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Where did you go, Ms. Pac-Man?

137 points glhaynes | 61 comments | | HN request time: 1.949s | source | bottom
1. busterarm ◴[] No.40710626[source]
In the words of one Johnny Blue Jeans...
2. AdmiralAsshat ◴[] No.40710844[source]
I never noticed that none of the official art for Ms. Pac-Man includes her beauty mark, which is kinda key to the sprite. It's the only thing that distinguishes her from regular Pac-Man other than the bow.
replies(2): >>40710975 #>>40711017 #
3. happyopossum ◴[] No.40710975[source]
> It's the only thing that distinguishes her from regular Pac-Man other than the bow.

And the lips, and the eyes. Literally everything except the yellow partial circle is differentiated.

replies(1): >>40717332 #
4. toast0 ◴[] No.40711017[source]
She's got one in the marquee. But not the side art. But it's a lot better than the original Pac Man art.
replies(1): >>40711053 #
5. johnchristopher ◴[] No.40711021[source]
Totally OT but: Godverdomme, why can't I right click those images of vintage ads :((((.
replies(3): >>40711675 #>>40712378 #>>40712743 #
6. Tao3300 ◴[] No.40711053{3}[source]
Love the side and base art. It's got such a cabaret vibe. Like the ghosts were supposed to be carrying her but at the last minute they decided to switch the arms to be neutral.
7. masswerk ◴[] No.40711057[source]
My favorite variant is probably Pac-Gal [1] (a hack from 1981, sometimes also attributed Uchida, 1982) – it doesn't get more '80s than this.


8. toast0 ◴[] No.40711059[source]
> After all, this would be like if Nintendo re-released a Super Mario game and swapped out Princess Peach for a Princess Pineapple or Princess Pumpkin and just acted like it wasn’t weird.

Yeah, that'd be weird, but swapping Princess Peach for Princess Toadstool was fine?

replies(4): >>40711138 #>>40711190 #>>40711208 #>>40717991 #
9. entropicdrifter ◴[] No.40711138[source]
Mario 64 attempted to bridge this gap. Her last name is Toadstool (or maybe it's her title?) and her first name is Peach.

What really happened, IIRC is that she was Princess Peach in the Japanese games and in the original translations they called her Princess Toadstool

replies(1): >>40711217 #
10. NeoTar ◴[] No.40711190[source]
I believe that in Mario lore they are explicitly the same character - either her name is “Peach Toadstool” (i.e. its surname and first name), or the Princess Toadstool is a title - like how the Prince of Wales, Queen Mother, and Princess Royal are all titles in the contemporary British monarchy.
replies(1): >>40711873 #
11. jmull ◴[] No.40711204[source]
Ms. was a better game.
12. dragontamer ◴[] No.40711208[source]
Mario saves Pauline in Donkey Kong / original game, and Pauline didn't come back into mainstream Mario games until Super Mario Odyssey (2017).

Princess Toadstool / Princess Peach seem to be the same character, much like Bowser / King Koopa, or Dr. Eggman vs Dr. Robotnik. The strange changing of names over the years has happened to other characters, but I think in-game cannon is that Princess Peach truly is Princess Toadstool.


Still, with Princess Rosalina in Super Mario Galaxy, I'd say that Mario has definitely tried the "Princess Swap" move already.

Or really... Pauline was already swapped out for Princess Toadstool.

replies(4): >>40711248 #>>40711292 #>>40714708 #>>40716187 #
13. NeoTar ◴[] No.40711217{3}[source]
Very much like Dr Robotnik (western) becoming Dr. Eggman (Japanese) in Sonic titles since the late 90’s. In this case Eggman is played as an offensive nickname Sonic has given Dr. Robotnik.
14. NeoTar ◴[] No.40711248{3}[source]
Pauline comes back in Super Mario Odyssey as the mayor of New Donk city.

And the Super Mario Land (Gameboy) series introduced Princess Daisy as a potential love interest- she’s now a mainstay of the series and often romantically linked with Luigi.

15. Dwedit ◴[] No.40711292{3}[source]
Donkey Kong '94 (Game Boy) brought back Pauline.

Donkey Kong '94 is also about as close as you can get to being a Mario Game without actually being considered a Mario Game.

16. crawsome ◴[] No.40711309[source]
The Drawn Together reference in the article was totally unexpected but welcome.
17. egypturnash ◴[] No.40711611[source]
Huh. I feel like a Ms Pac-Man/Galaga multigame in the corner of a laundromat or restaurant is really the most common way for anyone to run into Pac-Man now, and yet here's Namco trying to retcon her out of existence.
replies(3): >>40712706 #>>40717552 #>>40718293 #
18. waltbosz ◴[] No.40711675[source]
I hate when that happens.

