Sundry Sunday: Waluigi Sings “Rainbow Connection”

Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.

It’s Waluigi, and he’s singing “Rainbow Connection.” You need more? Are you not entertained?

It’s from Matthew Tarando, aka. Bitfinity, the one who made the Brawl in the Family webcomic. It’s not the first of their works to make it to this site, and it probably won’t be the last.

The Muppet-like version of Waluigi is a highlight. He looks like Dr. Don from Point Blank, a.k.a. Gun Bullet! It feels like it’s come full circle, since Point Blank is essentially WarioWare with light guns!

Dr. Dan and Dr. Don, oft-emperiled protagonists of countless rapidly-shifting scenarios.

1 Credit Clear of Tower of Druaga, With Explanations

This one I find rather fascinating. There may be no arcade game ever made as purposely frustrating to play as Namco’s Japanese-only game The Tower of Druaga.

Hero Gilgamesh (often shortened to “Gil”) must pass through 60 maze levels, collecting a key from each then passing through the door to the next, while defeating enemies that get in his way, in order to rescue his love Ki from the villainous Druaga.

BUT almost all the levels have a secret trick to perform. If this trick is accomplished, then a chest will appear that, if collected, will grant Gil a special ability. Some of these abilities are helpful. Some, in fact, are necessary, and if they aren’t collected then on some future level Gil will be unable to advance! The tricks are explained nowhere in the game: it just expects you to know them, if not discovered personally then learned through word of mouth. (This was like a decade before most people had access to the internet.)

What is more, nothing in the game explains what the treasures are or what they do, or what you’ll find on each level if you do know the trick. And a few of the treasures are actually harmful! It means that, to win, you have to rely on a host of hidden information, obtained by both your own observation and from what you’ve heard from others. Which requires a ton of quarters to get, which suited manufacturer Namco just fine. Unfortunately (or, maybe, fortunately?), the game crash prevented Namco from trying its luck with this game in Western territories.

As a result, The Tower of Druaga is a game that’s probably experienced watching someone else play, rather than playing yourself. That’s what this video is, Youtube user sylvie playing through the whole game, not just advancing through, but explaining how it’s done along the way. It’s an hour and three minutes long:

The “No Fire” Trick in Galaga

Arcade Galaga has an interesting bug that’s been known of for a long time, that can be taken advantage of to cause the enemies to stop firing. The inner workings of the bug are explained on its page on the website Computer Archeology, but here it is in brief: on the first level, if you leave the bugs at the far left or right sides of the formation alive and wait long enough, 10 to 15 minutes, just surviving their attacks, then eventually the enemies will stop firing all together, and will never fire again for the rest of the game.

Why does this happen? Galaga reserves eight hardware sprites for the shots of the enemy bugs. Galaga’s graphics hardware has no way to disable the displaying of a sprite, so if something isn’t supposed to be visible it’s kept off screen, at horizontal coordinate zero. A shot sprite at that coordinate is never updated, and never moves. This is in addition to the game’s internal records of which shots are in use. When a bug wants to fire a shot, the game looks at which shots are available, and if one isn’t in use, it puts it at the proper place, and sets its velocity (X and Y deltas). From then until it leaves the screen, it’ll be updated every frame. When it is detected as having gone off-screen, it’ll be marked as out of play, and its X coordinate will be set to 0. Shots at X=0 are never updated.

The problem is, it’s possible for bugs to fire shots while they are at X position 0. This happens most commonly when bugs at the far left and right extremes of the board attack. The shot is marked as in-use, but it’ll never be updated, and so it’ll never be cleaned up and set back to be available for firing. When all eight possible shots are in this limbo, the bugs can’t fire any more. The machine resets the shots at the end of a game, so the problem won’t affect subsequent plays.

Ben Golden Diamond performed the trick in a Youtube video, and he manages to get it to happen in around seven minutes. He doesn’t explain the precise criteria for doing the trick, but his description will still work, it just has unnecessary steps. It will work on any level, but it’s easiest to do on the first. In the video, sometimes the bugs fire wraparound shots from off-screen. That’s a good indication that the bugs are sometimes firing from the 0 coordinate.

Keep in mind, performing the trick on purpose will disqualify a score for world records. The scoreboard on a local Galaga machine probably won’t care, though.

Pac-Man in Three Patterns

PacStrats on Youtube has a video that gives three patterns that will take a casual player all the way to the kill screen at level 256.

