What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

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VideoGameCritic
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What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 6th, 2019, 9:45 pm

I was in grade school when the Atari 2600 Pac-Man came out, and my friends had some very diverse opinions about it.

Chuck got an advance copy because his mom was somehow in the business and he HATED it. He would illustrate for me how the dots were slashes and how the ghosts were blinking and on and on. He hated how different it was from the arcade.

Andy and Billy on the other hand thought it was great. They loved the sound effects and always wanted to play it whenever we got together. These guys didn't seem to mind the difference from the arcade.

So what if there was no Pac-Man arcade game? What would the reception of Atari 2600 Pac-Man have been like then?

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txsizzler
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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby txsizzler » August 7th, 2019, 10:34 am

I think it would have been somewhat better received, but there are still issues with the game (in particular with the blinkies). Still, it would have been better reviewed, no doubt.

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby Voor » August 7th, 2019, 6:16 pm

It’s probably for the best that things went the way they did. Arcade games being “superior” to their console counterparts is a cool element to video game history. Remember the fun of seeing how “close” a console game came to the real/arcade version? If they had perfected it right out of the gate, all that fun would have been lost.

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Stalvern
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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby Stalvern » August 8th, 2019, 4:42 am

Voor wrote:It’s probably for the best that things went the way they did. Arcade games being “superior” to their console counterparts is a cool element to video game history. Remember the fun of seeing how “close” a console game came to the real/arcade version? If they had perfected it right out of the gate, all that fun would have been lost.

Arcade games didn't need incompetent console ports for the gulf between hardware to be impressive. The Ms. Pac-Man port is perfectly decent and still would never be mistaken for the arcade version. There is no way on Earth that "all that fun would have been lost" if the 2600 Pac-Man had been the same way, to say nothing of the fun that was lost in the game that came out.

Edit: I should also point out that arcade ports actually were perfected "right out of the gate" with the Space Invaders port two years earlier.
Last edited by Stalvern on August 10th, 2019, 10:52 am, edited 4 times in total.

ASalvaro
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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby ASalvaro » August 8th, 2019, 5:21 am

What bothered me the most about 2600 Pac Man was not the graphics but the scoring..why in the world did they change the scoring from the arcade?

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby MSR1701 » August 8th, 2019, 8:05 am

If there had not been an Arcade Pac-Man, there would be Game X, which would have an Atari 2600 version of Game X.

Setting aside Atari gobbling up big licenses and not utilizing them correctly (ET, Last Starfighter, etc.), it was inevitable that a maze game like Pac-Man would occur, as there were already several other maze games out or in production at the time, and a company like Atari would pounce on whatever was big to try to push sales (Space Invaders, anyone?).

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby Matchstick » August 8th, 2019, 1:59 pm

Stalvern wrote:The Ms. Pac-Man port is perfectly decent


You can say that again. The 2600 version of Ms. Pac-Man is so good that, at least to me, it completely makes up for the disappointing 2600 version of Pac-Man. While I agree that nobody is going to think of it as arcade-perfect, it's a mighty fine home version all on its own.

A shame about Pac-Man, sure, but I've always felt that Ms. Pac-Man is the superior game both at home and in the arcades. Too bad more people don't have fond memories of the Ms. Pac-Man port, but as disappointing as the 2600 Pac-Man was, I can't say I blame them for passing it up!

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby Breaker » August 8th, 2019, 7:33 pm

This topic fascinates me, because I have to go to another medium to relate to it. I'm 40, and didn't spend more than 20 hours total in an arcade growing up. The only Pac Man I knew was the 2600 version, and to me it was a blast. It wasn't until I started *really* collecting video games about 7 or 8 years ago that I was even aware there was a controversy around the port, and that it was considered poor. I never even noticed the scoring difference until reading this thread today. For me, it was just as fun as Space Invaders, which is considered by many a near perfect port. Just goes to show how much expectations can affect perception! Probably why I'll have some disappointment about the next Bond movie, while someone who isn't as geeked out about Bond as I am may enjoy it just fine.

End of pointless post.

EDIT: My post was pointless, not the topic. Sorry for any confusion!

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby MSR1701 » August 9th, 2019, 10:31 am

Breaker wrote:This topic fascinates me, because I have to go to another medium to relate to it. I'm 40, and didn't spend more than 20 hours total in an arcade growing up. The only Pac Man I knew was the 2600 version, and to me it was a blast. It wasn't until I started *really* collecting video games about 7 or 8 years ago that I was even aware there was a controversy around the port, and that it was considered poor. I never even noticed the scoring difference until reading this thread today. For me, it was just as fun as Space Invaders, which is considered by many a near perfect port. Just goes to show how much expectations can affect perception! Probably why I'll have some disappointment about the next Bond movie, while someone who isn't as geeked out about Bond as I am may enjoy it just fine.

End of pointless post.

EDIT: My post was pointless, not the topic. Sorry for any confusion!


Actually, that is an interesting thought. As interesting as it is to consider how a dud/disaster program would fare if it did not have the clout/comparison to the "superior/original" version, it is also interesting to consider the perspective if you had never encountered the original and enjoyed the "lesser" version.

Growing up with only a Game Boy for the bulk of my childhood, I was exposed to more "lesser" games than my gaming peers, having played Lion King on Game Boy a full six years before I ever touched the Genesis version, or how I enjoyed Mega Man II long before I played any of the bigger games (and still do, though the soundtrack is far more annoying than I recall).

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Re: What-if scenario for Atari 2600 Pac-Man

Postby strat » August 9th, 2019, 11:00 am

Voor wrote:Arcade games being “superior” to their console counterparts is a cool element to video game history. Remember the fun of seeing how “close” a console game came to the real/arcade version? If they had perfected it right out of the gate, all that fun would have been lost.


Video games were slightly more interesting when ports had to be different from the source material. Now practically every multiplatform release is identical (exclusive content and performance issues notwithstanding).


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