BootlegGames Wiki

Also check out the Pac-Man wiki's page on the history of Pac-Man clones and bootlegs.


Pac-Man (パックマン), is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan in May 1980. It was created by Japanese video game designer Toru Iwatani. It was licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway Games and released in October 1980. Immensely popular from its original release to the present day, Pac-Man is considered one of the classics of the medium, and an icon of 1980's popular culture.


PAC-MAN (1980)

Pac-Man gameplay.

Pac-Man is an arcade game first released in Japan in May 1980. Developed by Namco, currently known as Bandai Namco Entertainment, it was the debut title in the Pac-Man series. The game was not intended to be too popular at first, but when released, the game was a huge success and is now the highest-grossing arcade game of all time. This resulted in many sequels and spin-offs of the game, including Ms. Pac-Man. The game has been cloned innumerable times, and re-released on many systems and in many compilations. The player controls Pac-Man, whose design is a yellow circle with a pie wedge shaped mouth, to eat pellets called "Pac-Dots" through a maze. When all dots are eaten, Pac-Man is taken to the next stage. Four ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde roam the maze, trying to catch Pac-Man. If a ghost chomps (touches) Pac-Man, a life is lost. When all lives have been lost, the game ends. However, there are also four larger, flashing dots near the corners of the maze known as Power Pellets, which provide Pac-Man with the temporary ability to eat the ghosts, which will turn blue, reverse direction, and move slower for a short period of time. In addition, bonus items, usually referred to as fruits (though not all items are fruits) occasionally appear near the center of the maze, and they score extra bonus points when eaten. The items change and bonus values increase throughout the game. Owing to its popularity and surface-level simplicity, many unofficial ports and remakes exist for various systems, including Shit (MSX) and the "Pacman" game in Pokémon 4-in-1, and many more bootlegs are forged from hacks of Pac-Man's source code, such as New Puck-X, Abscam and Hangly-Man. There was also a port to Galaxian Hardware, which was later called Ghostmuncher and bundled with Ghostmuncher Uniwars and 4 Fun in 1


Several hacks of Pac-Man were released, usually as "Enhancement Kits" that were applied to official Pac-Man boards as a loophole. Though not always the case. There are some that change little about the original game such as the aforementioned New Puck-X, Scandalman, Popeye-Man and Hangly-Man. These all change the maze from original game and Hangly-Man makes the walls invisible after eating a power pellet (Similar to Pac-Man Plus). Scandalman has two versions. An version known as Pac-Man (Hearts) which changes the pellets to hearts, reuses the maze form Hangly-Man, and the blue ghosts are instead "Naked" Ghosts. The other version features fruits at the bottom, which acts as a fortune teller. Namco took legal action against Hangly-Man and Scandalman. Which reached an unknown settlement. Popeye-Man just reuses the maze from Hangly-Man and turns Pac-Man into Popeye's head.

More advanced hacks were also made such as Piranha, Streaking, Abscam, Titan, Joyman, Caterpillar, Titan, and Cute-See. Piranha is an underwater themed hack by G L that changes Pac-Man into a Piranha, and the ghost into squids. It also opens up the playing field to be less linear, replaces the cutscenes with the word "Good" repeated on 5 lines, It changes the music as well. Abscam is a hack strangely themed around the FBI Abscam Sting Operation. Where you control a US Congress Member who needs to collect money while avoiding the FBI. The hack is very similar to Piranha due to also being by G L. Streaking is a hack where you play as a streaker being chased by cops. Starting naked, you pick up clothes acting as fruits. A fatigue meter is also added which kills you if enough dots aren't eaten. The power pellets also warp around the maze. Titan is a space hack very similar to G L's other hacks. Joyman is a hack that changes the sprites, music, and character screen. It adds a new mechanic. When you die, some parts of the maze open/close. Caterpillar is another hack using the New Puck-X maze but it changes Pac-Man into a worm and the ghost into spiders as well as changing the maze color to red. It also puts holes in the fruits (Possibly a reference to The Very Hungry Caterpillar) Cute-See is another hack of Pac-Man that potentially uses the New Puck-X maze and it seems to have 3 new levels. It might also be a graphic hack due to Cute-See being female.


