LGR – PC-Man – PC Booter Game Review

LGR – PC-Man – PC Booter Game Review

[typing] If there is one game genre that
ellicits such an apathetic shrug that all you can manage is
to move your lips a little bit, it’s the maze game. Also known as Pac-Man clones, these games were anything but interesting, except to those whose PC usage was
otherwise restricted to Lotus 1-2-3. Sure, a quick game of Queen of Hearts in 1982 may have been more engaging
than typing into a spreadsheet, but it was all text based, and nothing compared to what you
could get on competing home computers. Enter PC-Man, developed and distributed by
Orion Software in 1982 for IBM PCs. This is a one-man effort by Greg Kuperberg, the same dude responsible
for Orion’s other games Paratrooper, Pits & Stones, and Jaybird. Each of these was inspired by,
or cloned, some existing game, but used CGA graphics instead of just ASCII text, and featured gameplay that payed
homage to their source material with an effort that deserved praise. In the case of PC-Man, it was an unlicensed clone of
Namco’s 1980 arcade game Pac-Man, as you might be able to guess from this artwork. Other than omitting the “A” in the title and calling the ghosts “micro-monsters” with the name Eenny, Meeny, Miney and Moe, this is friggin’ Pac-Man and
it doesn’t care who knows it. And it’s actually one of the
single oldest IBM PC games I own, which was available for purchase
directly from Orion via mail order, as well as being sold in retail
stores such as Computer Land. It didn’t come in a box, but instead came in a sleeve with a single-page instruction sheet inside. And, yes, this costs $35 in 1982, which accounting for inflation
today is approximately 87 bucks. Sandwiched inside, you got
the game on a floppy disk, and all you had to do was insert it into
your disk drive and turn the computer on, since it’s a PC booter game and doesn’t
require an operating system like DOS. Once it boots, you’re promptly greeted with a logo and a PC speaker rendition
of “Entry of the Gladiators.” [PC speaker music] Mr. Kuperberg lets you know what’s
up with his name front and center, and you’re given the option to play
with either the joystick or the keyboard. Choose the one you prefer to fondle and the game begins right away
with PC-Man already moving. And with that surprisingly abrupt start, you’ll note that although it’s hard
to mistake it for anything else, this isn’t quite the same Pac-Man
you may be familiar with. For one thing, you start moving right away with no “Player One Ready” message, or intro music preparing you for the coming maze. Also, the maze itself has been rotated clockwise because the orientation of the IBM PC screen was landscape instead of the
portrait that the arcade game used. This also sets the game apart
from being a direct clone, which may or may not have
resulted in Orion avoiding a lawsuit. After all, Atarisoft didn’t get around to releasing
an official version of Pac-Man for the IBM PC until the following year. And honestly, that version really
isn’t as good, in my opinion, not only due to PC-Man using
less-obnoxious sound effects, but the maze is all squished here,
and plays differently anyway, Now back to PC-Man, the rest of
the game is more or less the same. You play a cheese pizza with a slice missing that wanders around dark corridors ingesting copious amounts of medication, while outmaneuvering four spectral souls of the dead. Every so often, you’re given the
chance to gobble down a power pellet that grants the ability to
munch the micro-munchers, making them cower away like pansies and banishing them to the
center box where they belong. And if you feel like taking a risk for extra points, items such as candy canes,
watermelon slices and bananas will pop up and tempt you with a
siren song of gluttony and greed. Now in the arcade original, you also got cut scenes
in between certain levels that provided a bit of
whimsy to the experience, but not so in PC-Man. Not so in Atarisoft’s version either, for that matter, which isn’t too surprising, considering the original PC’s CPU,
graphics and storage limitations, and just the fact that having a decent
Pac-Man imitation on the freakin’ thing was good enough for most people anyway. But bonus animations or not, PC-Man is an impressively competent
Pac-Man game for 1982 on the PC. As far as I know, it was the first one to include actual color graphics
instead of text characters, as well as including things
like music and sound effects, on top of very competent controls and AI that keeps you on your
toes but is also forgiving enough to not make you hate everything about computers. Of course, finding the original
copy is insanely difficult, so don’t hold your breath in that regard, but it’s readily available as a tiny
download all over the Internet nowadays. And thankfully, it’s one of those games
that’s not tied to CPU speed to play correctly, so you can enjoy it on DOSBox
with no special configuration required and on pretty much any
PC that runs DOS period. Yes, PC-Man. It’s for PCs, man, and it’s awesome. ♪♪ And if you though this review was awesome, then you might enjoy some of my others. I have covered Orion Software’s Paratrooper, as well as a ton of other PC
classics and not so classics. And I make more videos every single week, so subscribing is a thing
that would prove beneficial, if it proves beneficial to you. It also strokes my numbers complex. And if you like to be social, we can do social. You can follow and interact on Twitter and Facebook, as well as Patreon if you would like
to see my videos earlier than YouTube, and support more content like this in general. And as always, thank you for watching.

