Pacman Hand Helds – The Tomy Pacman Machine
I think my first retro gaming memory is spending hours playing on one of these bright yellow Tomy Pacman handhelds. I can’t quite remember which special occasion (it might have been Christmas, maybe a birthday) I received it, but from about the ages of 4 to 6 I was hooked. I did also have an Intellivision at the time which also got a fair workout. The Pacman machine was released in Australia in 1981, but I think my parents must have got it on sale a few years later.
The most interesting thing about the game, and how it differed from the traditional Pacman was that Pacman could only eat dots going side to side. This did make the game a bit strategically different, as also did the limited amount of “spaces” that Pacman and the ghosts could occupy.
The game is set in a bright yellow round plastic case which looked just like Pacman and had 4 white buttons instead of the joystick that was your typical Pacman interface back in the day. It also had and ametuer and PRO setting. The pro was way past my skill level back then
Sadly once I got a bit older, this machine languished at the back of a cupboard during the 90′s at my parents house, and is now nowhere to be found.
These machines were released under 3 different names depending on where in the world it was released and are identical except for different label stickers and instruction sheets.
Here is the original commercial for the game, I don’t remember this playing on Australian TV, but then again I would have been just 3 when it was released.
I have seen the units sell for around $100 down to $30, depending on if it’s your lucky Ebay day.
Here are a few of my favourite Pac Cultural moments. The first is the rockin tune that is “Pacman Fever” (and just like the song says, it might drive you crazy). The second is an excerpt from my and my kids favourite Christmas show “Christmas comes to Pac-Land)