Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Puck Man Says: I am so Pucking Awesome.

Went to Mandarake two days ago. Looked in their glass case. Saw the above. Price was reasonable.

So, you know, I was all like:
Puck Man! Woo yeah!

This is one of those little bits of gaming history I have been looking to snag for the longest time. As every retro game collector with a penchant for useless trivia (ie every retro game collector) knows, Puck Man was the original name given to Pac Man.

When they discovered the ease with which the `P` in Puck could be turned into an `F` by 1980s kids with their devilish (dare I say?) senses of humor, they hastily changed the name to Pac Man.

So I don`t think it was ever known as Puck Man in North America, but for a short time that was the name of the game in Japan.

It is very hard to find physical remnants of this little quirk in the history of Pac Man, in fact my new Tomy handheld is the first time I have seen anything with Puck Man on it. By the time the game was released on the Famicom here it had already adopted the new name so I don`t think there are any other home game releases with the Puck Man title.
It was pretty cheap owing to the fact that it did not come with the box (which would have been a nice touch but I`m not complaining). I ran straight from Mandarake to the 100 yen shop to pick up some batteries and was really pleased to find that it works perfectly.

For an early 1980s handheld it is a pretty good game. You have two settings, amateur and pro. I`ve only tried amateur. Basically it is Pac Man only the screen isn`t the same as in the arcade or console versions and you don`t have the same range of movements. The sound effects are awesome though, it plays the Pac Man tune when you turn it on. Music to my ears. Literally.
Controls are pretty simple.

I love everything about this actually. The design is perfect. It actually looks a bit like Pac Man...er I mean Puck Man. It also looks somewhat like a microwaveable container with buttons. But, you know, in a good way.

A very nice addition to my growing handheld collection:)


  1. That is so awesome!! I'm so jealous, nice find! Definitely an awesome addition to your game collection :)

  2. Oh and I nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award! Congratulations on having such an awesome site! Check this out

  3. Thanks Alana, I`m quite pleased with it!

    And thanks for nominating me!! I will try to put a list of 15 blogs together too and your awesome blog will definitely be on it!

  4. YEA! You're back!

    Also, interesting article. You'd think they'd have caught the whole "Puck sounds like a certain OTHER word" thing before releasing the game, but they sure did a good job of changing things, if things with the original name are so hard to come by.

    Anyway, interesting piece of history there, and it looks pretty fun to boot!

  5. First, welcome back, Sean!

    Second, what a great find. I looooooove how the system looks like Puc-Man, er, Pac-Man himself. Also, I love that early rendition of Pac-Man -- you know, the one with the Pac-Mans for eyes and the long nose.

    The actual game looks a bit awkward, but who really cares when everything else about it is so cool? :)

  6. That is sweet! If only it had a joystick instead of directional buttons. But, regardless, it is awesome! I'd like to get at least one of the old Coleco arcade games(preferably Pac-Man), but I have yet to see one in the wild, or at a price I am comfortable with.

  7. Skyrunner - thanks! It is even more unusual given that the Japanese sound they were trying to mimic would usually be romanized as paku rather than puck. Very unfortunate choice of substitute there!

    Bryan - Thanks, its nice to be back! I like that too, I would have bought this thing just for that great design. Early Pac Man with the long nose, etc is definitely the best:)

    Jason - yes, I agree that a joystick would have made it look even cooler, though those things do break more than the directional key pads do. I have wanted one of those Coleco tabeltop arcade games for a long time too, they do go for a high price on Ebay I`ve noticed.

  8. I was looking up old japanese handhelds yesterday, and I have to say, this Pac Man one has to be the coolest.

    I managed to find a nice little Dig Dug game here. And it seems Namco also released their own handhelds later on.

  9. If you painted that white it would look exactly like a miniature prop from 2001: A Space Odyssey!

  10. Someone show Scott Pilgrim!