Pacman

All About The Most Successful Coin-Operated Arcade Game

Split Screen Pacman

Playing Split-Screen Pacman

Pacman was created to allow the player to keep the game going as long as the player has at least one life left. This is what gives the game so much appeal. I don’t know about you but there’s something so satisfying about knowing you can never beat a game. It gives it an endless life as well as an endless appeal.

If you are anything like me then I’m sure you are a huge fan of games such as this one. I often times compare it to the Sims (which is another one of my favorite games to play) because technically the game can go on forever as long as you don’t make any silly mistakes along the way. Pacman was created to be endless but it actually didn’t turn out this way. There is actually a bug in the game that does not allow you to survive indefinitely in the game.

The game is supposed to allow no more than seven fruit to be displayed at the bottom of the screen at any given time. However, when the internal level counter reaches 255, the subroutine that draws the fruit sees this number; and then changes the number back down to zero. This causes it to try and draw out 256 fruit at one time; which confuses the game because there can only be seven fruit at the bottom of the screen at a single moment. This causes the bottom of the screen as well as the right side of the screen to be covered with random symbols, which makes it impossible to continue the game because you cannot see where you are moving and what your Pacman is doing. This level is typically called the “Split-Screen Level” or “kill screen”.

Game experts have stated that if there were a way to fix this, instead of this happening, all fruit and intermissions would go back to level 1 and the enemies would keep their higher speeds and invulnerability to the power pellets that are used in the higher levels of the game. As I’m sure you can imagine; this would lead to many problems because the ghosts would then have a very unfair advantage. I have never personally gotten this far into the game because I’m always dying but I continue to try anyway.

This is another thing about this game that keeps it so interesting, just knowing you can get farther, even though the game doesn’t change all that much is enough to keep people on their toe and wanting them to come back for more. I am a victim to that, and it’s one of those tricks that game creators use. They know us gamers need a challenge and no matter how small the reward, we are drawn to get farther than we have in the past to see things we haven’t seen before. I don’t know about you, but these little tricks have always worked on me and obviously work on many others out there or games wouldn’t be such a huge part of society today; let alone simple games such as Pacman that don’t really reward the players much.

Not too many people have made it to the Split-Screen or “kill screen” but many of those who have are currently in the record books for getting the highest scores or reaching this area of the game at the quickest times. Some names you may want to look up are Billy Mitchell (who got the max score of 3,333,360 points in about six hours) and David Race (got the max score in less than four hours).