PAC-MAN Board Game: Why?


Over the years there have been many great occurrences where a video game translates well into a board game. None come to mind at this exact point in time but I know it’s happened, I’ve experienced the surprise.

Sadly, more times than not this is not the case. It quickly becomes evident in 90% of these attempts that someone was just looking to make a few more bucks on a successful brand or name. Perhaps the ideas themselves aren’t bad, but the rush to complete the game for the sake of ‘striking while the iron is hot’ is very telling especially in the quality of the game. Give me a few and I’ll come up with a couple examples.

In the meantime allow me to point out the latest and possibly great disappointment so far when it comes to games that should have stayed VIDEO games. PAC-MAN the Board Game. Yikes. I only have one question, why?

Look I get it. This particular translation is somewhat of a novelty. It doesn’t appear to be easy to find and I imagine PAC-MAN enthusiasts love having this in their collection. I just get frustrated by the incessant need to monetize off of things that were successful.

To look across various board game review sites however, you’ll see a trend. The game is rated very poorly- in some cases it’s as low as 1/5 stars. Ouch. Perhaps that’s because the game is too plain and simple to make it an interesting multi-player experience. Anybody who loves the video game will feel less than satisfied with this because they will miss everything they loved about it in the first place.

The concepts are the same and the general point of gameplay is the same but the manual aspect is off-putting.

All of my commentary aside, the game did come out in 1982- so I can’t say that it may not have been better conceptualized at a different point in time. ¬†They tried- the use of the marble was certainly clever but for me it just didn’t cut it. I’ll be back to better criticize (hah) this game, don’t worry.



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  1. For what it’s worth, I covered this several years ago, you can read my thoughts there:

    But your insight on time/place is certainly true…it did make a difference back then. Plus don’t discount the “fun” a physical game can have with a kid. I’ve played this with my 5-year-old (which I didn’t have when I wrote the review before) and she loved playing the game. Moving the ghosts and eating the marbles was fun for her. Yes, the game as a game is pretty weak but this is a game for pre-teen kids…and more so, pre-teen kids that didn’t have a lot of technology to otherwise keep them engaged.

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