Developer - Tod Frye
Publisher - Atari Corporation
Release - 1982
Platform - Atari 2600
Number of players - 1P / 2P
Genre - Action
Pac-Man is a variation of the original arcade game, which Namco released in 1980, and features similar—but not identical—gameplay.
The player uses a joystick to control Pac-Man, navigating him through a maze of consumable dashes called Video Wafers, opposed by a quartet of multi-colored ghosts. The goal of the game is to consume all the wafers in each level in order to proceed to the next one in search of the highest possible score. The four ghosts roam the maze, trying to kill Pac-Man.
If any of the ghosts touches Pac-Man, he loses a life; when all lives have been lost, the game ends. Each game starts with four lives, and the player is awarded a bonus life upon successful completion of each level, up to a maximum of nine lives in reserve at any given time.
Near the corners of the maze are four larger, flashing consumables known as Power Pills that provide Pac-Man with the temporary ability to eat the ghosts and earn bonus points. When a Power Pill is in effect the enemies turn blue and try to evade Pac-Man. When a ghost is eaten its disembodied eyes return to the nest (center box) to respawn.
The blue ghosts turn reddish during the last moments of a Power Pill's effect, signaling that they are about to become dangerous again, and the length of time for which the enemies remain vulnerable varies from one level to the next, becoming shorter as the game progresses. The final consumable items are the Vitamins, which appear periodically directly below the nest.
The game has eight variations, offering two different starting speeds for Pac-Man and four different starting speeds for the ghosts. The ghosts get slightly faster each subsequent round, but Pac-Man stays at the same speed. The console's A–B difficulty switches can also be used to handicap one or both players: in the A (hard) position, the power pills' effects do not last as long.