Baby Pac-Man Pinball, Because Hybrids are Eco-Friendly!

This is a pretty rare game. I encountered it a couple of times back around the early 90s, but never since.

What sets this game apart is that it’s a hybrid of both pinball and a video game. No, not a video version of pinball, a video game AND a pinball game. The cabinet is about the same size as any standard arcade game, the pinball table is only about half as deep as a normal one, and sits partly under the video screen. You begin play in the video game, which is mostly a standard Pac-Man type game, but with two major differences; Two extra escape tunnels at the bottom, and no power pellets. Another difference that becomes apparent once you play for a bit is that this game is more difficult than others of its ilk, the ghosts are much more difficult to avoid.

To get power pellets you have to play the pinball portion, to do that you have to use either of the lower escape tunnels (the side tunnels act like normal escape tunnels). Once in pinball mode you can enable the power pellets by hitting the yellow targets and lighting up the word “P.A.C.M.A.N.”. You can also get other advantages from the various object in the pinball field, including; advancing the fruit to higher scoring ones (they don’t get higher just by beating levels in the video game, but on the other hand you can potentially get the highest fruit in level 1), getting extra lives, and speeding up escape tunnel travel (the side tunnels are usually slow, but can be teleportationally fast).

The only penalty for losing the ball down the middle is that you get shipped back to the video game & can’t go back to pinball until you beat the level or lose a life. However, if you get the ball in one of the blue pockets in the corners when the blue arrow is lit, you will return to the video game BUT also be able to return to pinball (going right back down the tunnel back to pinball results in a “pacscalator” animation of Baby Pac sliding down in incline.

When I played this game in the wild I was thrilled with the concept, but frustrated with the difficulty (especially when you’re not expecting the change between video and pinball modes). As you can see in the pic above, I found a copy for VisualPinMAME. It plays well and is a pretty accurate rendition of the real thing, a great way to get some practice in before losing loads of quarters on the real machine.

If you look closely at the lower portion of the game, you’ll see that it is deceptively lewd. You have anthropomorphic versions of Mr. and Ms. Pac-Man lounging in their naked glory, seemingly basking in the afterglow, as Pac-Man has a self-satisfied smile and a “I’m the man!” look on his face and Ms. Pac has her eyes half-closed and a saucy little smirk and seems to be saying “You sure are!”, and all while you’re with balls right between them. Put all that together with the fact that this game is all about their baby, and… well……


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