Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

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Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby VideoGameCritic » January 15th, 2017, 12:37 pm

I noticed that some Pac-Man carts for the NES on Ebay say "unlicensed". Were there two different versions of the game made for the NES?

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby ESauce » January 15th, 2017, 1:08 pm

Yeah the black cartridge version, like all the black cartridge Tengen games, is unlicensed. The gray cart version is licensed. I might be wrong because I don't own both, but I think the game is identical outside of the packaging.

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby shootingstar » January 15th, 2017, 3:45 pm

I actually had a Tengen Pac-Man cart as a kid. The gameplay is still the same, as well as the graphics. However, the sound effects are not accurate to the arcade. I remember being very confused because it looked different from all the other games but I had no idea why at the time.

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby Sonicx9 » January 15th, 2017, 8:32 pm

Critic, there is 3 different North American NES versions of Pac-Man on the NES and here is the rundown:

The original licensed Tengen Pac-Man version/unlicensed version: ... en-pacman/ and the licensed Namco re-release in 1993 after Tengen license had expire: ... G_3552.JPG, but all 3 are the same as the 1984 Famicom Namco version.:

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby eneuman96 » January 15th, 2017, 9:27 pm

Both NES cartridges of Pac-Man are identical, but the unlicensed Tengen version of Ms. Pac-Man is different and actually quite a bit better than the official Namco version because it has custom features like adjusting the type of maze or the ability to "boost" by holding down A. The Namco version is pretty much a straight port of the arcade version and isn't nearly as impressive.

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby pacman000 » January 17th, 2017, 2:09 pm

In the mid-80's Namco bought a majority share of Atari's Games, which was the half of Atari which made arcade games. (The half which made computers & consoles was sold to the Tramiels; another division which was developing phones was sold to Motorolla, if memory serves.) This gave Namco a ready-made U.S. division. When Nintendo released the NES in the U.S., Atari Games produced home versions of their latest arcade games for the system, but they couldn't use the Atari name; they only had the right to use it in arcades, so they released the games under the name Tengen. Nintendo had rather strict licensing policies, and had trouble producing enough carts, so Tengen couldn't meet their sales quotas. Namco thought they should get a better deal. When Nintendo refused, Namco/Atari Games/Tengen started to release games w/o a license.

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Re: Pac-Man unlicensed for the NES?

Postby MrLuck87 » January 17th, 2017, 8:33 pm

There's a pretty good video from The Gaming Historian on youtube that explains the Tengen games. It's a little long at 26 minutes but worth watching.

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