By Brad Cook
If you were wondering about the inspiration for one of the most popular video games in history, look no further than an equally-popular food. I was having pizza for lunch, PAC-MAN creator Toru Iwatani recalls in the book The Ultimate History of Video Games. I took one wedge and there it was, the figure of PAC-MAN.
Known as Puck-Man until publisher Namco realized that a vandal could easily change the name to an obscene phrase, PAC-MAN became an instant hit upon its release in 1980, gobbling up quarters around the world and drawing in legions of fans, many attracted by its non-violent subject matter.
The object of the game is simple, but mastery of it is difficult. Eat all the dots and advance to the next level. You lose a life if a ghost touches you, but you can eat them for a brief period of time after munching one of the four power-ups found in the corners of each maze. The ghosts move faster as the dots deplete, and the action gets more intense when you progress to the next level. Gobble up bonus items, such as keys and cherries, for extra points whenever you can.
Just Like You Remember
The iPod version of PAC-MAN faithfully reproduces the original arcade game, down to the sound effects and music, as well as elements of the cabinet art adorning the side of the screen. Choose from three game modes: Original, which recreates the pace of the arcade action; Normal, which is the same as Original but grants an extra life at the start; and Easy, which gives you two extra lives at the beginning and slows down the pace a bit. You can also start the game at any level between one and six, and you can continue at the level where you lost your last life up to three times per session.
A Save & Exit option lets you quickly save your progress if youre interrupted while playing, and you can track your historical high scores in each game mode. In addition, a picture of a joystick shows you which direction youve tapped on the scroll wheel. You can hold that direction in anticipation of making a turn, but make sure you lightly touch the click wheel, or you could instead press one of its buttons. No one wants to see the game menu appear when they meant to send PAC-MAN up a corridor.
As far as we know, there is no antidote for PAC-MAN Fever. Play with caution.
Tips and Tricks:
- The ghosts slow down in the tunnel, at least during the early levels, so head in that direction if you get a few of them on your tail. Youre on your own when you reach the later mazes.
- PAC-MAN loses a little bit of speed while hes chomping dots, so head for a previously-cleared area if you wind up with a ghost or two close behind.
- You can tap the direction you want to turn before you get there, or simply hold that direction in anticipation, saving you some grief if you wait until youre there and tap too late or too early.
- Each ghost has a distinct personality alluded to by its nickname:
- Blinky: The red one, also known as Shadow, is the most aggressive of the four, chasing PAC-MAN every chance he gets.
- Pinky: The pink one, also known as Speedy, uses his quickness to ambush PAC-MAN, rather than chase him.
- Inky: The blue one, also known as Bashful, often shies away from PAC-MAN, but if he gets within striking distance, hell go after the yellow dot-chomper.
- Clyde: The orange one, also known as Pokey, isnt very aggressive, preferring to wander the maze and hope he runs into PAC-MAN.
- The ghosts eyes also give away which way theyre about to turn.
- If you need a breather, park PAC-MAN on the left side of the T-shaped maze piece found directly above him when he starts the game. Just make sure he goes there when no ghosts are looking his way and theyll never find him.
- The highest score possible is 3,333,360 points, which requires eating every dot, power-up, ghost, and bonus item in all 256 levels. Try to reserve a little extra playtime if you want to attempt that the fastest such accomplishment on record lasted just under four hours, according to Twin Galaxies, the official arcade game scorekeeper.
- If you need extra tips, check out the PAC-MAN Guide at MameWorld. There youll find patterns for beating different levels, additional historical information about the game, and more.
iPod Games FAQ
Do you have questions regarding any of the iPod games available from the iTunes Store?
More iPod Games
- Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or Windows 2000
- iPod nano (3rd and 4th generation only), iPod classic, or iPod (5th generation only). Not playable on your computer, other iPod models, iPod touch or iPhone. Please check which iPod model you have.
- iTunes 7.5 or higher required to download (games cannot be played in iTunes)