More Pac-Man Clones From The Early 1980s - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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More Pac-Man Clones From The Early 1980s

We've already unearthed 12 Pac-Man clones from the early 1980s here, join us now as we continue the list with 12 more that could be find in arcades, on home computers and the first video game consoles of the decade.

How many of these Pac-Man clones did you play...

13. Oh Shit!
What a title for a video game, eh? Oh Shit! is a near identical Pac-Man clone released in 1984 for the ZX Spectrum and later ported to the MSX. It featured digitised speech; when the player loses a life, the eponymous phrase "Oh Shit!" is said. And that's how it got its name.

Interestingly, it was retitled as Oh No! for the UK release as the name was considered too offensive. No such concerns in Europe, though, as although it was re-released the following year with a title change, it was shortened to, simply, Shit!

14. Im Irrgarten
We're going international now with a game that was included in the only arcade machine to ever be produced in the German Democratic Republic. Im Irrgarten, which translates as In the Maze, was one of the games included in the 1985 Poly Play arcade cabinet, and just feast your eyes on the quality of its wooden finish...

...Clearly a load of old 1970s school desks had to be sacrificed to produce the 2,000 cabinet housings which were shipped across East Germany. Poly Play was not a capitalistic commercial venture, but a state-owned product found predominantly in FDGB (Free German Trade Union) venues & holiday homes, youth hostels and non-profit clubs.

Most machines had eight games available to play, selected from a menu, but several other titles were included in the source code. As well as the Pac-Man clone Im Irrgarten there were clones of other popular games (like Space Invaders, Sega's Carnival and Robotron: 2084) alongside some basic generic titles like racing, skiing etc, some featuring well known communist cartoon characters.

15. Alien
In 1982, the same year Atari released the official home version of Pac-Man for their Atari 2600, they also released the official game-of-the-film Alien. And seemingly they just copied across some of the source code from Pac-Man, changed up the sprites and, voila, we have Alien.

In Alien player controls a member of the human crew pursued by three aliens in the hallways of a ship. The goal is to destroy the alien eggs laid in the hallways (like the dots in Pac-Man). The player is armed with a flamethrower which can temporarily immobilize the aliens. Additionally, "pulsars" (like the power pills in Pac-Man) occasionally appear which turn the tables, allowing the human to overpower the aliens.

Although it is just a Pac-Man clone, the modifications made mean that, arguably, Alien is the better game, as the actual Atari 2600 release of Pac-Man was pretty dreadful.

16. Snapper
Released in 1982 for the BBC Micro, and 1983 for the Acorn Electron, Snapper was originally going to be titled Puc Man (in reference to the Japanese title of the arcade game) but the name was changed before release to avoid legal action.

However, the initial BBC Micro release of the game was so close to Pac-Man (including the design of the game's characters) that this version had to be withdrawn and re-released with the characters changed. The player's character became a round yellow face with very short legs wearing a green cowboy hat and the ghosts became skinny humanoid monsters.

17. Lady Bug
Originally released into arcades in 1981, the gameplay of Lady Bug is similar to Pac-Man, with the primary addition to the formula being gates that change the layout of the maze when used by the controllable Lady Bug character.

The arcade original was relatively obscure, but the game found wider recognition and success as a launch title for the ColecoVision console. It also led to this...

18. Bumble Bee
Like Money Hungry earlier, Bumble Bee is a clone of a Pac-Man clone. In this case, a clone of Lady Bug which replaced the main character with a bumblebee and the enemies with spiders and was released in 1983 for the BBC Micro, and 1984 for the Acorn Electron, and Commodore 64.

19. Catchum 
It doesn't get much more basic than this! CatChum is a 1982 text-only clone of Pac-Man written for the CP/M operating system. The maze is made from a series of dashes and other punctuation marks, the Pac-Man character is a letter C, which goes from upper to lower case intermittently (to simulate a chomping Pac-Man),  the four ghosts are capital As (which turn to lowercase Ms when the CatChum Pac-Man chomps a power-pellet), and the "fruits" are represented by dollar signs.

Happy days!

20. Mouse Trap
Not the popular board game with the crazy contraption, this Mouse Trap is a 1981 arcade maze game which replaces Pac-Man with a mouse, the dots with cheese, the ghosts with cats, and the power pellets with bones. It does also include a unique element, in that color-coded doors in the maze can be toggled by pressing a button of the same color.

Mouse Trap was later ported by Coleco as a ColecoVision launch title in 1982, then to the Intellivision and Atari 2600.

21. Scarfman
Released for the TRS-80 computer in 1981, Scarfman's only real difference from Pac-Man was that there were 5 ghosts instead of 4, and their eyes lower when they are vulnerable (after Scarfman consumes a power pill). An updated version for the TRS-80 Color Computer followed in 1982 as Color Scarfman.

22. Snack Attack
Released for the Apple II in 1982, Snack Attack sees the player controlling Snacker, a small, white, fish-like character, moving through a maze in order to eat all the gumdrops scattered throughout. Meanwhile, the Gumdrop Guards, four enemies that resemble the ghosts in Pac-Man, patrol the maze in an attempt to catch Snacker. Green and purple barriers can only be crossed by Snacker and the Guards, respectively.

Released into arcades in 1981, Thief is extremely similar to Pac-Man in game-play, although here the player operates a car being pursued by several blue police cars, in a maze that is supposed to represent city streets. There are eight mazes in all, which change every level in a set order, then repeat starting with the ninth screen.

24. Spectre
And finally, not the James Bond film of the same name but rather a 1982 Pac-Man clone for the Apple II. Like 3-Demon, Spectre features a 3-D wire maze presented in first person perspective, with the goal being to collect dots while avoiding "Questers."

The player navigates the maze with the 3-D view on the left side of the screen and a top-down representation on the right. As the advertising blurb of the day promised...
You're marooned between the stars, and the deadly Questers are swarming through the space ports to destroy you. Think fast, act faster if you hope to survive! Only Spectre brings you a fantastic 3-D maze action ... and a special enemy locator-screen.
If that doesn't make you hand over your $29.95 then I don't know what will!

And there you go, 24 Pac-Man clones, all released in the early 1980s. Did you own or play any of these titles? Which one was your favourite? And can you name any more? Let us know in the comments below...

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