List of Pac-Man clones

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In video gaming, Pac-Man clones are unauthorized versions of Namco's popular maze chase arcade game Pac-Man or games that wholesale borrow the design of Pac-Man. The combined sales of counterfeit arcade machines sold nearly as many units as the original Pac-Man, which had sold more than 300,000 machines. [1]


Like the original game, Pac-Man clones typically have the goal of clearing a maze of dots while eluding deadly adversaries. When special dots are eaten, the protagonist can chase and consume the pursuers for a brief period. Clones may vary the audio/visual theme, use different maze layouts, slightly tweak features, or even invert elements such as filling the maze rather than emptying it, but they have the same general feel of Pac-Man.

The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers lists 57 Pac-Man clones released for various platforms. [2]

Arcade clones

Lock 'n' Chase was developed and published by Data East in Japan in 1981, and was later published in North America by Taito. Here, Pac-Man was replaced with a thief stealing coins from a bank vault. The ghosts were replaced with police, and the thief could temporarily block passages with doors. The game was later licensed to Mattel who produced the Intellivision and Atari 2600 home console versions in 1982.

Mighty Mouth is a game by A-1 Machines that District Court Judge Warren Keith Urbom described as "for all practical purposes, identical to ...Pac-Man" [3] Among the similarities cited were the color and shape of the player character and ghosts, the maze configurations, the sound effects, the paths of the characters in the attract mode and the paths of the characters in both the attract mode and a game where the player does not move. [4] Midway, owners of the Pac-Man copyrights, were granted summary judgment for copyright and trademark infringement in 1983. [5]

Piranha was released by GL in 1981. The central character is a dot-chomping piranha, and squid creatures replace the ghost monsters.

The Hand was released by TIC in 1981. The central character is a dot-chomping hand, and the ghost monsters are replaced by hands representing Rock (a fist), Paper (splayed fingers), and Scissors (two fingers outstretched).

Thief was released by Pacific Novelty in 1981. The central character is the titular Thief in a getaway vehicle, while police officers in cars replace the ghost monsters. Thief is notable for using approximately eight minutes of scripted radio communications between the officers, played from a cassette tape inside the game cabinet.

Contemporary home system clones

Taxman is a 1981 Pac-Man clone for the Apple II programmed by Brian Fitzgerald. [6] Atari sued Fitzgerald and he sold the port to Atari which they ended up selling as a licensed version of the game.

Ghost Hunter from Arcade Plus is a 1981 clone for the Atari 8-bit family that plays The Twilight Zone theme at the start of the game.

Jawbreaker (1981) for the Atari 8-bit family re-themed the gameplay, winning a best action game award in 1983.[ citation needed ] Atari threatened to sue the publishers, Sierra On-Line, but they released the game anyway. They won the ensuing lawsuit.

K.C. Munchkin! is a 1981 release in the official line of games for the Magnavox Odyssey². It is very heavily based on Namco's 1980 arcade game Pac-Man , but not a direct clone. It was however, similar enough for Atari to sue Philips and force them to cease production of Munchkin. In the 1982 case Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp., an Appellate court found that Phillips had copied Pac-Man and made alterations that "only tend to emphasize the extent to which it deliberately copied the Plaintiff's work." The ruling was one of the first to establish how copyright law would apply to the look and feel of computer software.

Scarfman is a 1981 Pac-Man clone for the monochrome TRS-80 computers.

Hungry Horace is a 1982 Pac-Man clone for the ZX Spectrum.

Munch Man is a 1982 clone from Texas Instruments for the TI-99/4A home computer. Instead of clearing a maze, the player fills it with "links" (in Munch Man parlance)a change made by TI to avoid possible lawsuits.

Snack Attack is a 1982 clone for the Apple II written by Dan Illowsky and published by Datamost. [6] It became a top selling game for the Apple II. [7]

Snapper 's initial release for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron, [8] by Acornsoft in 1982, [9] [10] was so close to Pac-Man (including the design of the game's characters) that this version had to be withdrawn and re-released with the characters changed. [11] [12] The player's character became a round yellow face with very short legs wearing a green cowboy hat and the ghosts became skinny humanoid monsters.

CatChum is a text-only Pac-Man clone for Kaypro's early line of luggable home computers. It was created by Yahoo Software and released in 1982 and 1983. Because the early Kaypros did not have graphics capability, this clone used dashes and various punctuation marks to construct a maze. The letter A served as ghosts and the fruits were replaced by dollar signs. The Pac-man was a letter C which went from upper to lower case, intermittently, to simulate a chomping Pac-man. A major down side of the game was that early Kaypros were not able to flip text characters. As a result, the CatChum Pac-Man was always facing right, even when chomping pills on its left.

3-Demon is a 3D vector-graphics Pac-Man clone developed by PC Research in 1983 for MS-DOS. As opposed to using a single screen maze, the game is placed in a 3D first-person perspective, with the ghosts being cyclopean demons.

