Pac-Man 4K



TV Type:  NTSC        PAL50        PAL60      

The DEFINITIVE home version of the arcade classic!

Gobble your way through the maze of Pac-Land, chomping on dots and avoiding the four hungry monsters, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde. But if you can manage to eat an energizer, turn the tables on those monsters by feasting on them for bonus points!

Dennis Debro sought to create an adaptation of Pac-Man more faithful than Atari's 1982 version for the VCS. Utilizing the same 4K memory limit as the original, Dennis' game is a feat of programming that finally brings Pac-Man to the Atari 2600 as it was intended.

Improvements over Atari's Pac-Man

  • Original, arcade maze layout
  • Proper "siren" sound that changes pitch
  • Monsters are proper colors
  • Maze is correct colors
  • Pac-Man and Ghost graphics much truer to arcade
  • Monster behavior modeled after arcade
  • Bonus items true to arcade
  • Feels like Pac-Man!

Additional Information

Includes cartridge and full-color, four-page manual. Available in NTSC, PAL50, and PAL60 television formats, please select above.

Number of Players 1
Controller Joystick
Cartridge Size 4K (hence the name!)
Programming Dennis Debro
Game Graphics Stefan Haddewig
Label, Manual Design Tim Lapetino

K.Michael on 04/09/2019 10:37pm
Great quality, feels like Pac-man!
Nathan Moore on 02/15/2018 03:25pm
i just got this in the mail today and was blown away by the quality of it.

i will say that it feels a little more difficult to me than what i am used to, but it could also be that i'm simply terrible at Pac-Man, lol.

the colors/sounds are drastically improved and much more fun imo to play. my only real gripe is that the power pellets are the same size as the regular ones, just 'blinky', but that's a minor niggle at best.

If you want a 'good' version for your 2600 to complement the original release i highly recommend.

Roger Wolf on 11/24/2016 04:28pm
best Pac Man version on the Atari 2600 out there which could hipotheticly be only surpassed by the never released "8k" Version.
Peter on 12/11/2015 08:08pm
Great port of Pac-Man. I just got it in the mail today it is an amazing game even better than Ms. Pac-Man. The only problem is some small minor glitching probably caused when the Eprom was programmed, but not enough to really bother me. I say it was still well worth the money. :)
Brook A. Anderson on 03/14/2015 03:11pm
Dennis Debro absolutely nailed it! Every little detail seems right in this game...

Ghosts go to their proper corners.
Pac-Man slows down while eating dots.
Ghosts slow down in tunnel.
Ghosts reverse direction when energizer is eaten.
Ghosts always travel west when coming out of the pen.
"Safe zones" are in tact. (Areas where ghosts can't travel south to north unless they are blue.)
Prize appears after eating so many dots. (Not timed.)
Accurate maze , ghost colors, prizes. (Atari Age logo instead of Galaxian...nice touch!)
Ghosts seem to even reverse direction at times to try and get to home corners briefly.

Every detail I can think of, Dennis got right! I can't praise him enough for such attention to detail.

Only bug I found in the game happened to me only twice... When eating the last dot in the maze, Pac-Man continued to glide across the screen until he hit a wall... Then the next level started like normal, so really no problem at all.

The game speeds up quite quickly (which I like actually...keeps you on your toes!) I've only made it to the second grapes so far... very challenging!

Rid yourself of that awful original Pac-Man abomination on the 2600 and buy Pac-Man 4K instead. You will be in awe when you see how well Pac-Man can be done on the 2600!
Alfred Williams on 07/16/2014 12:42am
Sometime in 2012, I posted a review of Pacman Arcade, the game that hacked the far superior Ms Pacman into Pacman. In my review, I predicted that a better port just wasn't likely to come along. Oh, how wrong I was. Forgive me my tardiness in reviewing the original as I bought it along with Chetiry when they came out in 2012 but never got around to revivewing the Pacman side until now.

