It was bound to happen. The reigning cultural phenomenon of our time has spawned yet another off-shoot that will appeal to pinballers who know the name, as well as video game devotees ready for a markedly different type of action. Housed in a new cabinet design, Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man doesn’t just borrow on its name sakes and their popularity, but integrates the folk heroes into the basic play of the game which is pinball plus a little bit more.
Incorporated within a rather conventional play field design featuring a top area of two thumper-bumpers, a lone flipper and a three bank of drop targets, along with two sets of four drop targets fronting stand-ups at mid-field, is a center 25-light Pac-maze Vid-Grid which is at the heart of Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man’s play routine.
A digital readout, just above the bottom flippers, indicates “time to beat”, “mazes completed” and “Pac-Man moves” with players qualifying and accumulating these values via the targets and lanes on the board.
Access to the maze itself, is possible via a long shot up the left side to a top kick-out hole (or “Pac-Man saucer” as it’s called), or up the right side to another kick-out hole. This will activate the maze, where the strategy is to avoid the red light and maneuver the yellow light to complete the grid and advance to the next level.
Although this might sound fairly simplistic, a degree of difficulty is provided by the use of two flipper buttons on the left side. One controls the direction of movement and the other actually makes the moves. The inclusion of a joystick might have been a better choice since players must keep their eyes not only on the grid, but also on the directional arrows and digital display below.
However, Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man is an interesting machine that attempts to offer a video-like quality of play without the screen. Whether players will make the translation remains to be seen, but the indication is that pinball design can, in fact, go beyond what were once thought of as very real boundaries to bringing new dimensions into the action and skill. All in all, the question remains will Bally plan to continue promulgating the Pac-Man family with other issues that might bear more than a passing resemblance? The feeling here is that we’ve only seen the first of the offspring.
This said, players are going to have to determine not only if they like the upcoming Pac-Man relatives, but whether pinball in its diversity of design has hit some responsive chords with the playing public. One sure thing is that manufacturers will have to continue to upgrade and improve their products time and again.
Play Google Pac-Man online