I say casual because this doesn’t attempt to produce a “perfect” game, of 3,333,360 points. This is because it doesn’t attempt to eat all four ghosts on every Energizer while that is possible. It actually ignores the ghosts when they’re vulnerable. There are patterns for that on PacStrats too, but you’re not going to be able to do it by memorizing just three patterns. You can really push your personal limits, and that of your free time, trying to get better at video games, and most of us have a point where we have to say that’s enough, and then go and read a book/buy groceries/have sex/something else. The three patterns in the video below are a nice middle ground.

It isn’t easy to devise a Pac-Man patterns, and it’s much harder to come up with a small number of patterns that cover all the levels. Patterns work because the movement of the ghosts is completely deterministic, depending on how Pac-Man moves. If you can move Pac-Man with frame-perfect accuracy, then the ghosts will oblige you by always responding in the same ways. The frame-perfect requirement is eased up a lot by the nature of Pac-Man’s motion. So long as you don’t reverse directions or delay, Pac-Man can only change direction at intersections. So long as you have the joystick, or whatever ludicrous controller setup you’re using, pressed in the direction you want to go next three frames ahead of the turn, your gluttinous circle’s progress will be on track for that pattern.

So, if you try to perform a pattern and it doesn’t work, what went wrong? Most commonly it’s because you hesitated at some point, failing to make a turn at least three frames in advance. Sometimes that’ll be okay, but two of the ghosts, Pink (Speedy/Pinky) and Blue (Bashful/Inky) use the direction that Pac-Man is facing in their AI calculations, and that can change much more rapidly compared to his location in the maze. Even being a single frame off in your timing can produce a situation where Pac-Man will be facing a direction that will cause them to take a different path at a choice. Also, some of the motion of the ghosts is determined by the amount of time that’s elapsed in the current level, and if Pac-Man’s in a subtly wrong position then it can be disastrous later on.

The periods over which the patterns are good are the first four levels (Cherry to second Orange), levels 5 through 20 (first Apple through to 8th Key) and from 21 onward (9th Key to the kill screen). The actions of the ghosts are not the same throughout the run of each pattern. The second pattern, in particular, works over so many levels mostly because its creator, through trial and error, happened upon a pattern that’s good for so much of the game. Because the travels of the ghosts will be different on different levels, it’s important not to get spooked because they are moving differently than they did on previous levels. So long as you move Pac-Man through the patterns assuredly, without delay, and at least three frames in advance, then he’ll clear the boards in succession for as long as you care to keep going, until level 256, where Pac-Man’s All-You-Can-Eat buffet closes its doors.

Unfortunately, PacStrats has made their pattern video non-embedable, so if you want to see these patterns in action you’ll have to click through to the video’s Youtube page.

Beat Pac-Man Using 3 Simple Patterns (Youtube, 20 minutes)

The 10th-Key NES Pac-Man Scatter Bug

I already shown it off on Mastodon, but I’m so pleased with getting this bug on video that I’m re-reporting it here! First, though, some background.

Still the definitive resource on the design internals of Pac-Man.

I’ve been looking into the various home computer ports of Pac-Man lately. One of the better ones is the one for Famicom/NES, probably because it was made in-house at Namco, which I presume because while it’s by no means perfect, it has ghost AI that much more closely matches Jamey Pittman’s definitive Pac-Man Dossier than the others. This is a bit more important than the other ports because, due to the relative familiarity (that is to say, inexpensiveness) of NES emulation at this point, Famicom Pac-Man is often put in compilations, especially in dedicated consoles, instead of the arcade game. In point of fact, the Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1 that’s available for various consoles uses the Famicom versions of all its games, not the arcade, and Pac-Man is one of the included games. To tell the difference: if the score, fruit tally and lives are to the right of the screen, instead of above and beneath it, and Pac-Man looks a little too big to fit in a maze passage, then what you have is an inferior home conversion.

How is it different? Well:

