Pac-Man is an arcade video game from the Golden Age. It was
produced by Illinois-based Midway Manufacturing corporation, the North
American publisher of Pac-Man. Ms.
Pac-Man was released in North
America in January 1982, and is one of the most popular arcade
video games of all time. This popularity led to its adoption as an
official title by Namco, the creator of Pac-Man, which was released in
the United States in late 1980. Ms.
Pac-Man introduced a female
protagonist, new maze designs, and several other improved gameplay
changes over the original Pac-Man. Ms.
Pac-Man became the most
successful American-produced arcade game of 1982, selling 115,000
6 In fiction
8 External links
Screenshot of the game's first round.
The gameplay of Ms.
Pac-Man is very similar to that of the original
Pac-Man. The player earns points by eating pellets and avoiding ghosts
(contact with one causes Ms.
Pac-Man to lose a life). Eating an
energizer (or "power pellet") causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing
them to be eaten for extra points. Bonus fruits can be eaten for
increasing point values, twice per round. As the rounds increase, the
speed increases, and energizers generally lessen the duration of the
ghosts' vulnerability, eventually stopping altogether.
There are also some differences from the original Pac-Man:
The game has four different mazes that appear in different color
schemes, and alternate after each of the game's intermissions are
seen. The pink maze appears in levels 1 & 2, the light blue maze
appears in levels 3, 4, & 5, the brown maze appears in levels 6
through 9, and the dark blue maze appears in levels 10 through 14.
After level 14, the maze configurations alternate every 4th level.
Three of the four mazes (the first, second, and fourth ones) have two
sets of warp tunnels, as opposed to only one in the original maze.
The walls have a solid color rather than an outline, which makes it
easier for a novice player to see where the paths around the mazes
The ghosts' behavioral patterns are different, and include semi-random
movement, which prevents the use of patterns to clear each round.
Blinky and Pinky move randomly in the first several seconds of each
level, until the first reversal. Inky and Sue still use the same
movement patterns from the previous game to their respective corners,
again until the first reversal.
Instead of appearing in the center of the maze, the fruits bounce
randomly around the maze, entering and (if not eaten) leaving through
the warp tunnels. Once all fruits have been encountered, they appear
in random sequence for the rest of the game, starting on the eighth
round; a 5000-point banana can be followed by a 100-point pair of
The orange ghost is called Sue, rather than Clyde; her color was later
changed to purple in
Pac-Land to differentiate her.
Pac-Man makes contact with a ghost and dies, she spins
around, or as the back of the flier says, "she dramatically swoons and
falls" rather than folding in on herself like the original Pac-Man
The three intermissions have changed to follow the developing
relationship between the original
Pac-Man and Ms.
Pac-Man (from when
they first meet to having a stork drop off their baby); the latter
later served as the attract opening sequence for Jr. Pac-Man.
The sound effects and music are very different from those of the
original game, including a new opening theme and death sound effect.
As with Pac-Man, this game has a bug in the subroutine that draws the
fruit, which renders the 256th round unplayable. However, the game
also has other bugs that cause it to crash or become unplayable much
sooner, making it impossible to reach Round 256 without the use of
Points awarded for item
After level 7, any fruit will appear, although its point value will be
the same (unlike in Pac-Man, in which the Key will always be the fruit
after level 13).
