K.C. Munchkin - Atari 7800

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K.C. Munchkin is an Atari 7800 port of one of the better known games on the Odyssey 2 console. K.C. Munchkin is a maze game similar to Pac-Man, in which you must navigate your Munchkin through a maze to eat all twelve Munchies, all while evading the Munchers. If you eat the special Munchie (which flashes different colors), the Munchers turn purple, allowing you to eat them.

K.C. Munchkin was released for the Odyssey 2 a year before Atari was able to release Pac-Man for the 2600. However, Atari had the exclusive home console rights to Pac-Man and sued Philips to force them to cease production of K.C. Munchkin. Although Atari wasn't initially succesful, they did ultimately win on appeal, and Philips was forced to halt sales of the game.

K.C. Munchkin Cartridge

Game Options

K.C. Munchkin has two game options you can select before starting a new game:

  • Maze: You can select to play one of four built in mazes, or instead choose to have a random maze selected at the start of each level.
  • Invisible: If you set Invisible to 'YES', the maze will disappear when your Munchkin is moving. When you run into the walls or you stop moving, the maze will reappear momentarily.

Maze Editor

Choosing the 'EDITOR' option from the 'SELECT' screen allows you to create your own mazes. You can use the editor to place and remove walls, as well as copy one of the built-in mazes into the editor for modification. Once you have finished editing the maze, you can then play your new maze in the game.

Additional Information

K.C. Munchkin includes the game cartridge and full-color, four page manual. K.C. Munchkin supports both NTSC and PAL television standards.

Get a K.C. Munchkin Box!

K.C. Munchkin BoxK.C. Munchkin BoxIf you'd like a boxed copy of K.C. Munchkin, please select "Box Upgrade: Yes" at the top of the page before adding K.C. Munchkin to your cart. Our boxes are professionally printed and include a box insert to hold your K.C. Munchkin cartridge in place. We want you to play our games, so we have not sealed or shrinkwrapped the boxes in any way, allowing you easy access to the game cartridge and manual.

These boxes are the same size as boxes Atari produced for their games "back in the day". They look great sitting on a shelf with your other boxed homebrew games, or alongside games from the classic Atari library. We only have a limited number of boxes for each game, and there is no guarantee they will become available again once our supplies are exhausted. Click on the images to the right to see larger photos of the box.

Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 16K
Programming Robert DeCrescenzo
Label and Manual Marc Oberhaeuser

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tkarner on 10/04/2017 09:52pm
This really plays just like the original, and that might be where Andy's criticism about laggy controls is coming from. Unlike Pac Man where you can change direction on a dime, KC follows a grid. He(?) must complete movement into a grid square before changing direction. To someone unfamiliar with KC Munchkin this will seem laggy. To those that have played the Odyssey2 version, this is spot on.
ROBERT TUCCITTO on 01/02/2017 08:25am
Having zero experience playing the original on the O2, my initial thought when first seeing the game and learning of its development, was it is a “cheap” Pac-Man clone.

Playing the game and getting a feel for it, and its play style mechanics, while there is an undeniable similarity with Pac-Man, this is a very good game in its own right with considerable and distinct differences.

Off the bat, there are no patterns that can be memorized as an easy way to complete any of the mazes. KC is more like Ms. Pac-Man in this regard, including a variety of maze layouts; like the aforementioned, there are four different ones.

The key though involves understanding that unlike any of the Pac-Man maze series of games, a player cannot change direction on a whim. KC moves in a grid-like pattern throughout the maze*. Once a direction has been selected, KC must complete moving into that next grid space before selecting a new direction.

For those familiar with the Arcade classic Q*bert in which once a direction is selected to hop to, Q*bert must land on that cube, in that chosen direction, before being able to select a new direction, KC moves with a similar movement rule set. There is no way of changing Q*bert's direction midair, and there is no way of changing KC's direction when travelling to the next grid space.