  • The sound of Pac-Man eating dots is much worse, for starters, it never fails to bother me.
  • More substantively, the ghosts have slightly different constants in their chase routines: it’s slightly harder to fake out the Pink ghost (Speedy/Pinky), and the Orange ghost (Pokey/Clyde) gives up the chase a little more reluctantly.
  • The timing for scatter periods, relative the speeds of the ghosts, is a little off. Scatter periods are usually slightly longer.
  • The speed of the game as difficulty increases is also a little off. In the arcade, the First Apple board (Level 5) marks a noticable increase in Pac-Man’s speed, but it seems to happen around the Second Orange (Level 4) on Famicom. Yes, that’s how much of arcade Pac-Man and its port that I’ve played-it could be subjective, but maybe it’s not.
  • The bug that affects Pink’s and Blue’s (Bashful/Inky) AI when Pac-Man’s facing up doesn’t exist here.
  • When ghosts enter Scatter mode, they don’t reverse direction. This makes the game easier (one less sudden reverse to throw you off) and harder (no obvious indication that the ghosts are scattering, and one less thing to throw them off from immediate pursuit).
  • As the game advances in difficulty, in the arcade, on the 4th Key board (level 17), the ghosts won’t turn blue and vulnerable when you eat an Energizer, and instead will just reverse direction. And from the 6th Key (level 19) on, the ghosts will never turn blue again! NES Pac-Man instead gives them a very tiny bit of blue time, about a half-second’s worth. It never reaches a state where the ghosts become completely invulnerable.

And at last, the bug which I have confirmed. On the 10th Key board (Level 22), and every level thereafter, the ghosts will start out in an unusually long Scatter period. Their usual habit is to emerge from the box in the center of the screen and move to a corner of the screen, and circle there for a few seconds. Pink goes to the upper-left, Red (Shadow/Blinky) to the upper-right, Orange to the lower-left, and Blue to the lower-right. This period is called a “Scatter Mode” in the Pac-Man Dossier.

In most levels, presuming you don’t lose a life, the ghosts will enter Scatter Mode at exactly set three times: from the start, about 25-or-so seconds in, and about 30 or so seconds after that. These periods are usually five seconds long. There are some minor details I won’t get into-you can read the Dossier for those. These periods are lifesavers for intermediate Pac-Man players playing without patterns, as they are the only really safe ways to access the bottom passages of the board without getting trapped or wasting an Energizer.

Each Scatter Mode is only supposed to last five-to-seven seconds, but on Level 22 and after, all of the Scatter Modes last around 20 seconds. Here is the bug in action, demonstrated in Namco Museum Archives Vol. 1:

Why would this board be different from the others? In the arcade, the 9th Key (Level 21) is the maximum difficulty the game reaches. Any pattern that works on the 9th Key level will work for the rest of the game, all the way up to the kill screen on Level 256. It seems that, on the Famicom/NES version, after that level the game may not have data for the level to follow? But I haven’t looked at its code to know for sure. Maybe I should make that a future project.

Sunday Sunday: Shiftylook’s Mappy Cartoon

Sundry Sunday is our weekly feature of fun gaming culture finds and videos, from across the years and even decades.

Shiftylook was a great site with comics and animation based on Namco characters, with official permission. It’s been gone for several years now, but it was nice while we had it.

Some of its cartoons have managed to survive, transferred to other sites, and the entire run of their Mappy cartoon, 13 episodes at nearly two hours in total, is on Youtube, uploaded by Nicky. We’re highly cognizant here of the demands of maintaining a daily blog, and I probably should be spreading these out one a week, but eh, I’m sure we won’t run out of material any time soon…. Of everything Shiftylook put out, Mappy has an unusually high number of people fondly remembering it. I haven’t seen much of it, so there’s always a chance there’s something unfortunate in there. If there is, I’m sorry, but I doubt it could be that bad.

Mappy the Complete Series (Episodes 1-13) (1 hour, 55 minutes)

Game Finds: Pacman’s Sky

We love it when we find weird and unique indie games to tell you all about! Our alien friends to the left herald these occasions.

It’s one of those games that was made to fulfill the promise of a pun in the title, but turns out to be fairly interesting in its own right.

That’s not to say it’s perfect. Randomness plays way too much of a role in your success, although that could also be said of No Man’s Sky, honestly.

Pac-Man is stranded on a maze-like planet. The maze wraps around vertically and horizontally, but there are no helpful tunnels here to slow down the ghost pursuit, for the screen is always centered on Paccy. There is an escape rocket in the monster house, and the way inside opens up when you’ve eaten a sufficient number of dots. I wouldn’t bug out immediately though; as you eat dots, and also ghosts made vulnerable by the consumption of randomly-placed Energizers, you fill up a fuel meter in the upper-right corner of the screen. You want it to be as full as possible, especially in this first maze, where the game is still fairly easy.

For you see, when you enter the rocket, you blast off into a 2D universe of other planets, and you need fuel to travel between them. (A bit of advice: the rocket’s thrust is always to the right! Press up-arrow to go forward, and up and down to steer.) Use the map in the lower-right to pick the next planet to crash onto, and explore a new maze. You don’t want to run out of fuel! Although you have a total of four Pac-Lives, if you run out of fuel in space, you lose regardless!

