List of Pac-Man clones

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In video gaming, Pac-Man clones are unauthorized versions of Namco's popular maze chase arcade game Pac-Man. The combined sales of counterfeit arcade machines sold nearly as many units as the original Pac-Man, which had sold more than 300,000 machines.[1]

Arcade clones

Hangly-Man (a mis-transliteration of the Japanese pronunciation of hungry man (Japanese: ハングリーマン Hangurī Man)) was one of the most notable Pac-man clones, a variant of which was Caterpillar Pac-Man made in 1981 by Phi. In the latter, one plays as a caterpillar, and the ghosts are replaced by spiders. Another notable clone was New Puck-X, which used an altered design of the original board, but, otherwise, the gameplay and graphics were identical to the original game. There was also a clone titled Piranha where Pac-Man was replaced by a Piranha & the ghosts are replaced by squids. Also, there were no borders in the maze & the power-pellets were replaced with sea shells.

Lock 'n' Chase was developed and published by Data East in Japan in 1981, and was later published in North America by Taito. The game was later licensed to Mattel who produced the Intellivision and Atari 2600 home console versions in 1982 [1] [2] and an Apple II version in January 1983 [3]. Here, Pac-Man was replaced with a thief stealing coins from a bank vault. The ghosts were replaced with police, and the thief could temporarily block passages with doors.

Mighty Mouth was a game by A-1 Machines that District Court Judge Warren Keith Urbom described as "for all practical purposes, identical to ...Pac-Man"[2] Among the similarities cited were the color and shape of the player character and ghosts, the maze configurations, the sound effects, the paths of the characters in the attract mode and the paths of the characters in both the attract mode and a game where the player does not move.[3] Midway, owners of the Pac-Man copyrights, were granted summary judgment for copyright and trademark infringement in 1983.[4]

Contemporary home computer / console clones

CatChum was a text-only Pac-man clone for Kaypro's early line of luggable home computers. It was created by Yahoo Software and released in 1982 and 1983. Because the early Kaypros did not have graphics capability, this clone used dashes and various punctuation marks to construct a maze. The letter A served as ghosts and the fruits were replaced by dollar signs. The Pac-man was a letter C which went from upper to lower case, intermittently, to simulate a chomping Pac-man. A major down side of the game was that early Kaypros were not able to flip text characters. As a result, the CatChum Pac-Man was always facing right, even when chomping pills on its left.

K.C. Munchkin was a 1981 release in the official line of games for the Magnavox Odyssey². It is very heavily based on Namco's 1980 arcade game Pac-Man, but not a direct clone. It was however, similar enough for Atari to sue Philips and force them to cease production of Munchkin. In 1982, an Appellate court found that Phillips had copied Pac-Man and made alterations that "only tend to emphasize the extent to which it deliberately copied the Plaintiff's work." The ruling was one of the first to establish how copyright law would apply to the look and feel of computer software.

Munch Man was a 1982 Texas Instruments Pac-man clone for the TI-99/4A home computer, in which the player lays down a "track" (or "links", in Munch Man parlance), as he progresses through the maze instead of eating pills — a change made by TI to avoid possible lawsuits from Midway.

Snapper for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron were faithful clones of the Namco arcade game Pac-Man.[5] released by Acornsoft in 1982 and 1983.[6][7] In development, the game was titled Puc Man (the first Japanese title of the arcade game was Puck Man) but the name was changed before release to avoid legal action. However, the initial 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.[8][9] 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.

Tax Man for the Apple II was a Pac-Man clone programmed by Brian Fitzgerald and other students from La Sierra High School,[10] Atari sued Fitzgerald and he sold the port to Atari which they ended up selling as a licensed version of the game.

Jelly Monsters for the Commodore VIC-20 is a faithful port of Namco's Pac-Man by HAL Laboratory who had the home computer rights to Namco's games in Japan at the time, but when the games were release in North America, the names were changed to avoid legal issues with Atari, Inc. who had the home computer rights in North America to Jelly Monsters for the VIC-20 which was published by Commodore International, Atari ended up suing HAL and Commodore anyway and won the lawsuit, Atari pulled off HAL's VIC-20 port and released their own version, after the lawsuit HAL sold the Japanese home computer rights to Dempa who ended up porting the game to many home computers in Japan, this excluded the MSX version of the game of which Namco ported themselves under their Namcot branding.[11]

Devil World for the Famicom is a Pac-Man clone designed by Shigeru Miyamoto[12]

Jawbreaker for the Atari 8-bit family is a modified version with different gameplay, winning a best action game award in 1983 and later forming a section of Steven Levy's book, Hackers. Atari threatened to sue the publishers, Sierra Online, but this simply made them mad and they released the game anyway. They won the ensuing lawsuit.

Ghost Hunter is a more direct clone for the Atari, notable primarily for the creepy version of The Twilight Zone theme that plays at the start of the game.

sp21 is a Pac-Man like game for PDP-11 computers. A fairly close imitation of the original game is now implemented using the Python language and ncurses.

TV series clones

Circle Guy is a clone by Warner Bros. which only appears in Teen Titans Go! in the episode "Video Game References" which Raven trains at. Circle Guy is a light green, circular characer with a black dot as an eye and has a rectangular mouth.

See also


  1. Leonard Herman, Jer Horwitz, Steve Kent, Skyler Miller (2002). "The History of Video Games" (PDF). GameSpot. p. 7. Retrieved 14 March 2012. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Midway Mfg. Co. v. Dirkschneider (Dirkschneider I), 543 F.Supp. 466, 477 (D. Neb. 1981)
  3. Dirkschneider I, 543 F.Supp. at 477
  4. Midway Mfg. Co. v. Dirkschneider (Dirkschneider II), 571 F.Supp. 282 (D. Neb. 1983)
  5. Jackson, Jane (December 1983). "The Micro User Games Software Review: Snapper Acornsoft". The Micro User (Issue 1-10). Retrieved 2010-10-03. SNAPPER is an attractive and incredibly frustrating version of Pacman.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Edwards, Dave A. "Snapper". Retrieved 2010-10-03. 1983: SNAPPER, Acornsoft, £9.20 (Tape), £16.50 (ROM Cart)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Reed, Martin. "Electron Games Reviews: Play it Again Sam 7". Electron User (Issue 6.9). Retrieved 2010-10-03. SNAPPER, Acornsoft's implementation of the ever-popular Pac Man, was one of the first games ever released for the Electron.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. Robinson, Oliver. "Only the Best BBC Micro Games". Retrieved 2010-10-03. Snapper was one of the first Video Arcade Conversions made for the BBC by AcornSoft.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Reeves, Alex. "Classic Retro Games". Retro Gamer. Retrieved 2010-10-03. This is one of the many quality arcade conversions that Acornsoft created for the BBC Micro, being a very faithful example of Pac Man.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Atari Age forum post".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Generation MSX's Pac-Man page".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Dan Whitehead (2008-11-17). "Virtual Console Roundup". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2010-04-28.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>