tombs and treasure hunting it is important to have the total package. Lara Croft is the total package. She has the brains to solve the most mind numbing puzzles and the athletic ability to run, jump and swing her away across the most dangerous environments. She is an expert marksman and a Rhodes Scholar and she has a pair of assets that are second to none. Ms. Croft defines pageantry competing and excelling in all categories she is the epitome of classic gaming excellence and beauty. Clearly if there is a winner amongst this fine field of females it is Lara, she would have won even if she did not give us all a share in her latest treasure find.