Hey Arcaders!

My last Homebrew Spotlight post wasn’t really a homebrew- it’s actually a hack. What is a hack? Well, hacks can be many things. A hack can alter the performance of a game- more lives, rapid fire on your ship, a speed boost- anything to help the player succeed.

A hack could also alter the look of a game- perhaps to make it more arcade accurate- like the Donkey Kong hack for the Atari 7800. Also- listen to the sound on the game- the sounds were altered- ported over from the the Atari 8 bit computer version!

So- hacks are awesome! And- hacks have been around a long time! Our Friends at General Computer got their start hacking Missile Command into Super Missile Attack in 1981!

So, it dawned on me- why not start a series on hacks of your favorite games- some of which you may not even know of? So- let’s have a Gamehack Spotlight! We’re going to start with one of the most maligned games on the Atari 2600- Pac-Man.

Now- we have gone over the game before, so we won’t talk about the issues. Suffice it to say, improvements could be made. By the late 90s- people had the computers and software to start their own improvements to the game. Let’s take a look at some!

The first one I remember was done by Rob Kudla in 1999. Like many of the Pac- Man hacks, they weren’t done on the original Pac- Man rom- but Ms. Pac-Man. Why?  Easy- Ms. Pac-Man resembled the game more than Pac-Man did, so it was better to work with. So- with some sprite and maze changes- a fully functional version of Pac-Man for the 2600 that looked the part could be played! and it played well!

But- this was just the start for our little yellow friend! There are some great hacks of Ms. Pac-Man into the original Pac-Man that we’ll look at here (plus one of the ORIGINAL) that are great! The best part- these can be downloaded and played! Check out these and more hacks at ATARIAGE!

That’s it for now- come back soon for more Gamehack Spotlight fun!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!



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