- Publisher: Namco / Tengen
- Developer: Namco
- NES (Tengen): 1987
- NES (Namco): November 1993
- Wii (Namco): May 2007
- Genre: 2D Action
- Tengen: Moderate (US$5-15)
- Namco: Uncommon (US$20-40)
- Wii: DLC (US$5)
Back during the reign of the NES, Atari was still making its own consoles, such as the 7800 and re-released 2600. So you think they weren't about to make games for the competition's consoles. But at the time, the company was split into two parts: Atari Corporation, which owned the brand rights and made home games, and Atari Games, which only released titles for the arcade. In order to make games for home consoles, Atari Games formed a new brand, Tengen, also named after a term from the Asian board game Go. Tengen sold ports of arcade games, most of them already released in Japan by companies (Namco and Sunsoft) which were not selling in the US at the time. However, they were also unhappy with Nintendo's licensing rules, such as that companies could only produce five different NES games per year. So, while they released some games under the license (Pac-Man, Gauntlet, and RBI Baseball), they secretly went to work trying to circumvent the 10NES lockout chip I mentioned before, and succeeded. These unlicenced cartridges were shaped differently, colored black instead of gray and having an angled top face. Were they supposed to invoke the shape of classic Atari cartridges? You make the call! 
|Licensed (left) and unlicensed (right) Pac-Man cartridges. |
|Tengen (left) and Namco (right) versions of Pac-Man gameplay. |
Aesthetic elements are one thing, but the real challenge in porting a video game is successfully re-creating the game engine and AI. In that respect, the only major difference here is that the NES ports play a tiny bit slower than the arcade game. Other than that... you'd really have to spend hours of time on both in order to learn the differences between the two versions' AI patterns. If you're one of those people who absolutely has to have the original arcade version, well, I won't judge you (in public), but it is available almost everywhere else. It's in a couple of the Namco Museum compilation games, available as a stand-alone game for the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Store, and there's bound to be more. In fact, you probably already have a copy of Pac-Man on some platform. As for everyone else, you can get your fix right here.
Control: 4 Power Pellets out of 5
Design: 4 Power Pellets out of 5
Graphics: 5 Power Pellets out of 5
Sound: 5 Power Pellets out of 5
Value: 3 Power Pellets out of 5
The Call: 90% (A-)
The Call: 90% (A-)
 "Tengen (company)". Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tengen_%28company%29.
 "Tengen pac-man image by cerberus314". Photobucket. http://media.photobucket.com/image/tengen%20pac-man/cerberus314/NES/PICT2279.jpg.
 "Pac-Man - NES Screenshots". MobyGames. http://www.mobygames.com/game/nes/pac-man/screenshots.