Pac-Man On Square Pegs!

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Hey Arcaders!

I want to thank each and every one of you for making Pac-Man month better than I could ever imagine. It’s been a blast! Don’t worry- I’ll be keeping up on the Pac-Man articles even though it’s over!

But to end everything on a high note (pun intended) I want to have the last article of Pac-Man month be a great one!

So here’s an episode of a show I grew up with- I think most of the older Arcaders (like me) will remember.

in 1982, a show aired called Square Pegs. It’s a fun romp, showing the different cliques in a high school. one episode in particular had our little yellow friend- and it’s called Pac-Man Fever! Check it out!

Don’t fret- the month may be over- but The Pac-Fun isn’t!

Keep Playin Like It’s 1981!

The Games That Pac-Forgot #3- Pepper II!

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Hey Arcaders!

In the early days after Pac-Man was released to the world, there were a lot of arcade and home console companies that wanted in on the Pac-profit! This series will focus on these lesser known games. weather it’s an original game, or a Pac-bootleg, we will be touching base with these games that Pac-forgot!

The next one is one is a golden age Maze game it it’s finest- Pepper II!

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Pepper II was designed and manufactured in 1982 by Exidy- a company known for games like Death Race, Fax, Crossbow, and a game that’s in  one of my favorite movies- Star Fire!

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Ok- let’s get this question out of the way-  This isn’t a sequel. There wasn’t a Pepper I. Originally, The game was called Zipper. but a higher up at Exidy didn’t like the name. The story goes- he looked at a packet of pepper on a table in the lunchroom and said… “How about Pepper?” The name stuck. The “II” comes from the two personalities your character has.

The character “Pepper” is an angel. There are two types of enemies that must be avoided: Roaming Eyes and the Whippersnapper who unzips all uncompleted, zipped segments by moving over them. Pepper’s one defense is to enclose an area containing a pitchfork, which turns him into a demon “Pepper II” for approximately four seconds. At that time he can go after all Roaming Eyes for points while the Whippersnapper freezes. There are four pitchforks in the corners of every maze. A deluxe energizer is located in the center of each maze. This energizer alternates between being a pitchfork and a halo symbol. If Pepper encloses the middle area when the energizer is a halo, the Whippersnapper disappears from the maze.

Points are made for enclosing a segment, consuming a pair of roaming eyes when energized by the pitchfork (similar to Pac-Man), obtaining prizes, completing a maze, and completing 4 mazes. A bonus turn is awarded at 40,000, 50,000, 70,000 or 90,000 points, depending on the dip switch settings. When a full screen (of the four) has been completely filled, “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” is briefly heard.

Let’s talk about those mazes. there’s four of them. And they’re all connected.

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Each maze has exits leading to three other mazes. All four mazes must be filled to advance to the next level. To fill in a maze, the player maneuvers “Pepper” around different segments of the maze. As Pepper travels, he leaves a “zipper”. Once he encloses or “zips” a segment, it fills in and points are awarded. If Pepper backtracks on an uncompleted segment, it unzips.

Fun Fact- the intro music is Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette” or as most people that frequented Universal Studios Florida know it- the intro song to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

 

Hey- why don’t we watch this wonderfully crazy game in action, shall we?

This is a fun game but it ramps up quickly!

Extra fun fact- There was a version made for the completely awesome Colecovision system- Check it out!

However you can play this game- give it a shot- you’ll love it!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

 

Coin Up Review Of Pac-Man!

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Hello Arcaders!

Welcome to the latest issue of COIN UP! This is the review series where I go back in time and review those arcade games of the past that you probably remember or or have a memory vaguely playing at the local arcade- the game tucked away in a corner while you’re waiting for your turn at Frogger. If you have a favorite game you would like to see in a review- let me know in the comments section below! Lets start this Maze Madness series on the Pac-Man games of the Bally-Midway Era, with the one that started it all! Continue reading

Pac-ommercial #1- 7up!

 

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Hey, Arcaders!

With Pac-Man Month underway, why not throw in some commercials? With Pac-Man?

To quench your thirst for some Pac-Man goodness- Check out this 7up ad from 1982!

Take a sip…

Bonus points if you know what song they used for the ad! Leave your answer in the comments!

Keep Playin’ Like it’s 1981!

Video Game Boom Box Disney Quest Tribute: Music From The Namco Museum- Pac-Man!

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Hey Arcaders- Next up in our continuing tribute to Big Blue Box is a game we have on the 3rd floor, next to AstroBlaster-

PAC-MAN!

This music plays when you enter his room in the museum.

So, hit start on that control panel…

Have Fun!!!

 

Haunted by the 80’s by Terry Fan

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That little tease you see above is part of the most radical throw pillow I have ever had the pleasure of owning! Growing up in the 80’s; I’m a huge fan of the 80’s culture. There will never be another time like it. So what is better to add a splash of 80’s to your decor then a Pac-Man pillow? What makes these graphics so great is you can also get them on a tee shirt at RedBubble.

I think I’ve teased you enough with the sheer awesomeness of this design!

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In case you still aren’t totally awestruck by the full image let me point out all the reasons this pillow is amazing! First of all Pac-Man is the moon. Secondly the ghosts haunt this amazing Victorian style mansion. Thirdly the side walk is lined with Pac-Man power pellets! The color pallet in this pillow is amazing as well. The gray and black is a great background to make the ghosts and Pac-Man pop off the pillow.

The throw pillow is as squishy as I want it to be. There is nothing worse then overstuffed hard throw pillows. The fabric is also a nice strong fabric. Which means it will be long lasting not like some throw pillows that are made with cheap fabric that if you use them the pillow starts to fray.