You’ll soon find that most planets are much larger than your starting world, and the game sends in a number of ghosts proportionate to its size! You could end up fleeing from nearly two-dozen ghosts! Fortunately, there are new colors of ghosts in the mix, and none of them are as avid a pursuer as the classic hues, although their meanderings will often block escape routes.

Your goal is to collect Cherries, which are sporadically scattered throughout the planets. You want to eat at least 10, then launch with a full fuel tank, and then press the Space Bar to warp out of the universe, and the game.

As I mentioned up top, randomness plays a huge role in your success. Cherries are placed completely randomly: you might find Cherries in the starting maze, you might find a planet with four Cherries on it and all you have to do is find them, but many planets will be Cherry-less. The best strategy is to scout each planet you visit for Cherries as quickly as possible, snarf up the ones you find while refilling your fuel tank with dots, then quickly evacuate and move on to the next planet.

Some tips:

  • If you return to a planet you’ve already been on, it’ll be in the state that you left it! This usually makes it harder to refill your tank since there’s fewer dots, so get what you can and launch again.
  • To help you avoid revisiting planets, I suggest targeting particular planet colors first.
  • Energizers are placed randomly, and like Cherries, some planets don’t have any.
  • Ghost vulnerability times are roughly on a par with those of the first maze of the original game, but with so much more terrain to travel through it’s usually highly difficult to make a clean sweep of all the ghosts, even if there’s only the normal four.
  • The class ghosts have largely the same personalities as in the arcade games: Red chases you directly, Pink looks in the direction you’re facing and tries to get in front of you, Blue seeks to be on the other side of you from one of the Red ghosts, and Orange sometimes loses interest in attacking you when you get close.
  • The new colors have ghosts that try to lurk behind you, ghosts that try to travel in straight lines regardless of what else is happening, ghosts that just bumble around, and even ghosts that just try to get away from everyone else, Pac or ghost.
  • Like arcade Pac-Man, the ghosts periodically enter “Scatter Mode,” and give up the chase for a few precious seconds. Unlike the arcade game, the ghosts don’t reverse direction when either entering or leaving Scatter Mode. Your only clue to the behavior change is them turning away, or turning back towards you. That makes them a little less predictable.
  • Beware! Once in a while you’ll find a ghost that, instead of the usual blue eyes, has an Among Us visor. These ghosts will be one of the other colors, and the same personality as that color, but when you eat an Energizer, not only do they not become vulnerable, they also speed up greatly! If it’s one of the more vicious colors (Red or Pink), this makes eating an Energizer extremely dangerous!
  • Ghosts become dangerous again the moment they reform from their eyes in the home. If you’re venturing in to get to the rocket, and a pair of eyes rushes in behind you, you can easily lose a Pac without having much control over it. This happened to me several times, it’s worth being wary of.
If you want to play in the universe of this victorious game, you can enter this seed at the title screen. It had one planet with four Cherries!

Pacman’s Sky (itch.io, $0)

Cam’s Pac-Man Fun Page

From the linked page. Piranha is one of a whole category of Pac-Man bootlegs that try to obscure their origin.

I’m considering writing more on the subject of the male-gendered Pac, which I assume is a mere matter of social custom among the Pac-People since they have no genitalia or clothing. Pac-Man bootlegs, in particular, are bizarre and wonderful, even if they often aren’t very fun to play.

But Cam has a nice page devoted to Pac mutants. And these old Geocities-style pages need much more love these days, so for now I’ll link to them. Have a look!

A little remarked-upon aspect of these Pac-legs is how their character name is strictly determined by how many letters long it is, so that they can fit on this screen in the same amount of space that PAC-MAN did.

Names For Bootleg Pac-Man Ghosts

From a bootleg made by “SegaSA / Sonic.” Appears to have no relation to the Sega we know, or its spiny progeny. One of the few bootlegs that gives Pac-Man himself a nickname.
From a bootleg made to work on Moon Alien hardware. These are the “alternate” official names for the ghosts. Are they direct translations of the Japanese ghost names? Those are remarkably ugly ghost colors: hence, this remark.
These boring names are from “JPM bootleg,” I assume that is its maker.
From NewPuc2, Set 2. The best bootleg names I’ve seen so far, by a wide margin, even if they have nothing to do with their colors or personalities. I can almost forgive the misspellings.