Run this code in your JS console to get an array of the urls to the 3 ads.

Or this to get the urls of all the images.

replies(2): >>40712747 #>>40716353 #
19. kibwen ◴[] No.40711873{3}[source]
"In Japan, her name has always been Princess Peach (ピーチ姫 Pīchi-hime), but in the West, she was originally known as "Princess Toadstool", due to Nintendo of America renaming her when localizing Super Mario Bros., feeling that "Peach" was irrelevant to the theme of the Mushroom Kingdom."

20. joezydeco ◴[] No.40712378[source]
You can visit the Arcade Flyers Museum for legit downloadable versions. It's probably where the author got them from in the first place.

replies(1): >>40716342 #
21. mattigames ◴[] No.40712386[source]
A few years ago I made a pac-man clone with unity for android where the only difference was that you controled Pac-man with your left thumb and Ms Pac-man with your right thumb, called Pac-men if I recall correctly, it was a bit frustating but the innovative mechanics was a bit of fun by itself, both could eat ghost when powered-up, the ghosts movement logic was the classic one too (so it only took into account one the first pac-man to chose paths), not much later it was taken down from the play store for trademark infrigement, in my naiveness I assumed nobody care about such thing due beign such an old game and forgot to check beforehand, boy was I wrong. I considered changed the sprites and release again with a different name/ip but lazyness took the best of me, probably wouldn't have catched anybodys atentton with some other name anyway.
22. Physkal ◴[] No.40712549[source]
Drawn together was so good I wish it had more of a following, it deserved more seasons.
23. boomboomsubban ◴[] No.40712706[source]
I think the omnipresence of Ms. Pac-Man is a US only thing, I'm not sure the cabinet was even released elsewhere. So the most common for you and me, but not most people.
replies(3): >>40712806 #>>40713242 #>>40715940 #
24. crtasm ◴[] No.40712743[source]
If you mean you can't right-click at all, try holding shift.

But there's no 'view image', so install the wonderful Behind! extension:

replies(1): >>40716343 #
25. crtasm ◴[] No.40712747{3}[source]
You may like to try
26. nikau ◴[] No.40712806{3}[source]
There was one in a supermarket in Australia when I was a kid
replies(1): >>40712867 #
27. ndiddy ◴[] No.40712838[source]
There's a good summary of the legal issues surrounding Ms. Pac-Man here: .

Essentially, the game was originally created as an unofficial upgrade to Pac-Man arcade games by a third party, GCC. GCC then licensed Ms. Pac-Man to Namco, with a contract stipulating that they were due royalties for any Ms. Pac-Man coin operated games, as well as any electronic distribution of Ms. Pac-Man. Namco then forgot about the contract after Ms. Pac-Man went out of production in the mid-80s, meaning that the extremely broad "electronic distribution" term was never renegotiated.

In the early 2000s, Namco started releasing Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga multigame cabinets without paying GCC's successors royalties, so they sued Namco. The arbitrator decided that "coin operated game" meant that GCC's successors were due royalties from any Ms. Pac-Man machine with a coin slot, but not machines without coin slots meant for home use. More importantly, they decided that because the contract defined "electronic distribution" as "any use in which the game is broadcast or in any other way transmitted to other receiving devices", this meant that GCC's successors were due royalites for rereleases of Ms. Pac-Man on any device with internet connectivity.

Around 2018, Namco reached out to GCC's successors in an attempt to buy out their royalty rights. Before negotiations completed, AtGames, a company that mostly focuses on rereleasing old games, significantly outbid Namco. Namco contacted AtGames saying that if AtGames didn't rescind their offer, Namco would permanently stop licensing their titles to AtGames and ensure that "there is zero income stream delivered pursuant [to the GCC] agreement".

Since that point, the only new Ms. Pac-Man rereleases have been standalone games that fall under the "not coin operated" loophole. In 2022, they delisted most existing Ms. Pac-Man rereleases, likely to cut AtGames off from receiving any Ms. Pac-Man royalties at all. Additionally, Namco has started editing the Ms. Pac-Man character out of rereleases of other Pac-Man games in favor of a new "Pac-Mom" character (likely as an attempt to reduce awareness of Ms. Pac-Man to further devalue AtGames's purchase).

replies(1): >>40713168 #
28. ◴[] No.40712867{4}[source]
29. kristopolous ◴[] No.40713168[source]
I wonder if the copyright covers all female gendered Pac-Man characters?

