Pac-Man

This is my copy of Pac-Man for the Sharp MZ-700. It is a Japanese release, but I got it on eBay, not Yahoo Auctions, from a US seller. Probably a bit cheaper than it would have been locally. The box was in pretty dirty condition when I got it, and am pleased with how nicely it turned out after a cleaning.

As I mentioned on my MZ-700 page, the computer does not have a graphics mode by default. So how do the games look? Blocky! But the system still got major releases like Pac-Man and Galaxian. And serious effort was put into the playability of the games. They are a lot of fun. From the high-score data that won’t get saved to the unique “coffee break” scene that mimics the cut-scenes in the arcade, this port is a fantastically unique port of Pac-Man.

One thing, and to me this is so ridiculous it’s awesome, is the chomping sound. It is so deep and bass-y. To really drive it home, the computer has an internal speaker, and the controls are on the keyboard, so you can feel the vibrations of the sound through your hands. What an experience!

I took the time to record the gameplay, so why don’t you watch it?

By the way, I said there was no graphics mode by default. There was a (rare and expensive, of course) peripheral that provided a PCG (programmable character generator) which allows a replacement 256 character set with per-pixel color to be loaded. This is the same feature that drove the Sharp X1’s arcade game ports to be so realistic. Pac-Man is one of the games programmed to take advantage of it, it is on the reverse side of the tape.

2 thoughts on “Pac-Man”

  1. It’s fun seeing how developers found interesting ways to work around hardware limitations. It’s kind of like the devs, not having direct control over graphics hardware, had to find characters that most resembled pixels and use them to construct a pseudo dot matrix display yielding the unique aesthetic. You said there are more arcade ports like this? I’d love to see them!

    1. Yeah! They really made the best of what they had. I think back in the Atari 2600 days, many game publishers didn’t even bother to hire graphic designers, perhaps believing that it was all so blocky that it wouldn’t have mattered, but looking at Activision and Imagic games of the era, I think it could have made a big difference.

      In addition to Pac-Man, there were a handful of arcade classics available for the MZ-700, including Bomberman, Galaxian, and Mappy. Besides that, there was a game called Donkey Gorilla. I’ll give you one guess which game that was a clone of. But it, too, although not official, was a fun game. There were also some noteworthy original games that I’ll get to, most memorably a one-screen platformer called Ottotto.

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