Pacman 4k, is simply put, the best version of Pacman ever ported to the Atari 2600. It may not look exactly like the original, and may have a squashed aspect ratio, but by golly it has the same blue walls and white pellets, same overall shapes (all of the little "T" pieces from the original are there) and this time authentic sound effects. Lastly, the brilliant homebrew authors that have worked on this game have managed to cram this wonderful piece of arcade nostalgia into the same 4K-bytes of ROM that the craptastic original port did. Play the original side by side with the homebrew. There is no comparison.

Overall this game holds up quite nicely to the arcade version. It's certainly faster and more frantic than the NES port for sure. Due to the extreme aspect ratios of the pellets, there are physics differences, most notably Pacman consumes pellets faster in the vertical direction than horizontal. Whether it can be used as strategy for evading ghosts, I'm not entirely sure, but it certainly feels right. Even the dreaded "Cruise Elroy" mode is back where you've eliminated most of the pellets and Blinky switches into hot pursuit mode. Best to gain ground using the tunnels because you cannot outrun him when he's like this. There are also special areas where the ghosts cannot follow you like above the ghost chamber, just like in the original maze. Use these areas to your advantage to escape the wrath of Blinky Pacman and ghosts are all correct colors and flicker at 20 hertz. This isn't as bad as it sounds because unlike the original 2600 port, everything is the correct color and the ghosts, Pacman, and fruit (real fruit sprites, from cherry all the way to the blue key; no lamo square "vitamans") are all over a black background. The entire maze is solid and flicker free so no worries of eye fatigue.

There are a couple of minor glitches I've discovered, most notably on occasion if you collide with both the ghost (blue or not) and the fruit at the same time, the collision detection will fail and the fruit, ghost, or Pacman may escape unscathed. Honestly though, the original arcade had a similar issue where collision detection between Pacman and ghost would occasionally fail, and besides it's not frequent or game breaking when it occurs. One caveat of the 4k ROM is that no intermissions were added. There was originally some effort to add intermissions and even expand it to 8k with a proper title screen, but little work has been done in this regard. Anyone holding off on this game expecting an update will be missing out on one of the best Pacman experiences currently available on the VCS.

Overall, 5/5 joysticks. Huge improvement over Pacman Arcade... :)
BenjaminR on 03/19/2014 09:23pm
You need to buy this game if for no other reason than to bring closure and a much deserved death to the abomination that was 1981 Pac-Man on the Atari 2600. This game is redemption for the original in most every way imaginable! Reading through other reviews here on AtariAge, I can see that I wasn't the only kid to be let down by the absolute rubbish that tried to pass itself off as Pac-Man in the original version (I'm having to try hard not to use profanity to describe it because it honestly was that disappointing at the time). This game is the happy ending for every kid in the early 80's that got completely screwed by buying the original. Pac-Man 4K improves on every aspect of the original, especially the controls. In this version of Pac-Man; the control is absolutely PERFECT! It's difficult to put into words how well this version of Pac-Man plays, but the moment you take control, you will grin from ear to ear. The difficulty ramps up quickly, so you better come ready to play. I love this game and I can now finally bury the original in the back yard (or just toss it in an outhouse where it belongs).
Jose A. Monzon on 03/01/2014 11:42am
Wow! This game is amazing! Kudos to Debro for doing so much within the 4K limitations of the original Atari 2600 Pac-Man to create a version that is surprisingly faithful to the arcade version. The game plays, looks and sounds amazing and it reminds me a lot of the Atari 5200 version which is very impressive not just because it's done within 4K but also because it's possible on the 2600 which is much more limited than the 5200. This game is also plain fun, it's tough as nails but once you get into it you can really rack up some points, or keep trying since it's so irresistible. Pac-Man is finally done right on the Atari 2600!
Mike Kvidera on 10/26/2013 09:18am
I grew up playing the original Atari version of Pac Man. I took the game for what it was worth and played it very sparingly (I also owned an Atari 5200, and played that Pac Man more frequently). A few years ago, I dug out my Atari 2600 for my kids and I to enjoy, even went online and bought a bunch more games and doubled my collection. While watching some game reviews on YouTube, I came across the video showing this game... I immediately fell in love and had to have it! That brought me to this site and I ordered it and awaited eagerly for it to arrive in the mail. When it came, I was like a kid on Christmas morning, all giddy and excited, and I quickly went about to play it. Its a blast and well worth it! The replay value of this game is out of this world! And like what's been said a million times already, this is how the game SHOULD'VE been released in 82! Thank you Mr. Debro for making me enjoy Pac Man again... since my 5200 currently isn't working.
P.S. I put my original Pac Man game out of misery... took it outside and shot the cartridge with a BB gun.
SPIKE the Percussionist on 07/31/2013 10:00pm
This is so fun to play on the Atari.
THIS is what we should have had way back when...