Similarly to other arcade games, Pac-Man was given tons of clone games. Some more blatant than others. The most popular include Jawbreaker, K.C. Munchkin, Gobbler, Monster Munch, PC-Man, Jelly Monsters, and Taxman. Some of them were actually threated with legal action, mainly by Atari. While some of them were pulled from stores, others like Taxman were modified into official ports. Jelly Monsters, which was a VIC-20 port that was released as an official port in Japan, But not in the US. Which made Atari have Commodore pull the game from store shelves as Atari made a new VIC-20 version which was cited as being worse.

Ms. Pac-Hacks[]

Ms. Pac-Man is a semi-official sequel to Pac-Man that started life as a ROM hack made by GCC. While it doesn't have nearly as many proper bootlegs as the original game, Namco did give them permission to create a port of the game that was ultimately unlicensed by Nintendo. This port has a few reskins, such as Ms. Powerball. Though there were hacks of Ms. Pac-Man such as Ms. Pac-Man Twin which is a hack that adds 2 player co-op to the game. Pac-Gal which only changes the colors. Another more simplistic hack known as Ms. Pac-Attack is based on the (rumored to be official) Ms, Pac-Man Plus. Ms. Pac-Man Championship Edition also known as Zola-Puc Gal is another hack that adds a Speed up function (Similar to the Pac-Booster from official Ms. Pac-Man ports) as well a 1 minute timer which makes you lose a life when it expires. This game is unrelated to and greatly predates Pac-Man Championship Edition.

A strange hack of Ms. Pac-Man on arcades known as Club Lambada is an advanced hack that adds multiple things such as the ability to select your speed, new mazes, music that plays after you eat a power pellet (Which are either songs like Lambada and the Pink Panther theme, Classical music such as Ode to Joy or songs from Ms. Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-man). There's also a high score board and a new mechanic where you can eat a fruit, the ghost cage opens and if you touch the left side of it, you'll get either a point bonus, extra life, or nothing. There's also another mechanic where if you touch Blinky. You'll be sent to above the ghost cage. Some times things like the ghost and bonus items will faze through the walls. Blinky (and later on Clyde) are also given the same speed as you in later levels.


Pac-Mania is the Pac-Man series first jump to 3D, and we mean that literally, as in Pac-Man literally jumps in 3D. Only one "bootleg" is known of Pac-Mania, and much like Ms. Pac-Man, it's in a grey area because it's licensed by Namco but not by Nintendo. Though there was a pirate of the MSX version of Pac-Mania


Many games have been made in Pac-Man's image without directly copying one of the games. These include the Hyper Pacman series (which are closest in style to Pac-Man Arrangement, but with the jump mechanics of Pac-Mania, bosses, generic ghosts, strange enemies, new powerups, and leveling mechanics that don't fit with any official Pac-Man game) and Puckman Pockimon. Which stars both Pac-Man and Pikachu as they go through multiple levels in mazes similar to the ones in the original games. But with new gimmicks such as warping spaces as well as power ups and power downs. Another more obscure one is Funny Strip by Microhard which like Puckman Pockimon is based on Ms. Pac-Man which is renamed to Ms. Fun as well as Pac-Man being named Mr. Fun. The game plays similarly to the older Pac-Man games but has 7 ghosts instead of 4 and new gimmicks. Like separators that move when you touch them (similar to Ladybug). If you collect all the letters to form "Strip Tease" you get to select a person and see a strip tease. Another version exists called Puck People with Strip Tease replaced with Bonus Card.

A low quality Pac-Man clone for PCs known as 3D Maze Man was released around the late 1990s. The game is pretty much Pac-Man in 3D but with Pac-Man Arrangement styled gimmicks. This game was actually involved in a lawsuit with Hasbro Interactive and Atari Interactive against several Windows/Mac publishers for releasing knock offs of various video game properties. Another Pac-Man ripoff series known as Pac-Guy was released in a pack known as the Pac Pack. Pac-Guy is supposed to be a "Parody" of Pac-Man. The games on the disc were known to have significantly worse quality than even other PC Pac-Man ripoffs. It starts Pac-Guy as he goes through mazes while avoiding enemies. Most of the music is stolen from various sources such as Doom and some of the plot points are used from Ultima IV and Star Trek.