In 1981, Pac-Man was the hottest video game in the world, and Atari was one of the most respected video game companies. So when Atari decided to make a home version of Pac-Man for its 2600 system, people expected it to be fantastic.
It wasn’t! Indeed, it was nothing like the original! Read this review for one reaction:
But look at how Atari described the game in its own manual:
1. HERE’S PAC-MAN
We know that millions of people all over the world just love the PAC-MAN arcade game. PAC-MAN has won the hearts of men, women, and children everywhere. We also know that PAC-MAN has traditionally been an arcade game. Well, we at ATARI know all about arcade games. After all, we make some of the greatest arcade games in the world, and we know how to bring the same dynamite game play into your home.
Our PAC-MAN has all of the excitement and challenge of the standard arcade game, and you get to play in the comfort and convenience of your own home. This is especially advantageous if you still plan to make an occasional appearance at the arcade to show off your great playing skills. (Little do they know that you’ve been practicing at home all along.)
Having played both the original arcade game and the Atari home version of Pac-Man, I knew immediately that Atari was bullshitting everyone, but it somehow got away with it!
It shouldn’t have! I would have gladly taken part in a class action lawsuit against Atari for that act of fraud on its part. If I had been the CEO of Midway Manufacturing Company, which made the arcade Pac-Man that Atari was supposed to duplicate, I would have sued Atari too!