That gameplay movement feature coupled with the typical, trying to plan your movement ahead of time while the "munchers" are coming for you, is one of the ways it is very similar to, yet very different from, (Ms) Pac-Man.

Unlike the familiar Arcade games, KC only has twelve dots ("pills") in each maze. Three pills at a time come together at the start of a new maze to form four groups. The pills though, move throughout the maze. Last pill remaining is extra challenging as it moves at the same speed of KC and cannot simply be followed and eaten, it must be intercepted. There are flashing pills which turn the tables on the “munchers” in the same way energizers allow Pac-Man to turn the tables on the “monsters”.

Players have the choice of which of the 4 mazes they wish to play, or make it random. There is also a level editor for individuals to design their own maze. Last but not least, when and if one 'masters' the four mazes of the game, the invisible maze option ramps up the challenge considerably.

KC Munchkin goes above and beyond the O2 experience by not only providing gameplay mechanics that are spot on to the original**; additionally, there is the choice of graphics. Default graphics being the updated set for the 7800. Hold down the Pause button on the console while powering on the system and throughout the BIOS check/logo and the original O2 graphics will appear.

While it may not be for everyone, especially if one finds themselves insisting to try movement and planning just like (Ms) Pac-Man, if the game can be seen and appreciated as its own standalone experience, it is a rewarding one and worth the endeavor. KC Munchkin is a fun and addicting title.


Footnotes:
*Defender_2600 did an excellent job in illustrating the grid of KC Munchkin here:
http://atariage.com/forums/topic/220324-kc-munchkin/page-11#entry3162313

**High praises for the game came from The Odyssey2 Homepage using terms to describe the 7800 port as:
"...impressively accurate...faithfully recreates...strikingly accurate.”
Sean Courtney on 11/28/2016 01:45pm
If you're familiar with the Odyssey2 version of K.C. Munchkin!, you'll find the 7800 conversion to be very faithful, right down to the endless start-game-immediate-after-game-ends pattern. If you're not familiar with the Odyssey2 version, you'lll find this to be a very challenging andn interesting alternative to your typical Pac-Man clone.

Have to disagree with Andy. On my 7800, at least, I'm finding the controls to be very responsive with no lag whatsoever. The Atari 7800 notoriously varies in quality between consoles (mine is a console that has no hint that an expansion port was ever going to exist), though, so YMMV.

The one star I docked was because this game was a perfect candidate for the AtariVox / high score device, sadly not used here. You'd really hope there'd be a way to save your scores, especially because you're prompted for your name. It would be nice if there were a way to save your maze creations, too.
Steve Engelhardt on 11/08/2015 01:28pm
I'd heard about K.C. Munchkin due to it's noteriety, as Magnavox was sued by Atari over it's release. I had no exposure to the game prior to Bob's homebrew and had no idea what to expect when I first tried it in emulation. I was blown away! I'm actually surprised about the lawsuit as the game is noticeably different from Pac-Man in a very good way. The dots move around the maze and you only have one life! As you collect more of the moving dots they increase in speed. The graphics are smooth and flicker-free and the difficulty ramps up quickly which leads to some brief but fun game play sessions. The last dot eventually moves at the same rate of speed as you, so it takes some clever strategy to chomp it. Bob also added a hidden feature, if you hold down the pause button when you start up the game it will feature the original Odyssey2 graphics. This truly is a fantastic game and is one of my favorite 7800 homebrews. I've been playing it in emulation for quite a while and just recently ordered a copy on cart. I've enjoyed it so much I had to support Bob's work.
Andy on 09/14/2015 10:43pm
Graphically, this is everything you could want from a 7800 port of KC Munchkin. However, the controls are embarrassingly laggy, making the game nearly unplayable. Spend your money elsewhere. While the game may look good, actually playing it is an exercise in complete frustration. It may look faithful to the Odyssey 2 classic, but it contains none of the actual fun.
michel bailey on 03/26/2015 12:51pm
Great game a must have for any 7800 owner
here is my video review/ look at
https://youtu.be/WWL-VbfMT2A

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