Ms Pac-Man

Ms. Pac-Man is a maze arcade game by Midway and owned by Namco. This was my dad's favorite arcade game, and it's my favorite Pac-Man game.

The game has an interesting history. It started out as an unlicensed hack called Crazy Otto. Then Midway bought the rights and changed the graphics to Pac-Man styled graphics, called it Ms. Pac-Man to acknowledge the large amount of female gamers that were addicted to Pac-Man, and released it as a sequel to Pac-Man. Namco claimed the game was not approved by them, and Midway lost the rights to the US distribution of the Pac-Man series after releasing this game without approval (as well as Jr. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man). Namco claimed the rights to Ms. Pac-Man and they have re-released it many times over the years, including an arcade re-release bundled with Galaxian and Pac-Man. Unfortunately, Namco disavowed Jr. Pac-Man and Baby Pac-Man, so those games are regulated to their arcade originals (although Jr. Pac-Man had an Atari 2600 port and unofficial fan ports to other systems).

I like Pac-Man, but Ms. Pac-Man topped it in every way. Unlike the original game, where the mazes remain the same, the mazes changed in this game after two or three rounds. Like the original, the speed of the enemy ghosts get faster as the game goes on. But they were more random this time, so that players wouldn't memorize patterns in order to progress. The bonus fruit moves around the maze here, where it stayed in the middle of the screen in the original game.

Unlike her husband, Ms. Pac-Man only eats just power-pellets, ghosts, and fruit. There are no weird things like spaceships and keys here.

Like Pac-Man, my favorite version of Ms. Pac-Man is the Xbox Live Arcade version for Xbox 360. You can continue right of on the level on which you last died. It also has achievements, which have spoiled me in the motion control generation. :)

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