Retro Bits: Pacman

(Published on February 15th 2016)

Wish you could play some Pac-Man? You can, just google it!

Originally called Puck-Man in Japan, his name was changed by the time he made it to the United States. They decided that “Puck” sounded a lot like that certain 4-letter word that we all should never use, and would get us grounded as kids.

All four ghosts are actually programmed to act differently in the game. Known as Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde, their real names are actually Shadow, Speedy, Bashful, Pokey. Shadow was programmed to always chase Pac-Man, while Speedy and Bashful would try to position themselves in front of him. And as for Pokey? He would chase Pac-Man most of the time, but would move to the lower left corner of the screen if he got too close to him.

The Atari 2600 version was first time the enemies were called ghosts. Technical limitations of the Atari hardware caused them to flicker like ghosts on the screen, and the name stuck.

Although Pac-Man was designed to never end as long as the player had lives remaining, the highest level anyone can get to is 255. A game breaking bug causes half of the level to go crazy and does not allow the player to collect all the pellets.

If you were to google an image of Pac-Man, it would actually be a larger file size than the entire original game!