Talk:Pac-Man (Atari 2600)

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Good article Pac-Man (Atari 2600) has been listed as one of the Video games good articles under the good article criteria. If you can improve it further, please do so. If it no longer meets these criteria, you can reassess it.
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Fair use rationale for Image:Pac-man.png[edit]

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Fair use rationale for Image:Pac-man.png[edit]

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Image:Pac-man.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 23:37, 1 July 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:PacManCrt260007052004.jpg[edit]

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Image:PacManCrt260007052004.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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BetacommandBot (talk) 20:31, 26 November 2007 (UTC)

Fair use rationale for Image:PacMan2600box.jpg[edit]

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Image:PacMan2600box.jpg is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

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2600 Pac-Man in popular culture[edit]

I seem to recall that the sound effects from this game were used in Superman 3. Would someone please check this, and if accurate, provide a cross link? (talk) 15:41, 23 May 2008 (UTC)

I too have read the IMDB's trivia page on Superman III. It doesn't have to be checked; the IMDB's trivia pages can be used as Wikipedia sources. I would add it myself but I was annoyed at the "I seem to recall" wording; it's so effete. Also, you went to the trouble of writing a talk page entry, but you couldn't search Google for "superman 3"+"pac man", which brings up the IMDB's trivia page as the first result? That makes me suspicious. -Ashley Pomeroy (talk) 14:08, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Actually, IMDB's trivia pages are not considered reliable sources. Its basic database listings are, however.--Father Goose (talk) 01:04, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

Sound effects from this version of this game were used in all sorts of TV shows and movies whenever someone would play a game for the better part of the 80's and a good chunk of the 90's. Good luck finding an acceptable source to reference about it, though. (talk) —Preceding undated comment added 02:38, 15 January 2011 (UTC).

I'm always amused when someone adds to a conversation from years ago.Asher196 (talk) 03:33, 15 January 2011 (UTC)
This user would also like to say he remembers hearing the audio for this game being used as a generic sound effect for video games throughout the 90's. In fact, I always thought of it as "that video game noise" growing up, and always wondered what game, if any, it came from. Commercials for electronics stores from the 90's and early 2000's were big users of this sound effect. (talk) 16:47, 24 December 2013 (UTC)

1981 release?[edit]

Where did somebody get that the Atari 2600 Pac-Man game was released around Christmas of 1981? As far as I know, the game was released in April 1982. Pac-Man was only announced as a coming release around January 1982 and didn't appear in stores until around April. —Preceding unsigned comment added by VicGeorge2K8 (talkcontribs) 21:11, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

If you look at the picture of the cartridge in the article, you can see right on the label it says "copyright 1981". Asher196 (talk) 21:14, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

I know it has a "copyright 1981" on it, but that in itself doesn't prove its release date, only that it has a copyright date. Ms. Pac-Man for the 2600 has a "copyright 1982" on it, despite its being released in 1983.

You have a good point. We need to find a source for this. Asher196 (talk) 21:31, 11 October 2008 (UTC)
Catalog CO16725-Rev. D (1981) states "Available March". There's also GameSpot, IGN gives the specific date of Sept. 9th, 1981. Moby says 1981. This Gamasutra article states 1981. This PC World article lists 1981. This site like most of the other sources out there talks about it being rushed for the '81 Christmas season. Master of the Game (Warner corporate biography) talks about the stellar quarter one earnings reported in early 1982. Quarter 2 earnings for 1982 were reported in July of that year (which are usually reported a month after the end of the quarter), which would make Quarter 2 March through May and Quarter 1 Dec. through Feb., which falls in line with the offset calendar most companies and the Government use for Fiscal year reporting, and leans towards supporting the Fall release time period. There's also the lawsuit launched by Atari against Magnavox for K.C. Munchkin, which reached its conclusion on March 19th, 1982, and this interview with K.C. programmer Ed Averett where he mentions how K.C. was kicking Pac-Man's but in the market before that final ruling, which would also support the earlier release date. The only place I could find that April date being claimed was in Steve Kent's Ultimate History of Video Games book, which is hardly known for its accuracies and fact checking. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 08:01, 12 October 2008 (UTC)

Well, the only product related to Pac-Man that I ever remembered seeing in stores around Christmas 1981 was K.C. Munchkin for the Odyssey 2, which was when my family got an Atari 2600 as a Christmas present. So any information saying that Pac-Man for the 2600 came out anytime in 1981 is more likely faulty information. —Preceding unsigned comment added by VicGeorge2K8 (talkcontribs) 12:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Uh, so you think we should go with your memory of events of almost thirty years ago instead of the numerous sources Wgungfu just listed? Asher196 (talk) 14:33, 14 October 2008 (UTC)
Yes, as Asher is alluding to, Wikipedia is not run by people's memory as that can be faulty and has no ability to qualify for WP:Verify. We have a policy here regarding WP:OR that covers that. Ironically, someone tried to add a link to my site as a reference for the 1982 date when the article in question was written 10 years ago by another editor and not necessarily correct. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 15:27, 14 October 2008 (UTC)

Ok, after much discussion over at the AtariAge forum here (where a lot of the forum members helped out in investigating references), it looks like we have been able to identify a few key points and references:

1) The initial release was in Mid-March 1982. This time magazine article from the time supports that, as does this article published in Creative Computing Video and Arcade Games from 1983, this Sears advertisement from March 11th 1982 that states they just arrived, and this article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Feb 18, 1982 that talks about the game as yet to be released.

