Timeless Reviews – Pac-Man

These reviews aren’t going to be the usual ones I do, these are games that automatically get 5/5, I’ll just talk about the game, and what I like the game and probably why. Enjoy! (and no, this isn’t to celebrate the release of Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures 2 (seriously, nobody brought that game and it gets a sequel), but maybe to celebrate him being a playable character in Super Smash Bros).

Pac-Man (パックマン Pakkuman), an arcade game developed by Namco and was first released in Japan on May 22, 1980 before reaching America and other places in the world that same year, the game was made because the gaming market was only aiming for boys, so Namco were making a game that appealed to everyone including boys and girls leading to its cutesy design, and of course, Pac-Man’s design was inspired by a pizza missing a slice…partly as it was also inspired by the characterisation of 口(kuchi, translated as Mouth). So when it was distributed in America, they saw the name Puck-Man, inspires by the hockey puck, but changed it to Pac-Man in case someone changed the P in Puck to F.

The gameplay is stupidly simple, you control Pac-Man through a blue maze, you go around the maze eating pellets while being chased by ghosts that you have to avoid, if you eat a power pellet, the ghosts turn blue and you can eat them, leaving their eyes and they can go back to their base to be resurrected and start chasing Pac-Man again, you can also eat fruit for bonus points. And that’s it.

The ghosts are smarter than you think, each one have different personalities, like the red ghost Blinky, he’ll just flat out chase you no matter what, the pink ghost, Pinky and the blue ghost, Inky, try to ambush Pac-Man and the orange ghost, Clyde, is stupid and goes wherever he wants. Now that you know this, you can make up strategies on how to play the game. My strategy is finish the level while avoiding ghosts, eat a power pellet but keep on eating the pellets and eat ghosts when I can. Everyone has a way of beating the game and that’s what makes it tireless.

I have Pac-Man on my android phone but you can get it for every console you have, if you have any console old and new, chances are you can play Pac-Man with it. I can play this game for hours if I wanted to, the game never changes apart from higher difficulty level as expected, I can pass through several stages before getting a game over, but then I realised something shocking, something I never expected the game to do…it immerses you into the game.

Think about it, all these latest games that are supposed to immerse you into a 3D world that is meant to look like real life, you’re meant to concentrate on the world around you and take in what the game has to offer, but then you got a game like Pac-Man that, whilst not a 3D game but a 2D pixelated game, can still do the same thing, you’re focused on trying to get a high score or beat the levels, you still have fun playing it and you enjoy everything it has to offer, heck it inspired many games years later from MIDI Maze, to even first-person shooters like Wolfenstein 3D (maze like level design and Doom (mazes, collect power-ups, kill monsters, next level), heck even Grand Theft Auto was an inspiration (run over police and get chased by them…think about that), it should be celebrated by the millions, it’s one of the classics that shaped the future of gaming.

Overall, it’s incredibly classic, it’s simple, it’s fun and everything about it was and still is an icon, it will never die, it was in a coma, surviving the Video Game Crash of 1984, due to that Atari 2600 port. This gets a rating of: TRULY TIMELESS!!!

You can get it for Arcade, Atari 2600, Atari 800, Commodore VIC-20, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, Apple II, Commodore 64, Intellivision, Nintendo Entertainment System, MSX, Game Boy, Sega Game Gear, Neo Geo Pocket Color, Game Boy Color, Mobile, Xbox Live Arcade, iPod Classic, Virtual Console, Windows Phone 7 and PC.

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