Pac-Store Animations with “Pac-Marie”

If it’s generally entertaining, I try to save game-related animations and cartoons for Sundays, but this is probably interesting more for how it illustrates how the Pac-Man propery is changing. Yes, it’s another excuse to rant a bit about how Pac-Man’s lore is changing under Namco’s direction, like in the Baby Pac-Man post!

I recognize that Bally/Midway’s taking the lead on Pac-Man promotion and lore amounted to a bit of cultural chauvinism. In the early 80s, U.S. licensors of Japanese arcade games would outright put their own copyright notices on games. When I was a kid and Pac-Man fever was running at 104 degrees (Fahrenheit), I knew that Bally/Midway was a thing that existed, but nothing at all about Namco. They filled that widespread ignorance of the game’s origins with their own lore, starting with Ms. Pac-Man, and it’s surprising that now, long after their deal was dissolved and Midway games division consumer games division shut down, that their lore survived for so long.

Tengen’s first release of Pac-Man for NES, with Hanna-Barbera cartoon character designs. Image scavenged from an Ebay listing.

A lot of that has to do with the enduring popularity of Ms. Pac-Man. Other Bally contributions like Jr. Pac-Man haven’t proven nearly so enduring. Another part of the U.S. Pac-Man lore, that has ended up exerting a strong, almost unhealthy, influence over their property has been the Hanna-Barbera cartoon show, yes the one almost no one remembers except for its weird Christmas special, from 1982. That thing got two seasons, alongside likewise forgotten (and less durable) properties Richie Rich and The Little Rascals. H-B’s version of the characters continues to pop up randomly in different places, like the cover art for the original version of Tengen’s release of Pac-Man for NES.

The Hanna-Barbera cartoon was a strong influence over the art design and music of Pac-Land, which means among other things that that weird cartoon is now echoed in Smash Bros. Ultimate. Shh! No one tell Warner Bros!

Okay, time to spiral on down to the point of this post. A “pop-up store,” it seems, is a “retail concept” that involves setting up a small store for a limited period of time, often with a strong theme or a focus on a single brand. Kind of like a micro-sized version of Spirit Halloween.

Namco experimented with a Pac-Man-themed pop-up store in Japan in 2016. They called it “Pac-Store,” and they came up with its own idiosyncratic take on the Pac-Man lore for it, and made a series of short web cartoons to promote it. They’re still on Youtube, but they’re collected into one video by The Pac-Man Archive. That’s what is embedded below. Even though it’s mostly in Japanese you should watch a few minutes of it, if just to see how Namco has retconned the history of the hungry yellow sphere.

Like gag me with a spoon, it’s Pac-Marie! I love the Pac-gloves on this style of character.
From Ghostly Adventures: Pac-Man and friends who I don’t even care enough about to learn their names. UGH. That’s a lot of detail spent on the idea of Pac-shoes. Image from Gamespot.

Pac-Man has two assistants, but they’re not Ms. Pac-Man or Baby or Jr. They don’t even have “Pac-Mom,” Namco’s more-recent recreation of Ms. Pac that isn’t burdened by AtGames’ licensing with Ms. Pac-Man creator GCC. Instead, Pac is backed by “Pac-Marie” and “Pac-Little.” Keep in mind that the horrible “Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures” TV show was released around 2013, and its characters got unfortunately crammed into at least one iteration of Pac-Man Museum (the one I have on Steam). It’s interesting that they didn’t use those for Pac-Store. Maybe Namco was already coming to realize that Ghostly Adventures was destined for purgatory.

I actually don’t hate Pac-Marie, she’s got a fun design, and it’s not like Pac-People have much to distinguish them anyway. She’s still a hell of a lot more appealing than anything from Ghostly Adventures.

Pac-Store – All Animated Shorts (Youtube 8 1/2 minutes)

Don’t make her angry. You wouldn’t like her when she’s angry.

Dan Fixes Coin-Ops Repairs a Baby Pac-Man

Over on Mastodon, Dan Fixes Coin-Ops has been documenting an epic quest: the repair of a Baby Pac-Man machine.

It’s one of the non-Namco Pac-Man spinoffs that Bally/Midway released in the wake of the original’s extremely high popularity. I’d like to remind readers that while Namco has been the sole beneficiary of Pac-Man’s heights lately, the original game, at first called Puck-Man in Japan, was not popular there. The spin-offs, console ports, handheld games, trading cards, stickers, clothing, cartoon show, Christmas special, breakfast cereal and unnumbered other items, that was all Bally/Midway’s doing. Toru Iwatani created and designed it, his team made it into a game and cabinet, Namco released it in Japan to middling success, and from there Bally/Midway got behind it and turned it into one of the most gigantic video game hits there’s ever been, a machine that at one point had one hundred thousand units.