2) Atari had an "Official introduction day" called Atari National Pac-Man Day, on April 3rd, 1982. This is shown by this and a plethora of other ads and coverage about it.

So, the 1981 catalog by Atari that states availability in March (1982) seems to support all of this as well. Likewise, I think the Atari Q1 report (knowing how they had a propensity to play with facts and figures that year to pump up stock value, which is what ultimately got them in trouble that year as covered in the press that fall and winter) most likely is counting pre-orders from dealers rather than actual physically shipped units already sold. So at this point, I'm comfortable reporting points 1 and 2 in this article. What do you think Asher? --Marty Goldberg (talk) 02:04, 16 October 2008 (UTC)

I agree with the addition of points 1 and 2, but I'm wondering what to do about the fact that there are so many references that refer to 1981. And where did the information for this paragraph come from? "The poor quality of the port is blamed on the Atari marketing department's rush to bring the game to the market. They asked Tod Frye, one of Atari's principal game programmers, to do the port; he showed them a prototype he had already developed. Rather than miss the approaching 1981 Christmas season, Atari produced the game based on the unfinished prototype." Asher196 (talk) 12:17, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
I believe its a mixture of the reference given and a passage from Phoenix: The Rise and Fall of Video Games:
"The Pac-Man that Atari had released for the 2600 simply didn’t resemble the game that was in the arcades at all. The maze looked nothing like what fans of the game had been accustomed to, and the sound was nothing more than irritating. Although Atari claimed that this was due to the 2600’s limitations, many industry watchers speculated that the game was developed on the fly to get it into stores in time for the 1981 Christmas buying season. Tod Frye, who was not a fan of the original arcade game, was only given 4k with which to program it. Although the monsters blinked so terribly that they could barely be seen, and the joysticks couldn’t control Pac-Man adequately, Pac-Man became the best-selling game cartridge to date simply because of its name, which had been what Atari had figured would happen. Approximately 70% percent of all households owning a 2600 purchased a copy of Pac-Man, accounting for seven million copies sold. While this number was indeed staggering, in reality Atari produced twelve million copies of the game, anticipating that people would go out and buy 2600s just to play Pac-Man. Some did, but the total number was nowhere near as many as Atari had expected."
--Marty Goldberg (talk) 13:34, 16 October 2008 (UTC)
Your rewrite looks good. Asher196 (talk) 10:48, 17 October 2008 (UTC)

I liked the game on the Atari 2600. Do you have proof of any mass spread disgruntleness?[edit]

How exactly would a popular selling game destroy people's faith in a system? Every game console since then has produced crappy games, and they didn't get destroyed. The crash was from the massive flood of cheap crappy games, and the rise of competition from other sources. I played Pacman on my Atari 2600 all the time as a kid, and enjoyed it greatly. Who cares if the screen wasn't exactly like the arcade? The game play was still exactly the same. And it was a great game. Are there any citations from legitimate sources, not just one writer somewhere stating their own personal opinions, but something backed up with facts? Or any creditable references at all? I find the concept of someone buying one game they didn't like, and giving up on gaming system entirely, to be just plain ridiculous. Dream Focus (talk) 10:58, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