Pac-Man was originally conceived as an enhancement kit for Pac-Man
called Crazy Otto, created by programmers employed at the General
Computer Corporation (GCC). While Crazy Otto was under development,
GCC settled a lawsuit with
Atari over their
Missile Command conversion
kit Super Missile Attack. Part of the settlement terms barred GCC from
selling future conversion kits without consent from the original game
Rather than scrapping Crazy Otto entirely, the programmers chose to
present the completed game to Midway, Namco's American distributor of
Pac-Man. Midway had become impatient in waiting for
Namco to release
Pac-Man game (which would be Super Pac-Man), and were
enthusiastic that such a game had come to their attention. They bought
the rights to Crazy Otto and worked with GCC and
Namco to prepare the
game for release. In final development the game's name and characters
experienced multiple changes. Sprites, text, and minor game elements
were altered to better reflect the
Pac-Man series. The game was
initially titled "Super Pac-Man," containing
Pac-Man as the lead
character. Inspired by the cutscenes of Crazy Otto featuring Crazy
Otto's female counterpart, the lead character was made female and the
game was renamed Pac-Woman. That name was dropped for the name Miss
Pac-Man was chosen, but because of the family imagery in the third
intermission, protests were feared about the Pac-couple having a
Pac-baby out of wedlock. The name was changed to Mrs. Pac-Man, and
then finally to Ms. Pac-Man, which rolled off the tongue easier. These
later changes (Miss, Mrs., and Ms.) all occurred within 72 hours of
According to one estimate a majority of
Pac-Man players were women.
Shortly before release, Stan Jarocki of Midway stated that Ms. Pac-Man
was conceived in response to the original
Pac-Man being "the first
commercial videogame to involve large numbers of women as players" and
that it is "our way of thanking all those lady arcaders who have
played and enjoyed Pac-Man." The game was later awarded the
Certificate of Merit as runner-up for Coin-Op
Game of the Year at the
1982 Arcade Awards held in January 1983.
After the game became wildly popular, Midway and GCC undertook a brief
legal battle concerning royalties. The
Killer List of Videogames notes
that the game was accomplished without Namco's consent, causing both
companies to eventually turn over the rights to Namco. Ms.
reportedly the first in a series of unauthorized sequels that
eventually led to the termination of the licensing agreement between
Namco and Midway. GCC co-founder Doug Macrae has disputed stories
that the game was manufactured without Namco's blessing, claiming that
Namco president Masaya Nakamura had even provided feedback over
character artwork during the game's development.
Pac-Man was later released on the third
Namco Museum game;
however, there is no mention of it in Namco's official archives
(including the archives on all
Namco Museum releases).
Namco released an arcade board featuring both Ms.
Galaga in honor of the 20th anniversary of both games with the
subtitle "20 Year Reunion / Class of 1981". It also features Pac-Man
as a hidden bonus game. The later 25th Anniversary Edition allows all
three games to be selected at the main menu.
Like many other games of its era, Ms.
Pac-Man has been ported to many
A Mini-Arcade tabletop version of Ms.
Pac-Man was released in 1983 by
Coleco. The unit was shaped like a miniature arcade cabinet, was
controlled with a small built-in joystick, and used a multicolor
vacuum fluorescent display. This version of the game was later
awarded the Certificate of Merit as runner-up for Stand-Alone Game of
the Year at the 1983 Arcade Awards held in January 1984.
Atari, Inc. released versions of it for its
Atari 7800, and
Atari 8-bit computer line. There were also versions
for the Commodore VIC-20, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, IBM PC, Apple II,
and Texas Instruments TI-99/4A. A version of Ms.
Pac-Man was also
created for the Puffer exercise bike controller by Jim Leiterman for
Atari 5200 as part of the Puffer project. It was never intended to
Atari Corporation also released a version for the
Atari Lynx, introducing new mazes, a fourth cartoon (called School
Bus), and a power-up that gave the player a temporary speed boost. In
January 1984, the
Atari 2600 port won the Videogame of the Year award
at the 1983 Arcade Awards, tied with Lady Bug.
The Mega Drive/Genesis, Master System, and NES versions, by Tengen,
and the Super NES version, by Williams Electronics, took a few
liberties. They featured four different sets of mazes: the original
arcade mazes, bigger mazes, smaller mazes, and "strange" mazes. There
was also a Pac-Booster option that let players make Ms.
much faster which was only available in the original arcade game from
a maintenance menu. All of these versions also allowed two people to
play simultaneously, with player 2 as Pac-Man, either cooperatively or
competitively. The game also ended at level 32, at which point an
intermission that did not occur in the original game took place, where
Pac-Man and Ms.