Jelly Monsters for the Commodore VIC-20 is a faithful port of Namco's Pac-Man by HAL Laboratory who had the home computer rights to Namco's games in Japan at the time, but when the games were released in North America, the names were changed to avoid legal issues with Atari, Inc. who had the home computer rights in North America to Jelly Monsters for the VIC-20 which was published by Commodore International, Atari ended up suing HAL and Commodore anyway and won the lawsuit, Atari pulled off HAL's VIC-20 port and released their own version, after the lawsuit HAL sold the Japanese home computer rights to Dempa who ended up porting the game to many home computers in Japan, this excluded the MSX version of the game of which Namco ported themselves under their Namcot branding. [13]

Devil World for the Famicom is a 1984 Pac-Man clone designed by Shigeru Miyamoto [14]

Mini and mainframe clones

PAC running on a CDC 6600 PAC-CDC6600.jpg
PAC running on a CDC 6600

Pac-Man is a clone for the Xerox Alto which was the first computer that used a mouse-driven Graphical User Interface. The gameplay is slightly unusual as the Pac-Man character is controlled with a mouse.

PAC is a clone for the CDC 6000 series of mainframe computers.

See also

Related Research Articles

<i>Pac-Man</i> 1980 video game made by Namco

Pac-Man is a 1980 maze action video game developed and released by Namco for arcades. The original Japanese title of Puck Man was changed to Pac-Man for international releases as a preventative measure against defacement of the arcade machines by changing the P to an F. In North America, the game was released by Midway Manufacturing as part of its licensing agreement with Namco America. The player controls Pac-Man, who must eat all the dots inside an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts. Eating large flashing dots called "Power Pellets" causes the ghosts to turn blue, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for bonus points.

<i>Ms. Pac-Man</i> 1982 video game

Ms. Pac-Man is a 1982 maze arcade game developed by General Computer Corporation and published by Midway. It is the first sequel to Pac-Man (1980) and the first entry in the series to not be made by Namco. Controlling the titular character, the player is tasked with eating all of the pellets in an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts. Eating the larger “power pellets” lets the player eat the ghosts, who turn blue and flee.

Acornsoft was the software arm of Acorn Computers, and a major publisher of software for the BBC Micro and Acorn Electron. As well as games, it also produced a large number of educational titles, extra computer languages and business and utility packages – these included word processor VIEW and the spreadsheet ViewSheet supplied on ROM and cartridge for the BBC Micro/Acorn Electron and included as standard in the BBC Master and Acorn Business Computer.

<i>Dig Dug</i> 1982 video game

Dig Dug is a maze arcade game developed by Namco in 1981 and released in 1982, distributed in North America by Atari, Inc. The player controls Dig Dug to defeat all enemies per stage, by either inflating them to bursting or crushing them underneath rocks.

<i>Pac-Man Plus</i> 1982 video game

Pac-Man Plus is an arcade game that was released by Bally Midway on March 13, 1982, and it is the third title in the Pac-Man series of games.

<i>Pac-Land</i> 1985 video game

Pac-Land is a 1984 side-scrolling arcade platform game developed and released by Namco. It was distributed in North America by Bally Midway, and in Europe by Atari Games. Controlling Pac-Man, the player must make it to the end of each stage to return a lost fairy back to its home in Fairyland. Pac-Man will need to avoid obstacles, such as falling logs and water-spewing fire hydrants, alongside his enemies, the Ghost Gang. Eating large flashing Power Pellets will cause the ghosts to turn blue, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for points.

<i>K.C. Munchkin!</i> 1981 video game

Munchkin is cartridge number 38 in the official Philips line of games for the Philips Videopac. In North America for the Magnavox Odyssey 2 it was called K.C. Munchkin!, an inside reference to then president of Philips Consumer Electronics Kenneth C. Menkin.

<i>Super Pac-Man</i> 1982 video game

Super Pac-Man is a 1982 maze chase arcade game developed and published by Namco. It was distributed in North America by Midway Games. Super Pac-Man is Namco's take on a sequel to the original Pac-Man; Midway had previously released Ms. Pac-Man, which Namco had little involvement with.

1982 was the peak year for the golden age of arcade video games as well as the second generation of video game consoles. Many games were released that would spawn franchises, or at least sequels, including Dig Dug, Pole Position, Mr. Do!, Zaxxon, Q*bert, Time Pilot and Pitfall! The year's highest-grossing video game was Namco's arcade game Pac-Man, for the third year in a row. Additional game consoles added to a crowded market, notably the ColecoVision and Atari 5200. Troubles at Atari late in the year triggered the video game crash of 1983.

Fueled by the previous year's release of the colorful and appealing Pac-Man, the audience for arcade games in 1981 became much wider. Pac-Man influenced maze games began appearing in arcades and on home systems. Pac-Man was again the year's highest-grossing video game for the second year in a row. Nintendo released the arcade game Donkey Kong, which defined the platformer genre. Other arcade hits released in 1981 include Defender, Scramble, Frogger, Galaga and Zaxxon.