  • Of course Pac-Man did not single-handedly cause the crash anymore than E.T. or any other individual game did, and I agree with you that the statement you took out overstates the matter. It did, however, play its small role in that process due to being a substandard port that Atari over-manufactued to the tune of five million unsold copies. I am glad you liked the game and don't care about graphics, but if you are really trying to tell me with a straight face that graphics never play a role in the reception of a video game, then I think you might need to go back and examine a few video game reviews and sales numbers before posting here again. I appreciate that you are trying to insure that POV is not creeping into this article and see the good intentions behind this post, but your borderline sarcasm, hyperbole, negative attitude relating to the issue, and obvious ignorance of video game history are not particularly productive. Before posting on this matter further, I would recommend you read at least one of the few major video game history books written such as Phoenix: The Fall and Rise of Video Games, The Ultimate History of Video Games, High Score: The Illustrated History of Video Games, and Game Over which all document the role the quality of the Pac-Man port and Atari's over-production of that port played in the crash. Indrian (talk) 14:38, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
My point was, I do not believe most people who played the game were dissatisfied with it as the article suggest. And the fact that they overproduced it, isn't really relevant, unless that somehow drove down the price. According to G4TV's Icons the video game crash was when people stopped buying the games, because the market was so flooded with garbage from third party producers, and store owners had so much unsold merchandise they didn't order any new games that might be worth playing. And the newer garbage games were very cheap, while the quality ones still were sold for $40 each, and thus prices and profits had to be reduced to compete. And please assume good faith. I wasn't being sarcastic and negative with my comment, only sincerity and concern are there. There is no way possible people could loose faith because of one or two games, and then stop buying any game they produced. Dream Focus (talk) 15:06, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
Actually, over-production is highly significant. In the toy industry that Atari was involved in, if a product does not sell, it is not just the retailer that takes a loss, it is the manufacturer, who ultimately has to compensate the retailer in a variety of ways such as mark down money and who also does not see a single cent from a toy retailer until after the holiday shopping season is over, which means that if a product does not sell through, the manufacturer does not collect the full cost of its manufacturing run. The reason retailers had so many bargain basement games in 1983 was in large part because the fly-by-night third-parties all went bankrupt so that toy stores had to heavily discount these companies' games at a loss rather than recoup some of their investment directly from the manufacturers. Atari's major losses on Pac-Man and E.T. played a significant role in the lower earnings that drove the company out of the video game business and were therefore a factor in the crash. Particularly since these two failures (yeah its odd calling Pac-Man a failure when it was the system's best-seller, but you still take a hit when you fail to move nearly half your inventory no matter how well your product sells) resulted in a downward spiral as Atari spent ridiculous sums of money to secure the hottest arcade properties to compensate and then took even heavier losses when interest in video games subsided. I toned down the statement you removed because I agree it was excessive, but your argument appears to be that you liked the game, other people must have also liked the game, ergo, the game was not universally disliked and had no impact on the crash. Every significant monograph written on video game history disagrees with you both in terms of its popularity and impact. Just because an episode of a television show does not have the time to deal with every last nuance of the crash does not mean that a fact is not important. Indrian (talk) 15:36, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
You added back in the statement "and even those who bought and kept the game were often dissatisfied". So, these popular writer/historians of the video game industry, claim that a considerate number of people were so dissatisfied, that it made them less likely to buy new games? Or perhaps that would prevent people from getting games for the system that were popular in the arcades. And judging by the cost of production, and how much they sold Pac-Man for, I think that game still turned a profit, no matter what. Was it ET that they produced more copies of than they had systems made, because they expected sales of their system to go up dramatically, and for everyone to own a copy? That game lost them money perhaps, not Pac Man. Also, the statement that some customers were dissastified could apply to every single game ever made. Are there any game magazines at the time that let people vote on the most disappointing games ever, or some other reference?Dream Focus (talk) 16:31, 27 October 2008 (UTC)
First off, Pac-Man was the game Atari over-manufactured based on total systems in the marketplace. Second, I have no idea whether Pac-Man turned a profit or not, but there is more than one way to be a failure. The game may not have lost money, but it was part of that glut of poor quality games that you mention above which did destroy consumer confidence in the video game industry so it was certainly an artistic failure and a failure at building brand loyalty. Finally, I will leave you with two quotes from Steven Kent's Ultimate History of Video Games, a well-researched and generally reliable source for video game history. On page 236, Kent states: "Whether it was bad programming or a weakness in hardware, Frye's version of Pac-Man had slow, jerky animation and the ghosts flickered so badly they kept disappearing from the screen. Atari sold seven million copies of Pac-Man; many people were so disappointed with the game that they asked for a refund." The same page also contains an excerpt from an interview with well-respected founder of Electronic Games magazine Arnie Katz: "The first real chink in the armor, though, was Atari's edition of Pac-Man, which was a terrible job. It was amazing that they produced such a flickery, unresponsive game. And although they sold many copies, paradoxically the more copies they sold, the more people they turned off." Indrian (talk) 18:18, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

Guys, I don't have time at the moment to dig up the resources, I'll try and do it later tonight. Indrian is right on everything he's been saying. The game cost Atari a lot of financial losses, and the falsification of earnings to cover these losses is one of the things that launched the SEC investigation that year and CEO Ray Kassar to resign. Perhaps you're not familiar with how the game industry worked at the time, but sales was tracked on forecast based on pre-orders by distributors - something that Atari forced retailers and distributors to do in advance and in bulk - which is what got them in trouble through '82 and '83. After the initial launch celebrations wound down and the negative reviews and negative market reaction became apparent, retailers and distrubutors were stuck with stock and started cancelling orders. With Atari management wanting to ignore this in favor of high earnings reports to pump up the stock value, their ignored (and tried to hide) the fact that their warehouses were become stuffed with inventory backstock because of all this - another fact which came out during the SEC investigation. This, followed by the release of E.T. later that year using the same practices and having the same reception issues, is what lead to Atari posting high company wide sales earnings yet very low profits, laying off 600 employees that coming March, and posting a total of $819 million in losses over 1983. Now, unless you can find a solid source that states "most users were happy with the experience and Atari made a profit on it", its WP:OR, as are most of your arguments. As Indrian sates, the evidence from available references overwhelmingly states otherwise. And trying to diminish a reference by stating things like "popular" when addressing a noted author or historian doesn't help your position. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 18:44, 27 October 2008 (UTC)

