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Ms. Pac-Man

Behind every great Pac-Man...

It seems that Pac-People have suffered greatly from personality conflicts; never quite sure who they really are or where they came from. No matter, so long as they know what they're doing, and in that respect, the first official sequel (which was also the best unofficial bootleg) to the biggest selling arcade game of all time was a dot eatin' sensation and gave birth to the original videogame family.

Toru Iwatani (Pac-Man's creator) had nothing to do with the sequel. Instead, it was born as an enhancement kit to the original coin-op circuitry built by a group of likely lads from MIT and dubbed Crazy Otto. This wasn't the first time these enterprising fellows had been caught tinkering in the back of an arcade cab, as its development was made possible by profits from a previous enhancement kit for Atari's Missile Command.

By blagging Midway into believing Atari's lawsuit had fallen in their favour, Midway decided to commission Crazy Otto as a direct sequel; changing its name to Mrs. Pac-Man. Then Miss Pac-Man, and finally (after much deliberation about the moral implications of an unwed virtual family unit) Ms. Pac-Man. Eventually, both GCC (the company formed by the MIT boys) and Midway panicked over a potential lawsuit from Namco, and signed over Ms. Pac-Man's rights to the Japanese developer. The insult ran deep, however, and it's only in recent years Namco have even acknowledged the game's existence.

Featuring a set of six different mazes, moving fruit, lipstick and a bow, Pac-Man's civil partner gathered billions of dots across worldwide arcades to outsell her lover's machine by over 15,000 units. Despite her abundant availability, the splendid history and sheer desirability of Ms. Pac-Man makes her original coin-op a corner stone of arcade collecting, while being a damn good game to boot.

9 / 10

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