Pac-Man say good bye. The Mega Drive/Genesis version
of the game sold more than one million copies in the United
Namco also released Ms.
Pac-Man to the NES in 1993. Unlike the Tengen
version, it was a straight port of the arcade game without any added
features, except for 4 extra mazes.
Pac-Man was ported to the
CD-i as part of an Arcade Classics
collection (released in Europe, but not in North America). It had all
of the extra features of Tengen's ports even though neither Tengen nor
Williams Electronics had made this version.
It has also been included in Namco's, Microsoft's and Atari's late
1990s series of classic game anthologies, and is an unlockable
minigame in the SNES version of
Pac-Man 2: The New Adventures and in
Pac-Man World 2.
It was ported to the
Game Boy Color
Game Boy Color with two new mazes and a bonus
game (Super Pac-Man).
A standalone, battery-powered version of the game released by Jakks
Pacific can be plugged directly into a television. Ms.
four other games (Galaga, Mappy,
Xevious and Pole Position) are
included in a self-contained joystick hand controller.
Pac-Man was also a free game bundled with every Xbox Live Arcade
disc for the original Xbox. The
Xbox 360 XBLA version was released on
January 9, 2007, featuring an online leaderboard and twelve
As of July 11, 2008, Ms. Pac Man is available for Apple's iPhone
through the App Store, and features all 256 levels. The game was
also released in July for
Windows Mobile Professional.
As part of Pac-Man's 30th anniversary, Ms.
Pac-Man is one of the games
included on the home version of Pac-Man's Arcade Party arcade machine.
In December 2013 it became available for Android.
It was also included as downloadable content in
Pac-Man Museum for
Windows and Xbox 360, free to download until March 31,
2014. It then became a $4.99 paid download afterwards.
InfoWorld stated that Atarisoft's Ms.
Pac-Man for the
Commodore 64 was
as good as the best-selling
Atari 8-bit version.
Reviewing the Super NES version, three of Electronic Gaming Monthly's
four reviewers said the gameplay is timeless and universally
appealing, and the enhancements appealing. The fourth, Sushi-X, felt
the original game was a cheap cash-in on the popularity of Pac-Man,
and had not aged well. Doctor Devon of
GamePro liked the original
game but questioned the value of the Super NES port since it has
somewhat frustrating controls, and since Ms.
Pac-Man had already
appeared on the Super NES in the form of an unlockable in
The New Adventures.
Clayton Walnum praised the Lynx version's new mazes and the
added twist of the lightning power-ups, and found the game transferred
well to the small screen. Julian Rignall reviewed the
port for CVG Magazine writing that "it offers a fun and non-violet
challenge which will appeal to anyone" giving a final score of 79 out
Reviewing the Game Gear version,
GamePro commented "If you loved the
Pac-Man games, then you loved Ms. Pac-Man, and if you loved Ms.
Pac-Man at the arcades, you'll love her here, too."
Electronic Gaming Monthly
Electronic Gaming Monthly reported that the Genesis version of
Ms. Pac-Man, which was released in 1991, was still among the top 20
best-selling Genesis games. The same year, Next Generation ranked
the arcade version as number 12 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time",
saying that it has aged far better than the original
Pac-Man due to
its smarter ghost AI, varied mazes, moving fruits, and intermissions.
They added, "It has the broadest appeal of any game Next Generation
has seen, with the possible exception of Tetris. Women love it. Men
Love it. Children love it."
Game Informer put Ms.
Pac-Man 10th on their list of "The Top
200 Games of All Time", saying that it "trumped [the original Pac-Man]
in nearly every way". This is down one rank from Game Informer's
previous best games of all-time list.
Entertainment Weekly called
Pac-Man one of the top ten games for the
Atari 2600 in 2013.
In 2016, Ms.
Pac-Man placed 5th on Time's The 50 Best Video Games of
All Time list.