I'm just adding in something I asked around after reading this discussion page. Many gamers of the times don't ever recall a video game crash or hate towards this version of Pac-Man. I talked to a good number of people (at a pizza parlor in Las Vegas) and few people in Los Angeles (not at a pizza parlor) and at the Game Crazy store (Vegas, again) and most 30-to-55 year old people seemed to actually like the version, questioned why it wasn't like the arcade, and left it be afterwards. As far as a video game crash goes, these common gamers didn't ever know that it happening or happened. Simply put, they thought the prices came down and they liked it. Then the NES came out, some when to computers like C-64, Atari 8-bit, Apple whatever, etc. and so to them, there never was a video game crash in 1984 (never happened in 1983, but Wikipedia likes to report bad information many times, especially on Right-wing celebs and historical facts anyways). So that's just my own discovery from people, which I find to be ten times more accurate than the reporting here of just a little outlet of manufactured-to-a-supposedly-neutral-viewpoint "fact". Coffee5binky (talk) 03:44, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
What you just described is completely unreliable and nonfactual WP:OR. Contemporary sources of the time say otherwise, as shown. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 04:03, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
Right, no video game crash. Then why, pray tell, did video game sales in the United States fall from $3 billion in 1983 to $100 million in 1985, hmm? I hope you are trolling, becuase if not, this post displays a shocking amount of ignorance for one who claimes to be interested in this topic. Of course, your apparent disregard for academic research and proper sourcing in the face of the "truth" you found from a small sample size that is not an accurate cross-section of American society or individuals using video game consoles in 1982-84 and had no idea what was going on within the video game companies themselves at the time tells me everything I need to know about your idea of good research. I know you will probably call me some vile names and make reference to my nerdish closemindedness and then move on without learning anything at all about this subject, but what the hey, feeding trolls is amusing sometimes. Indrian (talk) 00:56, 5 January 2010 (UTC)
they do not. The only "contemporary source" even lsited for that refers to a "spring" issue of a magazine published monthly, as existing on "Page 122" when the magazine never had more than 90 pages. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 18 September 2010 (UTC)
You're mistaken. 1) Everything, right down to the effects it had on Atari's reported sales the trouble it got in to over it is laid out above. 2) It was not a monthly magazine, you're confusing it with Creative Computing. This was Creative Computing Video & Arcade Games, which was a special mag published quarterly and the article in question is indeed on page 122. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 02:51, 18 September 2010 (UTC)

Pacman release date[edit]

Was the Pacman really first released in 1981 on the Atari 2600, I'm sure it was first releaced in early 1982, if someone could have a investgation about that, that would be great. Give us a bell asap if anyone gets any info on this. Cheers, mcjakeqcool. Mcjakeqcool (talk) 21:37, 12 February 2009 (UTC)

It was released before Christmas. I remember reading an article the guy who created it, telling them that only he could do it in time, and forcing them to give him a cut of the profits if they wanted it done. I found that quite amusing. Tod_Frye Does the Christmas season go past December 25th? Perhaps it wasn't shipped everywhere in time. Dream Focus (talk) 22:38, 12 February 2009 (UTC)
Umm, did you guys not see the super huge discussion two topics up from this one where research proved the game was releasd in early 1982? Indrian (talk) 02:45, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

A-class Assessment[edit]


  • InfoWorld: claims that the game was largely responsible for Atari sales of 12 million units of Atari VCS by 1982.
    Included. Jappalang (talk) 04:02, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

The above are additional sources I found that might have relevant information for the game; is the article lacking the information of the sources above (comprehensiveness)? I am not striking sources out if they are included, as perhaps, there might be more information that someone else might locate; I will simply mark them "included" for the information I presented above. Jappalang (talk) 04:02, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

I think the above needs to be addressed before I can support this article for A-class. Jappalang (talk) 02:18, 7 October 2009 (UTC)