1980 saw the release of a number of games with influential concepts, including Pac-Man, Battlezone, Crazy Climber, Mystery House, Missile Command, Phoenix, Rally-X, Space Panic, Stratovox, Zork, and Olympic Decathlon. The year's highest-grossing video game was Namco's arcade game Pac-Man. The Atari VCS also grew in popularity with a port of Space Invaders and support from new third-party developer Activision.

Pac-Man is a 30-minute Saturday morning American animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions based on the Namco video game franchise of the same title. It premiered on ABC and ran for 44 episodes over two seasons from September 25, 1982, to November 5, 1983. It was the first cartoon based on a video game.

<i>Pac & Pal</i> 1983 video game

Pac & Pal is a 1983 maze chase arcade game developed and published by Namco. It is part of the company's Pac-Man series, is the third to have been produced in-house. Players control Pac-Man as he must eat the items in an enclosed maze while avoiding four colored ghosts that pursue him. Pac-Man is assisted by a green-colored creature named Miru, the titular "Pal", who brings the items back to the center box. Pac-Man can also collect power-ups that allow him to briefly stun the ghosts.

<i>Pac-Man</i> (Atari 2600) Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man

Pac-Man is a 1982 maze video game developed and published by Atari, Inc. under official license by Namco, and an adaptation of the 1980 hit arcade game of the same name. The player controls the title character, who attempts to consume all of the wafers while avoiding four ghosts that pursue him. Eating flashing wafers at the corners of the screen will cause the ghosts to turn blue and flee, allowing Pac-Man to eat them for bonus points.

<i>Snapper</i> (video game) 1982 video game

Snapper is a clone of the Namco arcade game Pac-Man programmed by Jonathan Griffiths for the BBC Micro and released as one of the launch titles for Acornsoft in 1982. It was also one of Acornsoft's launch titles for the Acorn Electron in 1983.

<i>Lady Bug</i> (video game) 1981 video game

Lady Bug is a maze chase video game produced by Universal and released for arcades in 1981. Its gameplay is similar to Pac-Man, with the primary addition to the formula being gates that change the layout of the maze when used, adding an element of strategy to the genre. The arcade original was relatively obscure, but the game found wider recognition and success as a launch title for the ColecoVision console.

<i>CatChum</i> 1982 video game

CatChum is a text-only clone of Pac-Man written for the CP/M operating system and made to be operated on the early Kaypro line of luggable computers.

Atari, Inc. v. North American Philips Consumer Electronics Corp. is one of the first legal cases applying copyright law to video games, establishing the game K.C. Munchkin! infringed Pac-Man. Atari had licensed the commercially successful arcade game Pac-Man from Namco and Midway, to produce a version for their Atari 2600 console. Around the same time, Philips created Munchkin as a similar maze-chase game, leading Atari to sue them for copyright infringement.


  1. Leonard Herman; Jer Horwitz; Steve Kent; Skyler Miller (2002). "The History of Video Games" (PDF). GameSpot. p. 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 14 March 2012.
  2. Hague, James (April 13, 2021). "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers". Dadgum. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  3. Midway Mfg. Co. v. Dirkschneider (Dirkschneider I), 543 F.Supp. 466, 477 (D. Neb. 1981)
  4. Dirkschneider I, 543 F.Supp. at 477
  5. Midway Mfg. Co. v. Dirkschneider (Dirkschneider II), 571 F.Supp. 282 (D. Neb. 1983)
  6. 1 2 Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  7. "Inside the Industry" (PDF). Computer Gaming World . September–October 1982. p. 2. Retrieved 2016-03-28.
  8. Jackson, Jane (December 1983). "The Micro User Games Software Review: Snapper Acornsoft". The Micro User (Issue 1-10). Retrieved 2010-10-03. SNAPPER is an attractive and incredibly frustrating version of Pacman.
  9. Edwards, Dave A. "Snapper". Archived from the original on 2011-04-27. Retrieved 2010-10-03. 1983: SNAPPER, Acornsoft, £9.20 (Tape), £16.50 (ROM Cart)
  10. Reed, Martin. "Electron Games Reviews: Play it Again Sam 7". Electron User (Issue 6.9). Retrieved 2010-10-03. SNAPPER, Acornsoft's implementation of the ever-popular Pac Man, was one of the first games ever released for the Electron.
  11. Robinson, Oliver. "Only the Best BBC Micro Games" . Retrieved 2010-10-03. Snapper was one of the first Video Arcade Conversions made for the BBC by AcornSoft.
  12. Reeves, Alex. "Classic Retro Games". Retro Gamer. Archived from the original on 2010-06-16. Retrieved 2010-10-03. This is one of the many quality arcade conversions that Acornsoft created for the BBC Micro, being a very faithful example of Pac Man.
  13. "Generation MSX's Pac-Man page".
  14. Dan Whitehead (2008-11-17). "Virtual Console Roundup". Eurogamer . Retrieved 2010-04-28.