Today we take a travel back to the 1980s to look at one of several arcade board games made by Milton Bradley: Pac-Man.
It’s no surprise to anyone alive today that the 1980’s were a strange time. Kids were spending all their time in these newfangled arcades playing those whosamawhatchit Nintendos. Arguably one of the most popular of these Nintendos was Pac-Man.
Yeah… something like that anyway.
With it’s huge following and popularity, it’s no surprise there was a lot of cash-grabs using good ol’ PuckMan. One such grab was done by our friendly neighborhood gaming company, Milton Bradley.
If you’re anything like me, even the box cover doesn’t seem to bode well. As far as I’m concerned “marble-gobbling” is best reserved for ravenous semi-aquatic mammals.
If my parents taught me anything it’s look both ways before crossing the street. Which doesn’t apply here, but still a good lesson. Regardless of that, it’s important to also never judge a book by its cover. Or in this case, a game by its box cover. I’m sure this game isn’t that bad. In fact, I bet it’s super fun and provides hours of exciting entertainment!
Spoiler Alert: It’s Not and It Doesn’t.
The Pac-Man board game pits 2 to 4 players against each other to see who can gobble the most pellets.
Each of the colored Pac-Mans…
…Each of the colored Pac-Men are placed on their starting colored space and the 2 ghosts in the center. The white marbles are placed in holes within the board to (attempt to) keep them from rolling around and the 4 Power Pellets placed in the designated spots.
On each players turn, they roll 2 die and use one die to move their Poc-Man and the other to move one of the ghosts. Here’s where the game hopes the novelty gimmick is enough to carry it past the poor gameplay.
Pec-Mon can actually eat the pellets.
Thanks to From Pixels To Plastic for their video on this
As your Pac-Muns move around the board, they gobble up the pellets to be dumped into your pellet bin at the end of your turn.
- Needlessly complicated? Yes
- Clunky? Yes
- Fun and Innovative? …kinda
As the game progresses, the ghosts will start to encroach upon your Pac-Mom. If a ghost touches a Pak-Min, that player has to return to their starting space and give the player who ghosted them 2 marbles. However, if one of the Pax-Man has a yellow Power Pellet, they can instead gobble up the ghost, returning the ghost to the middle of the board and stealing 2 marbles from any player.
Once all the marbles on the board are collected the game is over and whichever Poc-Ma’am has the most marbles, wins the game.
Why It’s Not Great
The overall theme of the game is pretty neat, I’ll admit. But this game, like so…many…others is just about rolling the dice and hoping you win. There’s very little actual strategy or choices to make. Roll the dice, move your Pyak-Man towards the most marbles, move the ghost towards the closest other Pict-Mun. That’s the entirety of the game.
Sure there are the power pellets but that’s such a minor addition that this game doesn’t really gain any traction over Candyland.
Wipe that dumb smile off your face. You’re terrible.
The Pac-Man game is great and iconic, but I don’t think its plays well as a board game. Let alone as a multiplayer board game. Half the point of the video game is the dexterity and quick thinking it requires. Here, all that is thrown out the window for a Pet-Man with a freakish set of chompers.
That’s all for today! Thanks for reading!