Thank you for the very in-depth review. I will do my best to address your concerns.
  • To be honest, I've never played this version so I didn't know if the four in the screenshot was consistent throughout the game. :-\ I'll ask Marty G. if he played it and remembers.
  • In regard to the 500 million in sales, the source did not specify. It reads like it meant both. Not sure though.
  • Both the RAM and ROM where used for the sprite switching. The ROM stored the graphics and the Video RAM stored reference information that drew from the ROM.
  • Nick Montfort is an associate professor of digital media at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. See his personal website for more details. He's written some interactive fiction
  • Ian Bogost is an associate professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology. See his personal website for more details. He is also the co-founder of Persuasive Games[1] and has published other books on video games.
  • Actually I meant "toy stores and toy departments" would "toy departments ans stores" be more clear?
  • Both refers to "Ms. Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-Man for the Atari 2600". Would "Both Atari 2600 titles were better..." be more clear?
I know I didn't address all your comments either here on in the recent edits I made to the article, but it is late and this is a lot to tackle while sleepy. I'll address the rest tomorrow. Thanks again. (Guyinblack25 talk 04:12, 7 October 2009 (UTC))
  • No problems, I struck those that have been resolved and expanded on others, adding feedback (at the points I raised) for your explanations above. I am busy these days, so I might take a bit of time to respond to you. Jappalang (talk) 01:52, 8 October 2009 (UTC)
Status update-
  • The lead should be fixed now
  • All but one issue in "Gameplay" should be fixed. I asked Marty about the 4 power pills, and hopefully he'll get back to us if he isn't on a break.
  • "Development" section is still in progress.
    • I'm going over the Racing the Beam book again to make sure I have the technical details right.
    • I don't think I've ever read or heard "the memories" when describing RAM and ROM together or any types of memory. I changed it to "the memory types are", is that sufficient?
    • I'm a little fuzzy on the details, and hopefully Marty can clarify this too. I believe it was a case of original equipment manufacturer, where Atari manufactured the cartridges, but with a Sears branding. Those specific cartridges where sold in Sear's stores.
  • I believe I addressed the remaining issues for "Reception". Let me know otherwise.
  • I expanded "Impact and legacy" and clarified the "Atari's Pac-Man" part. Let me know if still needs tweaking.
  • FURs of the images have been expanded. I contacted the original uploader of the flicker image to get more information but haven't heard back from him yet. I checked the gif in ImageReady and the rate of change between the frames is .02 seconds. The game refreshed 60 times every second (once every .0166666 seconds), so it's pretty close.
  • Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost title
    • Montfort may have the least ties to video games, but he did publish a book about video games through MIT Press. Being a university press, the book would have been reviewed by video game scholars. Bogost has written other video game books and is a video game developer though. He also spoke at this year's Game Developers Conference. I don't think there is one term other than "video game authors" that accurately describes the two.
I'll post back once I finish copy editing the "Development" section. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:45, 9 October 2009 (UTC))
Struck more, added some more items, and added feedback above. Jappalang (talk) 04:02, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

I'll try and address the the things I see my name by, along with two other discussion points:

  • AFAIK, there's just 4 power pellets in every level, just like the arcade game.
  • Sears had a long standing arrangement with Atari going back to Pong, and the only company to have it. It wasn't that they were the largest chain, it's that they were the first company to want to work with Atari when Atari was shopping around their home pong unit back in '75. Starting with the pong units, Atari manufactured alternative Sears versions of their consoles for Sears' own Tele-Games brand (in the case of Pong, the Sears tele-games version was the actual first Atari pong, their own branded version didn't appear until Christmass '76). In some cases, even unique consoles that were never released under Atari itself (see the Tele-Games section at David Winters' site for examples). This continued with the 2600, with Atari manufacturing Sears versions of the 2600 under the Tele-Games brand, all the way up until the last semi-exclusive version of the Sears Video Arcade II (I say semi-exclusive because Atari did release their own limited version in Japan as the Atari 2800. There were of course Tele-Games brand versions of their 2600 games as well. The cartridges and box artwork were different (Atari Pac-Man, Sears Pac-Man), and there were also games only released under the Tele-Games label (such as Steeplechase). Hopefully that explains why the Atari/Sears relationship is notable and significant. If there's anything specific regarding it you want me to expand on, feel free to ask.
  • In the legacy section, I'm not sure that it's accurate to say it was "remade for the Atari 5200". That would imply it was a port of the 2600 version or in response to it, rather than just the two being one of many ports of the arcade version. Atari's license for Pac-Man was for all home console and computer use, i.e. they planned to do multiple ports of the arcade title (which they did on their own consoles and computers and for other home consoles and computers via Atarisoft). It would be more accurate to state that in 1982 an Atari 5200 port of Pac-Man was also released, which proved to be a more accurate version than the earlier 2600 port. Likewise, just like with the darth vader model of the 2600, it became a pack-in with the second revision of the 5200 - the 2 port model.
  • Regarding Japlang's concern on the flicker explination and subsequent rework attempt - the rework introduces wording that is inaccurate. The graphics are not erased - i.e. a concept normally seen with bitmap graphics where you draw a background over the screen to "erase" before you redraw. There is no video ram for the 2600, the programmer was expected to generate graphical data per every raster scan line via the TIA registers. The 2600's hardware is uniquely tied to raster scan generation TV's of the time, down to the MHz of the 6502 being chosen to sync with beam rates. Unlike later consoles, the 2600 did not have a built in display kernel - the display kernal were designed in to the game itself. You were literally expected to count beam cycles, do game work during the v and h blanks, etc. - which is why it's tied to frames vs. the more general time you tried to reword in. The entire issue is not a layman's issue, so it's going to be difficult to describe it in non-technical terms and still keep it accurate.

