Ok, this I remember about this title...
My Dad had purchased for me the Sears Video Arcade version of the Atari 2600, as he usually shopped at Sears for stuff.
It was my Christmas present, that Christmas, the same year the system was released.
I had several Atari 2600 Games leading up-to Pac-Man release. The earliest games were the Tele-Games series, as I shopped for new games at Sears.
I think the first game I purchased was Black-Jack. I was playing Black-Jack on a Calculator at the time and really liked the game Black-Jack.
I remember playing Space Invaders at a food place, just off-site of our school, and I really liked Space Invaders on the Atari 2600 - even though it was "different".
I think this was out before Pac-Man.
I remember playing Pac-Man in the arcade several times, before the Atari release. I did have Pac-Man fever, it was one of my favorite video games. I also remember singing that song "Pac-Man Fever" and having a tape or record of it.
I was 14 and purchased this game as soon as I saw it released in the store, in 1981(?), with my hard earned allowance money.
I remember on the way home, from the store, my Mom, had to stop off and visit a friend.
I sat on the couch for an hour or more reading and re-reading the manual, so I could be ready to play when, I got home.
THIS GAME WAS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT !!!
I remember CLEARLY, why I was so letdown.
1. Pac-Man did not turn and eat up and down - only side to side
2. It had a STUPID vitamin, instead of the fruit and items from the arcade game.
Now, I know there have been several other things mentioned in this forum, about ghost color, ghost flickering, maze color, maze design, tunnel location, Pac-Man Eye, Start-Up Tone etc.
But I don't remember being disappointed with those items.
I honestly believe, had the two items I mentioned above been changed, the game would have been much better received.
In fact, I'll even say 1 change...
Get rid of the STUPID vitamin and have the fruits and items ~~~~ this changes the game !
Here is why.
Right now when you play 2600 Pac-Man, it is all about your high score. Yes, several Atari 2600 games are like this, but it gets SO VERY REPETITIVE.
Now imagine that 1 change, that Each LEVEL has a Different Fruit or Item.
This alone, makes a person want to keep playing to try to get to the NEXT LEVEL and See what the next Fruit/Item is going to be.
It provides the DRIVE to try to do better ---- "just one more game". Yes, besting your last score or the score of your friends, is a drive too, but the different Fruit/Item would be way better.
This was the ONLY 2600 game that I can recall being DISAPPOINTED in purchasing.
For the record, I was NOT disappointed in Space Invaders, Asteroids, Defender, Missile Command, etc. - even though they were different than the arcade.
I was reading in games magazines, leading up to Ms. Pac-Man, and how "Atari Designer's were "Sweating Blood" to make it closer to the Arcade Version"
I was intrigued and remember that to this day, as I was SO DISAPPOINTED in Pac-Man.
I bought Ms. Pac-Man, as soon as it was released in stores and WAS BLOWN AWAY !!!
It is in my TOP 5 video games of all time, and I play it about once a week to this day !
I stopped playing Pac-Man, after I got Ms. Pac-Man, during this time.
I also ended up purchasing Jr. Pac-Man when it released.
The thing is, Pac-Man should have been a crown jewel in Atari 2600 Games, a Pack-In System Seller. I think upper administration knew it was going to sell on the name alone, and to make more profit, kept it at 4K ROM. Also, meddling and saying it needed to be 2 player, etc. I think they also, might have thought that they wanted to have enough difference, so people would buy the sequel - Ms. Pac-Man.
I really wished they would have made a better closer to arcade port of Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. I still would have purchased Ms. Pac-Man, as there are enough differences - 4 Mazes and the Fruit moves around the maze.
Just like I purchased Centipede and then Millipede.
Anyway, this game has always been a sore spot for me - What could have been ?
I have played the homebrews over the years and WOW !
Strange, but if you watch the automated play, after your lose your last guy, as the colors cycle, you will see the maze in blue with a black background and the ghosts are in 4 different colors !!!
I might provide a screenshot.
I was excited the first time I saw this. They had it right there - Just add the Fruit and Items !
Also, as the color cycles, I thought that would have been cool too. Each new level should have had a different fruit/item, and a different colored maze/dots. So it doesn't feel so repetitive.
The funny thing is NOW, I'm actually Nostalgic for the original Atari 2600 Pac-Man game. I often play a few levels of it, before playing Ms. Pac-Man, Jr. Pac-Man, etc.
However - It Should Have Been Better !!!