Review by MikeHaggar
Reviewed: 12/18/01 | Updated: 12/18/01
As good as they get.
Pac-Man was released for Japanese arcades in 1981 by Namco Limited. In Japan it was known as Puckman. That same year, Midway Entertainment struck a deal with Namco to bring Puckman to America. The only changes were the names of the four ghosts and the renaming of PuckMan to Pac-Man(1) (note: See why that is at the end of the review).
While other games had reached various heights of success before it, Pac-Man was truly the first monstrous hit the video game industry had ever witnessed. It was the first games to be a huge hit in both Japan and America (most popular games before Pac-Man were only popular in one country). By the end of 1981, Pac-Man had been on the cover of Time Magazine, had a hit song wrote about him, and was causing quarter and yen shortages in Japan and America. Video game's first superstar had arrived. Pac-Man still holds the world record for most arcade machines being sold, and is second only to Ms Pac-Man for the American record for most arcade machines being sold.
It's great that Pac-Man was so popular, but I truly feel that no part of my overall score for Pac-Man should be attributed to whether Pac-Man was popular or not. With that said, I have given Pac-Man a perfect score for being a great game, not for being a popular game. Not a single point of the ten points I have given Pac-Man was earned through nostalgic waxing.
I feel that it would be foolish to do my normal review policy for Pac-Man. I usually describe the gameplay mechanics, then graphics, then sound, then control and then overall gameplay. These just aren't needed for Pac-Man. Almost everyone knows how it plays, so theres no need to describe that. The graphics and sound are beyond primitive, but are not important to Pac-Man, because the way Pac-Man was designed, it didn't need great graphics or sound.
So what makes Pac-Man so great? Pac-Man is great because it's what a video game should be. The concept is so simple, but the challenge is so great. The entire point of the game is known the second you step up to the machine. It's challenge is completing it to the best of your abilities. Thanks to perfect design, it is entirely up to you whether you succeed or fail. Everyone knows it takes time to get good at Pac-Man, but it is not only fun enough to stick with it, it's entirely worth it.
My biggest compliment, yet my biggest complaint with Pac-Man is it's challenge. The challenge keeps me coming back, but it's so great that I feel weak every time I'm dead by the thirtieth level. I know that there are over two hundred levels to Pac-Man, yet I have only made it to the thirty-second level. It's very humbling to know that I'll never master Pac-Man.
There's my review for Pac-Man. I don't think I did such a great job defending it getting it's perfect score. I am trying to think why that is, and all I can come up with is, I just don't think I have to. It's one of the greatest games ever made and you owe it to yourself to at least play it once. For those that have played it, do it again.
(1) Midway Executive feared that vandals would scratch part of the the P in PuckMan, turning it into a profanity.
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