--Marty Goldberg (talk) 05:05, 10 October 2009 (UTC)

Follow up-
  • The lead and "Gameplay" section should be fine now.
  • Development
    • In regard to the contradictory statements, I believe Frye worked on the prototype on his own without any request from Atari. Once Atari decided to release the game, they found out about the prototype and wanted to release it as it was (incomplete). Frye disagreed with the release and worked on the version that was eventually released. Marty may have more knowledge about this part, it was a bit fuzzy for me.
    • About the diminished profits, the sources I read didn't mention anything about incurring extra costs. Atari just seemed to be concerned about the release date messing with profits.
  • Reception
    • The more I think about it, the more I don't think a more descriptive term for Montfort and Bogost is really needed. They are published authors that wrote a book about video games. The reference and wikilinks provide further details if needed.
    • I'm kind of at a loss at how to give the "ghost personalities" proper context. I'm open to suggestions, even removing that part. I think the Reception section has enough comments to survive without it.
  • Impact and legacy
    • The 5000 shares sounded small to me too, but that's what the sources said.
    • In regard to the third paragraph, that content is a direct response to the content described in the second paragraph. I realize that some of it seems tangential, but I think it paints a more complete picture of the game's legacy. Though, if you're adamant about it being irrelevant, I'll trim it down.
  • Flicker image
    • I think the rate of change is accurate enough. Each frame of the gif is displayed a bit longer than it should be to match the actual refresh rate of the game. I don't image the phosphorescent fade extends the perceived rate that much. So .02 seconds sounds reasonable to me. What did you have in mind to accurately convey the effect?
(Guyinblack25 talk 06:26, 11 October 2009 (UTC))
I'm not sure if any of the above was in response to me. But regarding the flicker of the gif, it's nowhere near the actual flicker rate of the game - it's very slow. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 07:19, 11 October 2009 (UTC)
It was mainly towards Jappalang, but some parts were in the hopes you could clarify details I was fuzzy about.
In regard to the rate of flicker, is this video of Pac-Man accurate? If so (then the game is friggin unplayable), I can try to replicate it in a gif and add a slight fade effect in the frames. (Guyinblack25 talk 15:23, 12 October 2009 (UTC))
No, that rate of flicker isn't accurate either. The problem is most of those videos are using emulators. Emulation unfortunately is an approximation, not always an exact duplication of a specific piece of hardware and all it's bugs. Here's a video from the time (1982) that shows it running on an actual 2600. You'll see the flickering is more of a strobe effect than actual large time chunks of ghosts disappearing and reappearing. If you're going to put a new gif together, I would advise a side by side of the one that's up now and one that portray the proper full speed one, as I think that might be more instructional. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 19:55, 12 October 2009 (UTC)

(outdent) The Sears/Atari relationship could be clarified a bit more (see above for suggestion). Information (the extra stuff on Kassar's shares and other companies' fates) should be reformed to add context to the article. I still believe "authors" does not bestow Montfort and Bogort the authority to their opinions (we cannot expect everyone to go click links to find crucial information). However, I am not all hard up for that; this ia an A-class assessment and A-class falls slightly short of FA-class. The extra information, currently seems to me, vaguely connected to the subject (hence, the suggestions to clarify, reshaped, or dropped), but opinions might differ.

I understand the difficulties with the technical language for the flicker effect, so if it cannot be reduced to layman terms, the reason to include a media to illustrate the effect would be strong. However, as pointed out by Marty, the current GIF is inaccurate on the effect. My original thought was to get someone to film the game as played on a 2600 and TV and upload a short clip. The clip pointed out by Marty is probably captured off a VHS, so transcoding a short portion of the clip to OGG would do.

I would glady support A-class once the flicker clip issue is resolved. Jappalang (talk) 03:33, 13 October 2009 (UTC)

I made the final edits you suggested.
  • I edited the sentence about Sears. I haven't come across a source that explicitly states that Sears and Atari had such an agreement, but I know it dates back to Pong's home release. I'm hoping Marty can swoop in and save the day again. :-D
  • "Researchers" does sound more appropriate given the specific context of the book cited.
  • I couldn't think of how to frame the info about Kassar and the other companies, so I removed it.
  • I'll look into creating a ogg file from the video Marty linked.
(Guyinblack25 talk 15:08, 13 October 2009 (UTC))
Regarding Sears resources, here's a few -
--Marty Goldberg (talk) 06:25, 14 October 2009 (UTC)

Update- I added the video to the article. The file seems to freeze up on me sometimes. Not sure what's wrong though. Let me know if you have a similar problem and I'll try to redo the ogv. (Guyinblack25 talk 18:14, 6 November 2009 (UTC))

The video is a bit crooked, but nonetheless serve its purpose. Supporting this article for A-class. Jappalang (talk) 22:30, 6 November 2009 (UTC)

