Pac-Man Hand Held Game from MGA

I have a small collection of hand-held gaming systems. Most of them are from the late 70s, like the classic Mattel sports games, although some of them are the newer reproductions. When I ran across this one recently at a garage sale, I was surprised I didn’t recognize it.

This Pac-Man hand-held was made by MGA. Along with it’s tiny joystick, there are several buttons for turning the sound on and off, starting a new game, and pausing the game. That should have been my first tip off that this wasn’t very old. Back in my day, we didn’t have fancy options like “pausing a game,” pashaw!

Another give away was (or at least should have been) this fairly modern looking sticker on the front of the unit.

A third give away that this was a modern toy was that it worked. Usually when I find old hand held gaming systems, they take some cleaning (or at least a change of batteries) for them to fire up. Although this game has retro-style graphics, I was pretty sure it was a relatively modern toy. A Google search on my phone confirmed that it was made in 2001. Still, for a quarter, it was worth it.

As far as Pac-Man games go, this one’s pretty horrible. Along with the black-and-white blinking graphics and mostly monotone beeps, the screen is too small to display the entire maze at once. That causes the game to constantly redraw the screen every time to go off the top, bottom, left, or right of the screen, usually directly into a waiting ghost.