MS. PAC-MAN

HIDDEN MESSAGE: At the end of ROM memory, about halfway in (BOOT6 ROM 0x97D0 to 0x97FF), the message "GENERAL COMPUTER CORPORATION Hello, Nakamura!" from programmer Steve Golson can be found (Masaya Nakamura was then the head of Namco).

HIDDEN MESSAGE:GENCOMP” is coded as graphics in the program (picture #1).  When the game is initializing, you can see the “G” appear several times.

The original version was a Pac-Man variant by GCC called Crazy Otto, and featured 4 different mazes, monsters with feet and antenna, and a Pac-Man with legs!  The Crazy Otto ROMs have never been found, and the only known picture of it appeared in a 1982 Time magazine article (picture #2).  According to GCC’s Steven Golsen, only 3 Crazy Otto machines existed (out on test locations - one in Boston, and the other 2 in Chicago) when that photo was taken.

Early names were Super Pac-Man, Mrs. Pac-Man, and Miss Pac-Man.

A safe hiding spot (on the 3rd board) and a trick pattern to go through a monster (on the 2nd board) --see Consumer Guide’s book.

If you eat all 4 power pills at once (and time it so that you eat the next one just as the last one is about to wear off), the tune that plays will keep going higher and higher in scale until it resets, starting over at the very bottom of the scale!

BUG: Title screen The left side of the marquee doesn't light correctly (just half of the “lights” actually will light – picture #3). It's due to an incorrect character code GCC used with this animation.  {Eduardo Mello}

BUG: Blue maze – If a credit is inserted at the very beginning of the attract mode, before the red monster appears under the marquee, the first maze of the game will be colored blue instead of the normal maze color.

BUG: The origin of this bug is in the original Pac-Man code. There is a subroutine which controls the flashing energizers in the attract mode of Pac-Man. Normally, this subroutine is only supposed to run during the introduction screen where the monsters are introduced by name. On some occasions, when the player dies, this subroutine gets called, which flashes the 2 screen location where these energizers are located. When it is called in Pac-Man, it causes the disappearance of the dot that is 2 to the left of the starting point of Pac-Man in the maze. The other screen location that is affected is already blank, so the changed color has no visible effect there. In Ms. Pac-Man, it causes 2 screen locations to change color, which affects the different mazes in slightly different ways. For the first maze, this same dot to the left of where Ms. Pac-Man begins changes color to pink. Like in Pac-Man, the other screen location that is affected is already blank, so the changed color has no visible effect there. For the second maze, two locations are affected. For the third maze, only one location is visibly affected. For the fourth maze, two locations are affected. In any case, this bug is very difficult to spot because usually the anomalies are covered up by a screen refresh almost immediately after they are created.  The exception to this rule is during the demo mode of Ms. Pac-Man.  If you watch the demo long enough, eventually you will notice that the dot in question is colored pink on rare occasions after Ms. Pac-Man has died during the demo, and it stays pink on screen long enough to be easily observed.  {Don Hodges}

BUG: Fruit will pass right through you (no collision-detection) if you’re not moving.  {Jon Sorenson}

BUG: “Booey” – It’s possible to harmlessly pass through a monster!  Picture #4 shows a pattern for Inky on the 2nd board.

BUG: Kill screens – Boards 134-141 are considered “kill” screens (8 in all), which means it’s possible any one of those boards may appear upside-down when you reach it (picture #5), although the only boards known to exhibit it are 134, 135, 136, 137, and 141. If you manage to reach board 142, the game will crash (black screen).  Whether or not there’s any way to influence the game to avoid all but the last one is unknown.  What happens is, starting on board 132, the routine that handles writing the bits that control when the monsters slow down in the tunnels starts writing into the wrong memory addresses. It puts a “slow bit” value under the lower-right energizer, which causes any monster passing it to slow down. The upside-down screen is caused by a similar problem.

BUG: If you eat enough dots to trigger the 2nd fruit (while the 1st fruit is onscreen), the 2nd fruit will appear (for only a few seconds) immediately after the 1st , accompanied by a unique sound effect; if you’re in a position to eat the 2nd fruit, you won’t get any points for it.   The same bug will occur if you eat a blue monster and a pretzel at the same time.

BUG: Some of the earlier hardware speed-up mods created a bug in which if you held down the start button while inserting a coin, bits of text would remain on the screen; the problem is they cover up some of the dots, making it impossible to advance past the first screen. If you died, before going through the place where the dots were supposed to be, when the board was redrawn it was redrawn correctly, but you would see voids where the dots were supposed to be.

RUMOR: The key from Pac-Man is still in the graphics tiles, but not in the sprites.

 

   

 


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