The Games That Pac-Forgot #2- Piranha!


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 game is one I remember playing at my local roller rink’s arcade- Piranha!

piranha_marquee Piranha was programmed by a small company- GL. This was one of the biggest Pac-Man bootlegs- it actually had an dedicated cabinet release in the U.S. by U.S. Billiards.


The cabinet looked like a standard Sega cabinet of the time (Frogger, Carnival, Pulsar) with some beautiful artwork, the cabinet’s quite a looker. Check it out!

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Now that we have seen the cabinet- what about the game?

Here’s a write-up from Strategy Wiki-

  • This hack of Pac-Man was released as a conversion kit. It was available as an upgrade board, much like the original Ms. Pac-Man was.
  • The graphics have been drastically altered to present an underwater theme. You control a red piranha, while you are chased around by four squid-like monsters. (In an earlier variant of the game, they are little more than altered ghost sprites, with extended sprites for the tentacles).
  • Most of the maze in the game is wide open. You’re free to move about various open portions of the maze, but so are the squid-like monsters.
  • One central tunnel is present on the left and right sides of the maze, as well as another central tunnel at both the top and bottom of the maze.
  • There are fewer bonus items, and their values start at 500 points for the Crab, and end at 5000 points for the Yellow Anchor. The Fish (Rounds 3 & 4) is worth 1500 points, the Red Anchor (Rounds 5 & 6) is worth 2000 points, the Cyan Whale (Rounds 7 & 8) is worth 2500 points, and the Blue Whale (Rounds 9 & 10) is worth 3000. Eating the squid-like monsters is also worth four tremendously different point values: 300, 700, 1200, and 2000 points, which adds up to total of 4200 points.

The first thing You’ll notice- there’s not really a maze. I always felt it was like you were in a large salt water tank. The whole nautical theme has been done very well- from the seaweed, rocks, to the kelp bed- you feel like you’re underwater! The screen has four exits- two on top and two on the sides! The ghosts have been turned into squid- with soulless, hollowed out eyes!


Your power pellets have been turned into shells! The bonus fruit are now crabs, anchors,and other fish. Interestingly, the dots are placed in a pattern. But, the piranha’s control is still 4-way… meaning you’ll be circling around a few times to get a single dot. So the game’s challenge is tough- even for the most seasoned of players.

So- why don’t we watch a game?

If you have a emulator, you can play this game- I suggest giving it a go. It will keep you coining up for more!

Keep Playin’ Like It’s 1981!

Raygunn Dreams Of Dream Machine!

Hey fellow Arcaders!

Ross from Poughkeepsie had a question for me about the Dream Machine Arcade at South Hills Mall in that very town (The first arcade I worked in!)

Ross writes- “You wouldn’t happen to have any pics or memorabilia from Dream Machine would ya? I used to go there when I was a kid. Just awesome bro!” 

Well Ross, The Dream Machine Arcade holds a special place in my heart not just as the first arcade I worked in, but the first TRUE mall arcade I had ever been in. 3 floors of arcade goodness!

Yup- dream Machine did it all right- look at those banners!

Dream Machine was established in 1973 in Massachusetts, and quickly expanded into malls all over the northeast. I had 2 near me- Dutchess Mall in Fishkill, NY,  and the one that was at South Hills Mall in Poughkeepsie, NY  (that expanded into two after the Park Place Roller Rink closed in 1983.) South Hills  was the one I worked at. It was a bright, colorful arcade with mirrored ceilings everywhere that made it look even bigger that it was (the best part is you could see yourself playing upside down!) . The higher walls were done in red, white, blue, and yellow line designs, culminating into the cloudburst they used in the logo on the top of the walls, near the mirrored ceiling. The walls the games were on was done in a blue, felt-like material. Silver railings with staircases  were  everywhere, separating the floors, and on the right side was an access ramp to take you to all three levels if you were in a wheelchair.  The top level had a row of 10 to 15  pinball machines and that wrapped around to a huge row of slightly older arcade games. the second level was filled with cocktail tables (awesome for head to head competition! ) The ground floor was littered with the latest games and more recent arcade games. and of course the silver change booth (it was a title of distinction to be a change attendant in that booth!) They always got the latest and the best during the golden age (1979/83).  Some games stayed forever, while some gems got overlooked by patrons and eventually discarded into history. I will eventually do regular reviews on some of those lost gems on this site!

Here’s some pics I was able to find online, but sadly, I never took any myself ( it was forbidden to take pics early on- copyright issues!). So, I am putting a challenge to all the arcaders out there. send  any Dream Machine pic you have  to me here at The Arcade Archives and I will start a Dream Machine Tribute Page here on site for all to enjoy! Ross, thanks for the question, and the chance to dig up pics, and to fondly remember the Dream Machine as the best arcade that I think ever existed!

Welcome to the Archives and KEEP PLAYIN’ LIKE IT’S 1981!


I’m digging the Def Leppard concert shirt! also check out the Krull and the Q*bert with the prototype swearing header!

What? no one whats to play Star Castle?

And if you use 3D Arcade as your MAME frontend, wouldn’t this be a great arcade to run around in?

UPDATE  12/2/12

ShadowOnix emailed and asked-

“Hey, I was curious if you have a simple, plain Dream Machine logo, and was wondering if I would be able to use this in a year book for my high school. My dad used to work there, and if I would be able to try and get it in there, and bring it to him I’m sure he would love it.” well here ya’ go!

With the cloud background

With the cloud background

without the cloud background

without the cloud background