100 thoughts on “LGR – PC-Man – PC Booter Game Review”

  1. wow, a full booteable game… so it came with everything, no APIs or anything like that used, ALL from scratch… I'm amazed

  2. this video is like a time machine transporting me back to the early 80's..thx
    its amazing games could be written for a base machine with 64K ram and a less than hi-fi speaker ..lol
    one early favorite also was the Star trek, a  public domain game written in Basic initially developed for an HP mini-computer. Text character game..you moved the Enterprise ( an "E" on the screen) around different sectors and had to eliminate the dreaded klingon ships.

    If you ever encounter a book Basic Computer Games – Microcomputer edition,  grab it !
    Written  by David H Ahl , an employee of Digital Equipment Corp ( a now defunct mini-computer corp)  first published around 1972, it includes Basic code listings for 100  games including Star trek.

  3. never played this one 😛 and retro games are making a come back
    in this day and age if i am going to watch pc games this is the place
    to be 🙂

    Any chance of a time shock pinball dos game yeah i know i keep
    asking with the pc i have now i dos box comes in handy yet it
    will play time shock

    keep up the good work LG

  4. Loving the nostalgia!   LGR, I think it's about time for you to do a review for "Scorched Earth" PC,and Amiga "Scorched Tanks." 🙂

  5. … Wait, is the version freely available a DOS port? Since you talk about needing DOSbox and at the beginning you mentioned that game boots the PC and as such requires no OS.

  6. At least two versions of this game exist.  The second version included a high score table, but the Esc key was disabled, so you had to Ctrl+Alt+Del just to get out of the program.  I can see why the distributors were divided over which version was better.

  7. I wonder if there will be a game review on horrorgaming that will be awesome i like horror games that much i have resident evil collection,sims collection, wrestlemania collection,call of duty collection thats bout it. 😀 and a bunch of other stuff to many to mention.

  8. I like the antec casing though that he found on few weeks review it's definitely a good case i saw the reviews except theres a black one.

  9. I had a PC Man with weird levels with one being a hedge maze with giant spiders instead of ghosts, and the third level being an ocean with sharks.
    I never linked it to Pac Man. I was a dumb kid. 

    EDIT: Apparently I was wrong, it was CD-Man. 

    Memory has failed me. 
    Dumb kid.

  10. I think there was a hacked version of this that was a virus on DOS. Same game but instead of saying "Ready!" it says "Fuck!".

  11. As far as I know there was a virus called "Espacio" or something like that that made you play PC-Man when being activated.

  12. This was probably also reverse engineered and packaged as virus in 93; Virus.DOS.espacio – the sounds are same, and play field is also flipped in exact way. Only difference is the title screen saying "PAC MAN" and something in foreign language.

  13. This is just a random question, but I have an extra Packard Bell 406 CD with digital control monitor set I was looking to get rid of.  Would you like to buy it from me?

  14. Well, I guess the game was expensive but maybe if you played a lot of Pac-Man this saved you the money you'd have put in the cabinet!

  15. Restricted? My Dad has Windows 8 but still uses Lotus 1-2-3. No matter how hard I try to make him use a program made after mouse scrolling.

  16. It's sad this software was pirated and turned into a Virus. I realized it when the software was the same as in the video by Danooct1 "Virus.DOS.Espacio".