During Season 5, Episode 6 (“A Modest Proposal”) of the television
show Weeds, live action gameplay captured from a Ms.
forms a segue between scenes. It establishes the depressive state of
main character Andy after lead character Nancy leaves him a ”Dear
John” letter. He uses most of a cash windfall to purchase
extravagances such as an arcade machine for his living room. Game
sounds punctuate the episode’s plot, especially a later scene where
Nancy leaves Andy’s house. Just after her departure, the game over
sound plays, highlighting a turning point in the two characters’
In Season 8, Episode 12 ("The One Where Joey Dates Rachel"), of
Friends, Phoebe gives Monica and Chandler a Ms.
Pac-Man arcade game as
a wedding present.
^ US Copyright Filing PA0000140275
^ Beamish, Graeme (May 22, 2010). "Pellet-popping power:
30 today". Nanaimo Daily News. Canwest News Service. Retrieved 5 March
^ Donhodges.Com—Ms. Pac-Man's Kill Screens Analyzed And Fixed
Pac-Man Videogame by Midway (1981) - The International Arcade
Museum and the KLOV
^ Game Developers' Conference Post-Mortem by original developer Steve
^ The Ultimate History of Video Games by Steven L. Kent, pp. 171-172
^ How to Win Video Games. Pocket Books. 1982. p. 87.
^ Worley, Joyce (May 1982). "Women Join the Arcade Revolution".
Electronic Games. 1 (3): 30–33 . Retrieved 3 February
^ a b c "
Electronic Games Magazine". Internet Archive. Retrieved 1
Pac-Man Videogame by Midway (1981) - The International Arcade
Museum and the KLOV
^ Doug Macrae from GCC speaks at California Extreme 2010
Coleco Ms Pac Man
^ Reichert, Matt. "5200 Rumor Mill: Puffer Ms. Pac-Man". Retrieved
^ Cifaldi, Frank. "Retronauts Episode 91: A Tengen Family Reunion".
Frank Cifaldi talks to rebellious NES game developers Franz Lanzinger
(Toobin', Ms. Pac-Man), Steve Woita (Super Sprint, Police Academy) and
Mark Morris (Hard Drivin', 007: License to Kill) about the old days.
1up.com. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
^ Welcome to JAKKS TV Games >> Ms.
Pac-Man Archived 2006-05-17
at the Wayback Machine.
Pac-Man Game Detail Page, xbox.com Archived 2009-06-02 at the
^ Ms. PAC-MAN now available for your iPod
^ Mace, Scott (1984-04-09). "Atarisoft vs. Commodore". InfoWorld.
p. 50. Retrieved 4 February 2015.
^ "Review Crew: Ms. Pac-Man". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 87.
Ziff Davis. October 1996. p. 66.
^ "Ms. Pac-Man". GamePro. No. 99. IDG. December 1996.
^ Walnum, Clayton (December 1990). "The Lynx Collection". STart.
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^ Julian Rignall (January 1991). "Latest Lynx Lowndown". No. 110.
CVG Magazine. p. 136. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
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^ "Williams Prepares for a New Era!". Electronic Gaming Monthly.
No. 85. Ziff Davis. August 1996. p. 55.
^ "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine
Media. September 1996. p. 66.
^ "The Top 200 Games of All Time".
Game Informer (200): 44–79.
December 2009. ISSN 1067-6392. OCLC 27315596.
^ Cork, Jeff (2009-11-16). "Game Informer's Top 100 Games of All Time
(Circa Issue 100)". Game Informer. Retrieved 2013-12-10.
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Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved April 17, 2016.
^ "The 50 Best Video Games of All Time". Time.
Time Inc. August 23,
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ms. Pac-Man.
Pac-Man at the Killer List of Videogames
Pac-Man at the Arcade History database
GCC 2004 reunion audio Presentation by GCC alumni of their company
history, including development of Ms. Pac-Man
Ms. PAC-MAN for iPod at NamcoGames.com
Pac-Man (360) Reviews at Metacritic
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Pac-Man on IMDb
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