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This pillow is totally gnarly! Want to get your own Haunted by the 80’s pillow? You can get your own at RedBubble for $19.84.

Coin Up! Review Of Pulsar!

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Hello Arcaders!

Welcome to another Coin Up Review! This is something I wanted to do from the beginning- online reviews of games that we couldn’t devote an entire podcast to, but a written review would do nicely. So keep an eye out- I might review that game you have always liked, but couldn’t put your finger on the name- or you just secretly liked while playing your friends at Karate Champ.

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 Is a unique maze  game released by Sega/Gremlin in 1981. The player controls a tank that’s in a very strange maze. The player must collect the colored keys to unlock the airlock and escape to the next, more challenging maze.But, you are not alone… hear that heartbeat? that’s the Pulsar, looking for you! Large and seemingly harmless, it is filled with aggressors, just waiting to break out and destroy you! Get all your keys to the airlock and and try to escape… THE PULSAR!

 I first saw this astonishing game in May of 1981 at a little Mom and Pop convenience store that was right next door to my Junior High School. They had a little back room area that they would put 5 or 6 games in,  and that was great for them, as the kids would come over after school ( or sometimes, when school was in session- don’t tell my Mom!) They always got some great games in (Battlezone, Turbo, Astro Fighter) and between the candy, soda, and arcade games, the place was always hopping! And after the first play on this game, I was HOOKED!

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The key to this game is speed. You get bouku bonus points completing a level with the most fuel. So, the first thing to do is assess the maze- more important, where are the keys? On top? On the sides? Remember, the maze is ALWAYS MOVING! Also, don’t be afraid to get close to an aggressor to shoot it. Running into them won’t kill you- and it’s a great way to get some fuel! And remember- you don’t have to get the keys in numerical order… you just have to get them to the keyholes!

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This is your tank. It is capable of 360 degrees of movement quickly. The tank has a laser cannon powerful enough to shoot a beam across the maze at a target. It can move fast through the corridors of the maze, but at the cost of your fuel- shoot the aggressors to replenish.

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This is the Pulsar. It seems to be a living organism in the maze, as the Pulsar’s heartbeat can be heard throughout it’s confines. It is following the tank, sensing wherever you are in the maze. It has no defense, and you can run into it, but what would happen if you shot at it?

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This is a Yellow Aggressor. It rolls on the walls of the maze,and is harmless to the touch. shoot it for more fuel.

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This is the Green Aggressor. It bounces around the maze randomly, shooting at you. It too is harmless to the touch, and if shot, helps replenish your fuel reserve.

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This is the Red Aggressor. it makes a fast beeline towards you shooting quick. Again, it is harmless to the touch, and when shot will go towards  your fuel.

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Keys are what you are after on all the sides of the screen. They will unlock the keyholes to the airlock at the bottom right hand side of the screen. when you grab a key, your tank’s color changes to the keys color. You have to collect different color keys for each keyhole.

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The keyholes unlock the airlock, allowing you to enter the next maze. Each lock matches a corresponding colored key. You can do them in any order, but you must unlock all keyholes to successfully enter the next maze- before running out of fuel!

And now for the most dangerous enemy in the game…

THE MAZE ITSELF!!!!

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I feel the biggest enemy in this game is the maze. It shifts and changes with every beat of the Pulsar’s heart. It does two things- walls open and close, and it creates deadly force fields which can kill on contact! Just when you think you have the key, or your near the exit, the walls move blocking your path!

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This one’s a no- brainer… There were NO ports of Pulsar for home play that I know of (a shame) But one that was about as close as you could get at the time ( I guess ) was Tanks But No Tanks  for the Atari 2600.

I guess its cross between the tank level in Tron and the game Tank Battalion , but the movement is fast, and you shots go across the maze. The object here is to protect the base at the bottom from the screen from the oncoming tanks who want to destroy it. Not a bad game , but not very exciting.  But a good hacker COULD make this Pulsar. Also, you can play this game on the M.A.M.E. emulator http://www.mame32.com.

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Appearance and Sound-

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1981 was a transitional year for video game technology.  You had games like Donkey Kong and Defender pushing the limits of what a game could do at the time.  Then, you have games like Pulsar. Graphics like this were still the norm at this point, so they work just fine. The character animations are great,  and the moving maze parts add to the excitement. The sounds all work for a sci-fi game ( I especially like the sound of the pulsar exploding!) , but what really gets you going is the haunting heartbeat that you hear throughout game play. So, I think the simplicity of this game is what works.

Control-

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Controls are quick, concise, and simple for a game of this era. If I had any complaint its a minor one- there’s only one fire button- on the right side- great if you are a rightie. Sega should have put the stick in the middle and fire buttons on each side. this was very typical in early 80’s arcade machines. Probably  a cost issue during it’s manufacturing cycle.

Difficulty-

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I think with the simple objective, the game gives you a few rounds to get used to the movement of the maze itself. After round 5 though, with five keys to collect, the maze changing fast, and even more aggressors, you got your work cut out for you!!!

Play ability-

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With it’s simple but changeling game play, you will be coming back to play Pulsar again and again to see what else it has to offer!

So, Pulsar’s overall score is- 

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I think Pulsar holds up today because it truly is a golden age arcade game- great graphics and sound for a game of this type and age, cabinet art is simple, colorful and enticing to the eye. It just keeps pulling you in for just one more try!!!

Hey gang- as a special treat, I will making collectible trading cards of all the reviews I do on the site! The front has general stats (name ,year, manufacturer) the back has game play tips! Collect ‘em! Trade ‘em! they make great holiday gifts! Please give me a shout and let me know how I did!

Thanks for reading and keep playin’ like it’s 1981!

Raygunn

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the gang