Sunday, September 16, 2012

Life goal achieved: I bought a Ms. Pac Man arcade game (play it at Evil Genius Comics!)

Goals are important for people to have in life.  Goals drive us to achieve great things and give us the focus to stay on task.  Some people have goals to do purposeful, meaningful things in life, searching for cures to diseases and helping mankind reach new heights.  Others buy arcade games and put them in comic book shops.  In response to this grand gesture to humanity, I can only say this: you're welcome.

Despite the unfortunate music and horrendous fashion, many great things were made in the 1980s.  Me, for instance.  Also, Ms. Pac Man.  Ms. Pac Man is one of the all time great arcade games, improving on the original Pac Man, a hall of fame game of its own.  While there are other arcade games that I'm fond of, it's always been a dream of mine to own an original Ms. Pac Man machine.  To that end, I would sometimes wistfully search eBay for the upright arcade game, skimming the results for machines that were reasonably priced and were in good shape.  Being thrifty is always a challenge, and I found out that Ms. Pac Man, despite being around 30 years old, is still a game that is in demand even though games have evolved and arcades are, with a few exceptions, a thing of the past.

A few months ago, I turned to Cragislist on a whim, and much to my eternal glee, I received an e-mail from nearby Washington, PA.  A video game enthusiast named Ted had a Ms. Pac Man game on sale, and as soon as I drove over to check it out, I knew that it was the one for me.  Ted fixed the cabinet up and gave me a great deal.  A few days later, Larry and I drove over to pick it up.

The cabinet is from the original run of 10,000 and is in just beautiful shape.  For a hunk of wood that's 30 years old, I couldn't ask for a better looking display.

The challenge with getting a Ms. Pac Man machine, after the cost and condition, was finding some place to put it.  Not that I wouldn't have been happy to set it up in the living room, but while I might have enjoyed that, I realize that not everyone wants a giant pink and blue arcade game flashing all hours of the day in the corner of the room.

That's why I'm lucky enough that the guys at Evil Genius Comics & Cards were up for letting me keep the game at their store in California, PA.  Right after I bought it, Larry and I drove it to the store, wheeled it in, set it up and went right into playing it.

AND IT IS AWESOME!  It really is.  I could play Ms. Pac Man for hours on end, but here's an extra bit of information that I omitted until now: the board inside has been modified with 59 additional games.  So if I want to play something besides Ms. Pac Man, I can choose from nearly every single one-player game that I care about.

This machine has Ms. Pac Man.  It has Pac Man.  And Jr. Pac Man.  And Super Pac Man.  And Pac Man Plus.  And Dig Dug (1 and 2).  And Donkey Kong (and Donkey Kong Jr., and DK3!).  And Space Invaders.  And Centipede.  And Millipede.  And Galaga.  And Frogger.  And Gun Smoke.  And dozens of other games!  Not all of them are great, but I've been surprised at how many games I enjoy, both familiar and those that I had never heard of before.

In short, this was a great find, and as trivial as owning an arcade game might be, it really is something I had wanted to do for a long time.  And since it's housed at a comic shop, other people can play it too, and whenever I stop in to get comics, I can lose an hour trying to beat my high score.

If you're in the area around California and you love classic arcade games, stop in at Evil Genius Comics and check out my Ms. Pac Man arcade game.  It's right across the street from California University of Pennsylvania.  I'm thinking of setting up a tournament one of these days.  That way, I could see if anyone can beat my high score on Ms. Pac Man.  Here's a warning: I've got lots of practice.

Thanks to Larry for modeling all of these shots.  I don't think he minded, as he got a key to the machine and can play Jr. Pac Man all he wants.  Now if only I could find someone with a reasonably priced Rampage game...


Jeff Lafferty said...


Larry Franks said...

My butt looks great in those pictures.

Jeff said...

Let's not go overboard, now.

Justin De Lucia said...

You'd have to install at least two buttons to the machine in order to play anything other than all the Pac-Man games (sans Super Pac), Frogger, Crush Roller, Ladybug, and New Rally X.

Jeff said...

Luckily, this machine has a two-button setup. I think that a lot of Pac Man (or at least Ms. Pac Man) cabinets are configured with two buttons as they featured the "two player" option, which just amounts to two people taking turns.

Still, even two buttons have their limits, and there are games that you can't play on this, such as Rampage and the like.

Gotthard said...

While there are other arcade games that I'm fond of, it's always been a dream of mine to own an original Ms. Pac Man machine. To that end, I ...