Support - the only thing I had a problem with is the camcorder-like video, but I can't argue with the source it came from, so it's more than adequete. --Teancum (talk) 13:22, 11 November 2009 (UTC) recepcion[edit] is a Argentine video game magazine and one of its Top 10 "Top 10: The worst of all", this version of Pacman was ranked in the position 10. In spanish — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:01, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Frye never threatened to quit[edit]

This piece of hearsay can apparently be traced to Chris Crawford, who has repeated this story in several interviews and testimonials such as the one at In his new book All Your Base Are Belong To Us, author Harold Goldberg actually talks to Tod Frye, who denies ever making these threats, while in the link posted above, Howard Scott Warshaw also refutes Crawford's story. I am taking this material out. Indrian (talk) 21:46, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

  • Indrian- I don't think outright removal is the proper treatment here. If we have conflicting reports, then we need to present them neutrally. Could you post the content you have that denies that Frye threatened to quit so we can put together an appropriate statement? (Guyinblack25 talk 04:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC))
    • Its not conflicting reports; its complete hearsay from Chris Crawford. He no longer worked at Atari when these demands were supposedly made; he has no way of knowing what happened. Both Frye (the ACTUAL person) and Warshaw have first-hand knowledge of this stuff. This article should not slander Tod Frye because Crawford got his facts wrong; to do so completely violates the spirit, though admittedly maybe not the letter, of wikipedia's BLP policy. Indrian (talk) 05:08, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
    • Also, to go off on a slight tangent, this is part of a larger systemic problem with covering video game history. Wikipedians have decided to qualify a group of sources as "reliable" in the field because they are largely accurate, but the truth is that every last major tome written on video game history has an appalling number of mistakes, and the media websites like IGN and GameSpy are even worse. Because so few books and articles have been written on video game history and none of them have been written by professional historians the entire field of "scholarship" is a mess. When wikipedians then post this information, it gets spammed all over the darn Internet and makes setting the historical record straight even harder. Without honest to God source critique, information like the Crawford thing above or the ludicrous notion that an IGN editor actually researched Atari game sales figures and created an accurate top ten bestselling list will become "fact" even though they are not. As a counter example, when Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney claim two versions of the same events in a reliable source, we have to present both sides equally even though additional evidence indicates Dabney is almost certainly correct because they were both present for said events and neutrality demands both points of view. When a source can be traced back to a third party that is just spouting rumor or hearsay, that can be discarded as unreliable on its face. Just because a source is generally reliable does not mean it cannot be discredited for certain pieces of information. I guarantee if every fact from Phoenix, The Ultimate History of Video Games, and High Score was combined to create our article on the History of Video Games, you would be left with the worst and most horrendously inaccurate history of the subject ever created because despite the general utility of those works and best intentions of their authors all of those sources contain numerous errors as mentioned above. Wikipedia's policy on "verifiability not truth" is about including all viewpoints and opinions on a topic postulated by reliable commentators, not about including facts that are just plain wrong. Indrian (talk) 05:08, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
      • I have no dog in this hunt but I just wanted to caution on the use of Harold's book. I have first hand experience - the man did not vet all the info and in some cases garnered it in questionable means. Quotes, commentary, and info attributed to Loni Reeder were not provided by her, and a bunch of material was pilfered from Ralph Baer's computer without his permission. Such as emails between Ralph and Loni that again were taken and used as source without permission. --Marty Goldberg (talk) 13:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
      • Indrian, I'll be quite honest. Based on your comments here and below, I think you have a strong beef against IGN. I may be assuming bad faith, so I apologize if that is the case. That being said, if you really believe that IGN is an unreliable source, put together your rationale with examples and present at WT:VG.
        Back to the topic at hand, the primary concern is the slander aspect, which is enough for me. The absence of the content, while interesting, does not impact the article much. However, Frye's compensation should be added back. (Guyinblack25 talk 14:42, 15 August 2011 (UTC))

IGN Atari list[edit]

What evidence do we have that the IGN article is based on the Wikipedia list? I do see the similarities, but that isn't proof of copying. (Guyinblack25 talk 04:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC))

