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Pac-Man (NES)

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Title Screen


Developer: Namco
Publishers: Namco (JP), Namco (1993 AU/1993 US), Tengen (1988 US), HES (1990 AU), Nintendo (EU)
Platforms: NES, Unlicensed NES, Famicom Disk System
Released in JP: November 2, 1984 (Famicom), May 18, 1990 (FDS)
Released in US: October 11, 1988 (Tengen, Licensed), 1989 (Tengen, Unlicensed), November 19, 1993 (Namco)
Released in EU: December 23, 1993 (Namco)
Released in AU: May 22, 1990 (HES), June 19, 1993 (Namco)

CopyrightIcon.png This game has hidden developer credits.
RegionIcon.png This game has regional differences.
Carts.png This game has revisional differences.

DCIcon.png This game has a Data Crystal page

The NES Pac-Man is a port of the revolutionary arcade game about eating.

Developer Credits

Namco games often contain some generic copyright and/or credits text at the very beginning of their ROMs. This one contains the following text:

Versions Text
Japan / Tengen Versions COPY RIGHT 1984 1980 NAMCO LTD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Additionally, the name "HIROKI AOYAGI" is loaded into RAM at address $52, in order to distinguish between soft and hard resets (the high score is retained after a soft reset).

Revisional Differences

Yes, even a port of a game this basic has revisional differences.

Title Screen

Japan (Famicom) Japan (FDS) North America (Tengen)
PacManNES-Title-JP.png PacManFDS-Title-JP.png PacManNES-Title-TengenA.png

When Tengen localized the Famicom version of Pac-Man for North America, they chose to overhaul the copyright text, adding the fact that the game was "Licensed by Nintendo of America", as well as replacing the unique "Namcot" logo with a simple plain text "Tengen" one. They also re-organized the lines of copyright text slightly. Unusually, Tengen did not bother to update the copyright date at all, retaining the 1984 date from the Famicom release, despite that being four years before Tengen's North American version released, and one year before the NES console itself was released in North America!

Three separate revisions were released in North America alone, each containing slight changes primarily on the title screen depending on who published them and when.

Tengen Version (Licensed) Tengen Version (Unlicensed) Namco Version
PacManNES-Title-TengenA.png PacManNES-Title-TengenB.png Pac-Man (NES)-title.png

The first Tengen release was officially licensed by Nintendo of America. However, when Tengen lost official Nintendo licensing in 1989 due to a legal dispute, they chose to re-release Pac-Man on their own. Naturally, that means all mention of Nintendo was removed from the game.

Later in 1993, the game was re-released again in North America, this time by Namco. This release altered the copyright text once again by finally updating the date, re-instating the Nintendo licensing (although no longer specifically mentioning Nintendo of America), and replacing Tengen's plain text logo with a Namco logo, based on the Namcot one that was in the original Famicom version. A small trademark symbol was also added to the game's logo.

North America (Namco) Europe
Pac-Man (NES)-title.png PacManNES-Title-PAL.png

Finally, the game made it over to Europe, in a version based on the 1993 North American release. It contains all the alterations that were done for that version, as well as changing the trademark symbol on the Namco logo, and removing the strange glitched tile which had been hovering in the top corner of the title screen in all other versions of the game. The copyright text has also been simplified, removing the mention of Namco Hometek, INC.

Attract Mode Demo

The screen with the ghost names was also changed across the many releases of this game, although not quite as much as the title screen

Japan North America (Tengen) North America/Europe (Namco)
PacManJPNESRev0Demo.png PacManNES-Demo-Tengen.png PacManNES-Demo-Namco.png

The original Japanese release has a ghost names screen that is pretty accurate to the arcade original. For whatever reason, the Tengen version is way more inaccurate, rendering all the ghost names in one yellow colour, and only including the nicknames. The Namcot logo is also, just like in the title screen, replaced with a plain text Tengen one, although it is in white on this screen for some reason.

The later 1993 releases by Namco modify this screen back to being accurate to the original arcade version, while also still using the international names for the ghosts. And of course, the Namco logo is reinstated, dropping the T from the Japanese version in favour of a trademark symbol.

If that wasn't enough, the Japanese release has two revisions of its own.

Rev0 Rev1
PacManJPNESRev0Demo.png PacManJPNESRev1Demo.png

The "CHRACTER" spelling was fixed.

The only other change in the ROM for the second Japanese revision is one byte to move a block of data from RAM $0625 to $0620 for some reason. Not certain what it actually does, but it seems to be sound-related.