Tagged: Pac-Man

Pac-Man Spinoff Games: The Card Game and Two Challenging Puzzles.

While I do like writing about video games themselves, I also like blogging about some of the more obscure, lesser-known video game products that aren’t as well known. Before I got fascinated by video games, I was really fascinated by board games. Still got a massive collection, even. So I’m gonna talk about two interesting video game board game spinoffs, featuring a notable pill-chomping hero.

pacmangameslogo

I keep saying it, and it bears repeating: I’m a writer, not a graphic designer.

Board games based on video games were once an interesting art form. People would take classic games like Super Mario Bros. or The Legend of Zelda and try to adapt them to a board game format. Most of the time they really had to stretch what kind of game they could make out of the source material. Others were designed much like old games based on TV shows, movies, or even personalities like Dr. Ruth and Lucille Ball.

Alas, that’s all disappeared in the modern age in exchange for reskins of Monopoly, Risk and Yahtzee with Pokemon or Metal Gear Solid slapped onto it. I blame USAopoly for homogenizing the licensed board games market.

Actual picture of a Monopoly section at a board game store in a mall. 90% of these looked the same, from the materials inside to the back of the box!

Actual picture I took of a Monopoly section at a board game store. 90% of these looked the same, from the materials inside to the back of the box!

Let’s go back to the past, and talk about a little pellet chomper named Pac-Man. Back when Buckner and Garcia were exclaiming they had “Pac-Man Fever,” and before this beloved character was not being slapped into crappy cartoons written by ex-Tiny Toon Adventures writers, Pac-Man was super-popular in the United States. This was mostly in part because of Midway’s very aggressive marketing, who were the rightsholders for Pac-Man in the US before Namco took back the rights.

I could cover the Pac-Man board game by Milton Bradley in 1980, but it’s been done to death. It plays much like the arcade game, where multiple Pac-Men could gobble dots for points while being avoided by the ghosts. It’s like Hungry Hungry Hippos, but with a board and actual strategy attached to it. They also made a board game for Ms. Pac-Man, but replaced the power pellets with a die roll, and had only one player take control of Ms. Pac-Man, swapping control to another player when an enemy ghost captured her. Also, the easily losable marbles were replaced with much more sensible chips.

There’s not a whole lot to say about the Pac-Man board games, they’re simple conversions of the arcade game. But the Pac-Man game train didn’t stop there. Enter Pac-Man: The Card Game, and Pac-Man: TWO CHALLENGING PUZZLES!

That’s how the packaging calls it, capital letters and all.

Released around 1980-82, both of these were released to further capitalize on the Pac-Man gravy train. I snagged both of these a long time ago, back when I was using eBay like a madman and buying things left and right. I kinda miss those days, that’s where a fair share of my games collection came from, as well as other obscure stuff I own, like a Wheel of Fortune play-along TV handheld from the late ’80s.

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PAX Prime 2013: Gaming invades Seattle!

Another year, and another PAX has passed by. I played a bunch of games, met with some people I know, and got to see some of the sights and sounds of Seattle. Thankfully this year I’m not recovering from some nasty post-convention flu, just sleeping a bit more.

Alas, unlike last year, when I went to the Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary event — you can see that blog entry I made of it here — there wasn’t any big outside-of-PAX events that I was aware of.  What I did notice around the Seattle area was a flood of gaming-related entities. From seeing ads for games, to seeing retail stores show their slight understanding of video game culture. So I took a few pictures of them while I was around Seattle.

Most people who were walking to or from the convention center saw this one from the nearest Starbucks. I have to give credit to the sign-maker for making a Ms. Pac-Man reference.

I don’t drink coffee that much, so I didn’t go in and try it. It was probably alright, but when it’s from a Starbucks and there’s about 50 of them within walking distance, it kinda loses the appeal.

A quest… with Mario? I doubt they were referencing Paper Mario or Mario & Luigi

About a block or two down near Pine St had a Timbuk2 clothing store with this Super Mario Bros. reference. Chalk drawings of Mario and Bowser, plus something that resembles the castles of the old game. The other side, which I regrettably didn’t take a picture, had a Question Block on the other side, also talking about quests.

I like how they were trying to shoehorn in RPG references, but since they thought something like Final Fantasy would be too obscure, they went with Mario. Must’ve been a manager’s call. Gotta give the guys credit, even if they got confused which games they wanted to refer to.

Pac-Man here! Pac-Man there! Pac-Man’s EVERYWHERE.

Saw another games-related related thing at a bar a few blocks away from where a Karaoke event sponsored by Destructoid was happening. Surprise, it’s more Pac-Man! Since this was several blocks away from the main convention center, I’m surprised they even bothered to throw a video game reference in, not many people were gonna be heading up this way.

I actually prefer the Strife that’s an FPS, thank you very much.

Even by the Convention Center, video games were all over the place. The Daily Grill, the restaurant next door to the convention, had banners and ads for the MOBA game/DOTA clone Strife. PAX 2013 seemed to be the year of the MOBA as there were about a dozen different kinds of MOBAs being shown off. I bet most of these never took off, especially this one. I’m more a fan of the shooter that’s also called Strife, but that’s just me.

Update 7/15/2020: It turns out the MOBA Strife shut down in late 2018 with no announcement. Meanwhile, the classic FPS Strife eventually got an updated version and seems to be what Google searches lead you to now compared to the old MOBA. I wrote about the FPS Strife in early 2020, which you can check out here.

I also saw ads for Total War: Rome II and Project Diva F: Hatsune Miku on taxis and buses, but sadly I could not get good quality pictures of either. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if I missed a few other games-related things in the city to take advantage of PAX happening, but this is what I saw while I was out and about.

I like PAX, it’s a cool convention. It’s too bad it’s being partially ran by two guys who have constant foot-in-mouth syndrome. Hopefully we’ll start seeing other conventions show up in response, I want to make sure my money’s going towards people who aren’t complete dicks.


2020 Update:

This would end up being my final PAX to date. Since I don’t have a lot of money, traveling to Seattle was a rather costly endeavor for me, especially in the last few years I went.

In the years since, both Penny Arcade creators Mike “Gabe” Krahulik and Jerry “Tycho” Holkins would turn out to be massive jerks, with Krahulik saying he felt immense regret for backing down on making T-shirts about Dickwolves, which some people took umbrage to because the original comic was a thinly veiled rape joke.

I bet the convention is still alright in spite of the Penny Arcade involvement, but I honestly can’t say I really miss it. The process to register was rather nerve-wracking for me in the past, and I wasn’t really up for going through the stress-inducing process every year, combined with me having the lack of funds needed.

I wouldn’t mind going back to Seattle again someday, but probably would be for a smaller gaming event, or to just visit friends. Maybe visit Pink Gorilla again, or some of the other mom’n’pop game shops in Seattle.

Alternatively, I’d love to do the common Tourist Garbage and just see all the popular sights and sounds of the city. I feel that’s a necessity if you’re visiting a city. While I did that one day towards the end of one PAX, one day isn’t enough. I figure a week-long excursion of that would be more fun than being around hundreds of sweaty nerds who want to play Dishonored early for a whole weekend.