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January 2015 Retro Gaming Article


January 22, 2015 Retro Gaming Blog Post:

This Bandai Pac-Man multi game displays a kill screen on the packaging with a bonus Level 256 game

Long ago, I bought one of those multi-game joysticks that has a dozen games built into it. I thought it might be fun to have around to play a quick game on the fly. My son discovered it and playing Dig dug led us down a path to where we regularly play retro games on my old Atari and Nintendo consoles.
Pac-Man 256 game
For that, I am thankful. I get a kick out of these devices, but I wish they'd license a few more games. They always have the same games on each release. I guess it's sort of like the Flashback consoles that often have the same core set of games installed.

I was in my local Toys R US and decided to take a look at this Bandai Pac-Man multi game. These games are usually square so the odd Pac-Man shape caught my attention. I hadn't looked at one of these in quite a while, so I was secretly hoping there would bea few new games on this one. No such luck.

However, the back of the box had a strange but familiar image - the Pac-Man kill screen. This seemed like an odd graphic to have on the back of the box. It was showcasing a bonus game they seem to be calling Level 256. A while back we wrote an article about Kill Screens - which are a mathematical facet of progressing in an arcade game beyond the point where the game can logically continue (in a programming sense).
The back of the Pac-Man 256 box showing the kill screen image
These all-in-one units often appeal to casual gamers, so I was curious to know what this bonus game is all about and why they decided to promote it with a kill screen image. Could this game actually have the kill screen built into it? Or is this some sort of marketing ploy to appeal to retro gamers who know about this screen from the arcades?

Alas, these thoughts crossed my mind later and I've been pacing back and forth wondering why I didn't buy the Pac-Man game and delve into this kill screen matter. I'm also really interested to know what the bonus Level 256 game is all about.

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