Now, I’m not going to deny that their effort led to some erasure of knowledge of Namco’s existence at the time. All those Pac-Man machines and spin-offs mentioned “Bally Midway Mfg. Co.,” with nary a mention of Namco. But it’s undeniable now that erasure is happening in the other direction: a search over the History page on official Pac-Man website has no mention of Bally at all, even though the page acknowledges that the game was “a major hit in the United States.”

Some of that success leaked back to Japan and fueled some Namco-made sequels: Super Pac-Man, Pac N Pal, Pac-Land, Pac-Mania, Pac-Man Arrangement and eventually Pac-Man Battle Royale and Pac-Man Championship Edition, and more recently things like World’s Largest Pac-Man and Pac-Man Battle Royale Chompionship.

Bally/Midway made their own sequels. One of those, Ms. Pac-Man (created by GCC), came to eclipse the original in popularity, but in addition to their licensing of Super Pac-Man and Pac N Pal they made Jr. Pac-Man (also from GCC), as well as Professor Pac-Man and this game here. The one Dan Fixes Coin-Ops repaired. Baby Pac-Man.

Baby Pac-Man is a game that only could be made by Bally, because it’s a video game/pinball hybrid.

Bally, together with the company that would buy them, Williams, is arguably the greatest pinball maker there’s ever been. Up until around 2000 (a heartbreaking year) they made wonderful machines like The Addams Family, Twilight Zone, Attack From Mars, Star Trek: The Next Generation and quite a few others. In 1982 though pinball was in a slump while video games had reign over arcades. The decision to make a game that connected one of the greatest arcade games of all with pinball must have seemed obvious. (It wasn’t their only attempt to capitalize on their golden license with a pinball table, witness Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man, which I’m informed was released eight months before Baby Pac-Man.)

The combination of an arcade video game and pinball makes for a unique experience. It also makes for a game which breaks down even more often than your standard arcade game, as the thread notes: there’s three computers in the thing, and it’s subject to all the typical arcade game problems, all the typical pinball problems, and special problems with the portions of the machine that connect the two halves together.

The thread begins memorably:

In case y’all were tired of hearing about popular Fediverse people making bad decisions, just thought I’d let y’all know I bought a 1980’s hybrid pinball/videogame tonight

I bought a god damn Baby Pacman

Like this isn’t for a client, I’m not working on it to earn. This game COST money. This is my game now, I paid for it and it lives in my house. I’m not gonna get to give anybody a bill.

This is such a perversion of the natural order of things. I’ll probably route it one day, but for now this is an arcade machine that I SPEND money on!

It’s taken me a little while to get it into the house and have a chat with the mate who sold it to me and let the littleun have a go and put her to bed and fix a couple things and have a go myself so I’ve not been catching up on my notifications, I saw some questions so I’ll do a little thread on it over the next couple of days

I cannot stress enough that you should not buy one of these things

Folk who like 80’s pinball want stuff like this or Haunted House and you shouldn’t buy a Haunted House either

These are games for pinball techs or people with money to hire pinball techs or very close friends of pinball techs

Except Baby Pac-Man needs you to be friends with an arcade tech too.

He finally got it working after three months of work, and what a journey it is. He did it for love of the game: while Baby Pac-Man is dissed in some circles it’s a genuinely interesting game. But to like it, you have to abandon the relatively lenient expectations of classic arcade video games. Pinball is inherently unfair, and that unfairness oozes out and coats even the video portion of Baby Pac: the ghosts don’t waste time in coming after you, and you start with no Energizers: you have to earn them in the pinball portion, which for the most part you can only visit once per life/board. You can return to the video portion temporarily though by locking the ball in a scoop.

Here is the full thread (to date) in Masto Reader, which is a Mastodon version of Threadreader. It takes maybe half a minute to collect the posts and present them though, so to read the whole saga you’ll have to be a little patient.

An interesting video about Baby Pac-Man (although with some bad sound) District 82 Pinball’s here (12 minutes), which covers the tech and gameplay:

And Joe’s Classic Video Games’ demonstration (25 minutes):

Dan Fixes Coin-Ops: Baby Pac-Man Repair

District 82 Pinball’s Baby Pac-Man play and tech tips (Youtube, 12 minutes)

Joe’s Classic Video Games on Baby Pac-Man (Youtube, 25 minutes)