  • You mean besides the fact that it was identical to wikipedia's list at the time it was published? There is no catch-all source of Atari sales figures. There are also several sources that give much higher figures for Space Invaders that an author doing actual reasearch into the topic would have easily found. He clearly just copied the wikipedia info. As the author does not cite an alternative source, that list is unreliable on its face for being both an obvious copy and containing several inaccuracies easily refuted by other sources. Indrian (talk) 04:48, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
    • I linked the version that was around prior to publishing, and it is not identical. There are 12 titles listed there, 7 which specify selling a million units. Do have verifiable information as to why 2 of the 7 aren't on the list? Also, the article does say where the numbers came from: "so many of these game sales are based on internal figures recalled by figures within the industry or on the few published figures." Just to be clear, I'm not refuting the possibility that what you say is true, but you're going to need more than what you posted above to discount it as a source. Anyone could say a lot of sources cited on Wikipedia are wrong, not just IGN sources. (Guyinblack25 talk 14:10, 15 August 2011 (UTC))
      • Right, every sales figure on wikipedia's list of best-selling games is cited from a source, so of course every entry on the IGN list is supported by "internal figures recalled by figures within the industry or on the few published figures" because that's how the numbers were placed on wikipedia in the first place. Giving that statement is not stating one's sources because it fails to specify where and how the author came across these figures. Also, your claim that I have a bias against IGN is truly bizarre. When information is good, its good. When information is not its...not. Source critique is not bias, and I use IGN all the time when the site is reporting contemporary news or quoting industry personnel. Heck, I did not even remove the article under discussion as a reference everywhere in this article, let alone go on a crusade to remove IGN links from every article in wikipedia (or indeed anywhere except here in recent memory) so your conclusion is not only bizarre, but backed up by no evidence. That does not change the fact that the major game news sites when discussing a historical issue rather than a contemporary issue often are not real careful about where they get their facts, requiring caution when using them as sources. The top 10 article in question is most likely listing figures that have been reported in other reliable sources indirectly through wikipedia, but even if this is not the case it loses all credibility when it calls itself a top 10 list because the figure for Space Invaders is flat out wrong compared to primary sources from the early 1980s and Asteroids, another huge seller according to said sources, is missing entirely. You are correct that two games are missing from the list vis-a-vis wikipedia, and I concede that I do not know why, but a desire to keep his list to ten games seems a likely cause. Far more damming is that every figure matches up with wikipedia, even those figures that are easily proven wrong through additional research. Heck, to put this in reverse for a second, the wikipedia article and the reliable sources it cites to did exist when he wrote the article, yet this so-called bestseller list omits a couple of million sellers, which according to the premise of the article should be included. That once again proves the unreliability of the research here even in the (extremely unlikely) case that he did not just copy and paste from wikipedia. Many other sources give the Pac Man 7 million figure, so there is no need to rely on a sloppily researched article for the number whether its information came from wikipedia or not. Doing research is more than just deciding a website is generally reliable (which IGN most certainly is) and then using every last fact presented by every last article therein without some form of corroboration. Indrian (talk) 16:36, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
        • Again, I don't doubt the possibility, but what you're presenting doesn't prove that the IGN list is a copy of the Wikipedia list. Just that they are very similar.
          That being said, if you have better sources, then we can use those too. I'm sorry, but I don't see enough reason to discount the IGN list as a source here. (Guyinblack25 talk 17:14, 15 August 2011 (UTC))
          • There already is another source there, which I did not touch. The seven million figure has never been in dispute in this conversation. A sloppily researched article that claims it is a top 10 best-seller list when it can be easily proven through other sources that its not is unreliable on its face. I still think it came from wikipedia as I stated in my edit summary, but that fact is immaterial when examining the larger reliability issues. Indrian (talk) 17:20, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
            • I believe I understand now. You're saying that the IGN article is not the best source to use and that it is largely not needed here? If that's the case, do you have another source we can add to back up the figure? It's a stronger rationale to omit it if it's not needed at all because we have two really good sources citing there rather than just one.
              Re-iterating my IGN comments above, if you believe that IGN has reliability issues, then I think it's best if you bring it up at WT:VG. No source is perfect, but I gather from your comments (maybe incorrectly) that you think that IGN is far less than perfect. We currently list it as a reliable source that we don't need to scrutinize as much as you just have. Do you believe that IGN should be situational? (Guyinblack25 talk 14:34, 16 August 2011 (UTC))
              • Yeah, there are other sources. Steve Kent gives the seven million figure in his book and that is, I believe, the original (ie oldest secondary) source for that number. I'll add that at some point. As for IGN, well I think it is as reliable as anything when it is reporting on the industry. Current events, interviews with industry figures, all that stuff is as solid as any source out there. For historical information, I think it (along with most of the other mainstream gaming news websites) just parrots what other sources have already stated on a matter without further research or fact-checking, so I think it may be less reliable in those cases. Well, maybe less reliable is not quite right, but at the very least they are not good sources for historical info because they are just uncritically parroting already existing secondary materials rather than engaging in their own primary research or source critique. I guess that's something that could be brought up, but I don't know that it is an issue that comes up enough on wikipedia to really matter, since most citations will be to news articles and not historical ones. Indrian (talk) 17:45, 16 August 2011 (UTC)


I revised this quite a lot because much of it was incorrect and based on misunderstanding of how the 2600 works, especially when trying to identify what was a "sprite" vs. what was created with the 2600's "Playfield" (walls), what was a Missile object, etc. I also cited Tod Frye's 2016 PRGE talk on Pacman as regards some of the design choices, notably how his decision to support a 2-player game literally ate up about 20% of the available memory registers to store two game states and scores.MrNeutronSF (talk) 08:25, 12 May 2017 (UTC)