In 1981, Tomy released a version of the classic maze game called "TomyTronic Pac Man." This version was distinctive for several reasons: First of all, it had a striking, bright yellow circular casing that screamed Pac Man. The game screen itself was rather small compared to the size of the unit, but it was fairly bright and colorful. Lastly--and oddly--Pac Man could only actually EAT the dots (or "bait" as the manual called them) when he was moving from right to left in the maze. However, once you got past this little problem, it became second nature, and the game became as addictive as any version ever made.
I personally remember this game because one of my cousins had it, and every time I visited my aunt's house, I was invariably glued to this little device for at least an hour or so out of every visit. True, I had my own share of handheld electronic games at home, but, as the saying goes--the 'grass is always greener,' and 'absence makes the heart grow fonder.' Honestly, we all fell into that way of thinking when we were kids playing with other people's toys--NUMEROUS TIMES--even if you ended up eventually getting the toy they had. Strange how that works, right?
As the decade went on, games got a little smaller and more refined. In addition, 'second-tier' games like these usually fell by the wayside in favor of other, bigger-name versions. But, as Pac Man games go, Tomy had a little gem on their hands with this one, and I have a feeling I'm not the only one who has fond memories of it.
- The original, Japanese version of this game was called "Puck-Man." You can find a great Japanese commercial for it on YouTube.