  17. 0:45 I found it amazing that Greg Kuperberg programmed these pc games at only 15 years old. I mailed him asking about this and he actually replied. He said he had some experience with BASIC and Pascal, but could only use assembler language for these games, because compilers for IBM pc weren't available yet. That is hardcore, this guy was a true boy genius. Both his parents were math professors and they were very encouraging, so that kind of explains it I guess.

  18. Ive known this game for all my life ofc like everybody else but only recently came to my attention that the ghosts in the original arcade game of Pac-Man had very different set of "chase rules" to each other. fascinating, isn't it?

  19. "You play a cheese pizza with a slice missing that wanders around dark corridors while ingesting copious amounts of medication, while outmaneuvering four spectral souls of the dead" the best description of pac man i've ever heard

  20. Thumbs up all the way if for no more than your description of PC-MAN being "A cheese pizza with a slice missing that roams around dark corridors, ingesting copious amounts of medication while outmaneuvering four spectral souls of the dead." Wonderfully done, sir. Hats off to your alliteration skills!

  21. fascinating things these pc booter games!
    could you imagine something like this in a modern context ? haha
    you insert this memory stick on your pc before booting it up and when you turn on the power, voilà!
    you are already at the main menu of the game!
    maybe with small indie games it might be possible… who knows…

  22. Wasn't there a DOS virus with this game (albeit the title screen altered to say "Pac-Man") popping up every five seconds?

  23. I'm pretty sure I posted a comment on this video a while ago, but anyway.
    PC-Man, alongside Alley Cat, were the very first games I've ever played, long before I got a GameBoy Color, long before I played games at friends' houses. You should make a review of Alley Cat anytime soon, Clint. I still have memories of entering in panic the moment a bulldog enters the screen and tears the cat apart. Oh, the nostalgia.

  24. Lgr did you know pc man inspired the espacio dos virus?
    It used the Spanish version of this game and instead of saying "Ready!" For a frame or two, it says "Fuck!" For a frame or two.
    Search for the espacio dos virus on danooct1's channel.

  25. Have you ever just on a whim sent off for a old game or registration index card's from your vintage game collection.

  26. I had several boot loader games at the time, like Wizardry. Something the younger generation never had to deal with.

  27. 1:37 I actually have a copy that is boxed (as well as Pits & Stones). It's a clear plastic clamshell type case. The Orion Software logo at the bottom of the front cover (between the "micro-monsters") is different as well.

  28. I had a different version of PC Man. It wasn't self booting and the map was turned the right way. But otherwise it was this same version.

  29. Kinda weird that you can win an IBM PC if you send in a game. The thing is, wouldn't you need a PC to program the game in the first place?

  30. Hey, is there any chance you could do a video on PC booter software? Like, how it works, why it was used, and why it stopped being used?

  31. Omigosh! I just noticed at the 1:32 mark that Orion Software, the company that made this Pac-Man clone, was based in Auburn, Alabama! I'm from Gadsden and Pell City, Alabama! Roll Tide Roll, and in the case of Orion Software, War Eagle!

  32. so PC-MAN was the game that lated was converted into the Espacio DOS virus. amazing to find the original game here!

  33. Goodness sake! I thought I was the only one that remembered The Queen of Hearts Maze Game. I mean, I'm aware that's not how it works, but still…

  34. a version of this was actually used in a DOS virus called espacio

    it masquerades as a normal version of pac-man, except every time you close it, it opens itself again some time later
    the intervals between the game reopening itself also get shorter and shorter every time you play, eventually reducing you to spamming ctrl+alt+delete until you get a stack overflow

  35. If it doesn't need an operating system then why do you need DosBox? Shouldn't you be able to run it in any computer with a floppy drive?

  36. For anyone interested in the outro music – the link in the description apparently is no more.
    You can find the album and track here: https://n00bstar.bandcamp.com/album/big-whoop

  37. Ever heard of Chipmunk Software? That was my dad and his brother. They did exactly this in the 80's. They would recreate popular arcade games on IBM PC from scratch. They created a version of Q-Bert called Q-Bee among others 🙂

  38. Since Youtube sucks and got rid of end title cards, what is that first-person dungeon crawler on the right at the end? Looks interesting.

  39. $83!!!! Think of that before you complain about the next disappointing AAA game from a big publisher*

    *PC-MAN, still better than Fallout 76

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