Can't stop playing it!
David Bongo on 06/11/2013 08:24pm
I'm not a huge Pac-Man fan. But I had to get this and ARCADE PAC-MAN just to see.

This redeems the game for me. It's more fun. And read the story in the manual - it's worth it to read what the programmer had to do to get this to work.

And for Mark's question above - I'm not sure which is "closer" to the arcade port, but I prefer this.
Daniel Vaughn on 04/04/2013 09:47am
My best friend called - "it's here, you want to go?" I ran to his house like a shot and we loaded into the car - off to Kmart to pick up the copy of Pac-Man they reserved for $60.00. Yes, I said $60.00 - in 1982!! Words cannot describe the utter dissappointment of the original 1982 atari release. The memory still haunts me.
Pac-Man 4K only cost me $30.00, and it looks, sounds and plays like the Pac-Man that I dreampt of(every second of every day), when Atari announced the games development and pending release in 1982.
The entire Family, including my visiting mother and a neighbor kid ended up gathered around the T.V. begging to play next, whilst screaming their heads off during the action! It was reminiscent of a corny, early 80's Atari T.V. commercial. This was not planned - it just happened.

I do offer one recommendation for the programmer, if this game is ever upgraded. Build the speed of the game a little more slowly. The pace starts out at what I consider a moderate speed. On the second board the speed cranks up to "full tilt boogie"! I like a challenging game, but the rate of speed change is almost a turn-off. This is a minor observation although. I, without hesitation, rate this game a 5 out of 5, and recommend it highly!
Thank you for Dennis Debro for the joy and closure you have given me!!!!

Mark on 10/28/2012 09:31am
I had a question to those of you who have this game and is familiar with the Pac Man Arcade version. Which one is better and closer to the Arcade? Thanks for any information given.
James Letera on 10/25/2012 12:33pm
Where was this in 1982? This game exceeds all expectations for an Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man. Everyone who spent countless hours playing Atari's original Pac-Man while gnashing their teeth owes it to themselves to buy this excellent game ASAP! Take a bow, Mr. Debro.
Ken Netzel on 10/24/2012 11:33am
I have just spent the last half hour playing my new copy of Pac-Man 4K and wow what a thrill. I was a huge fan of the arcade version back in the day, and when Atari's Pac-Man came out, the first thing to come to my mind was "WTF?" Judging by the commercial and the hoopla, I expected what the 4K just gave me, and got what they produced. It almost seems like they either tried to rush it out, or the programmer was lazy because this was made using the same tools available to them back then. The graphics are fantastic and is the audio. I give credit to the programmer for getting as close to the original sounds as able with the limited library of sounds available to the 2600. The Pac-Man himself LOOKS like Pac-Man in both looks and movement, right down to the melt when hit by a ghost. ANd the sound is perfect for that event. Nice to hear the familiar intro play upon start up as well. Kudos to the programmers and thanks for finally giving us a Pac-Man we can be proud to own. You deserve a medal for most improved game.
Carmine on 10/23/2012 12:24am
It is amazing what u made with only 4K. The graphic is good. The sounds too. Only the beginning jingle and when pacman dies need some changment for to be same of the original. U are been clever to use the limitated 2600 sprites feature. If only a so high level of porting was made in 1981!

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