I can't imagine the IP is so precious that consumers wouldn't accept a "pac-sis" sister in her place or some doughy-eyed infant version "pac-girl" with a pacifier and bib.

I'd have to assume such obvious derivatives are covered. But maybe not?

edit, apparently, right ... where's that IP now?

Also this is apparently some wild hybrid where you can flow between pinball and the video screen

replies(2): >>40713258 #>>40713787 #
30. alt0_ ◴[] No.40713242{3}[source]
Not from US and this is the first time of my life I even heard of Ms. Pac-Man
31. LeafItAlone ◴[] No.40713258{3}[source]
> I wonder if the copyright covers all female gendered Pac-Man characters?

The original article discusses Pac-Mom, so presumably not.

replies(1): >>40713844 #
32. CobrastanJorji ◴[] No.40713725[source]
As much as I've never heard of, don't care about, and had no particular trust in the "Pac-Man Museum+" videogame, I am nonetheless disappointed in them for altering their history without credit or footnote. I expect more from Museum-branded shovelware.
replies(1): >>40716318 #
33. RodgerTheGreat ◴[] No.40713787{3}[source]
FYI, the figure of speech is "doe-eyed", as in having large eyes evocative of a female deer, not "dough-eyed".
replies(1): >>40717271 #
34. lmm ◴[] No.40713844{4}[source]
Whether Pac-Mom is a copyright-infringing design may just be a question that hasn't hit the courts yet.
35. toast0 ◴[] No.40714708{3}[source]
> Mario saves Pauline in Donkey Kong

Jumpman saves Pauline in Donkey Kong.

replies(2): >>40718514 #>>40722489 #
36. tessellated ◴[] No.40715940{3}[source]
Was skiing in Maria Alm, Austria when I was a kid (~late '80s, early '90s). Hotel vis-a-vis Wilder Kaiser mountain had a Ms. Pac-Man and a Ghosts'n'Goblins cabinet.
37. aleph_minus_one ◴[] No.40716187{3}[source]
> Still, with Princess Rosalina in Super Mario Galaxy, I'd say that Mario has definitely tried the "Princess Swap" move already.

In Super Mario Land, instead Princess Daisy appeared.

38. bigfishrunning ◴[] No.40716305[source]
"outrage piece" or not, there's a bunch of interesting history in the article. Also, Ms. Pac man was/is a better game then Pac Man, and a more interesting character design -- It's a shame if she goes away forever.
39. bigfishrunning ◴[] No.40716318[source]
Yeah, it seems by naming the game "Museum", they're trying to appeal to a preservation angle, but then modifying the games seems to undermine the point
replies(2): >>40716451 #>>40717987 #
40. johnchristopher ◴[] No.40716342{3}[source]
Thanks !
41. johnchristopher ◴[] No.40716343{3}[source]
Ooooh thanks, I was so hell bent on complaining that I didn't even try ff extensions and other tricks.
42. johnchristopher ◴[] No.40716353{3}[source]
I should have the reflex to try things like that in the console more often.
43. dwighttk ◴[] No.40716451{3}[source]
We’re gonna make a game called Pac-Man museum! Yay!

Later: legal says we can’t use Ms Pac-Man

44. InDubioProRubio ◴[] No.40717271{4}[source]
So dough-eyed, is the look of an overnighted baker, who got into a fistfight?
replies(1): >>40717762 #
45. blueflow ◴[] No.40717332{3}[source]
They took a character without gender characteristics, slapped lipstick and a ribbon on it and called it a woman.

What does this tell us about society.

replies(2): >>40718869 #>>40719430 #
46. cgriswald ◴[] No.40717552[source]
Definitely not. The most likely place is at home or on their phone.

The most recent new Pac-Man release was in 2022. The longest gap in a release was between 1987 and 1993. Since then there has been a release every year or three. These are specifically Pac-Man titles and not games with Pac-Man in them (Mario Kart has a Pac-Man outfit you can unlock with a Pac-Man amiibo) and not including compilation software packages.

replies(1): >>40724153 #
47. dfxm12 ◴[] No.40717762{5}[source]
An overnight baker with bag-uettes under their eyes.
48. dfxm12 ◴[] No.40717987{3}[source]
FWIW, the original "museum" games by Namco (in the PSX era) were set in a virtual museum, A 3D space that you walked through in first person perspective. Each game was set in its own gallery with a bunch of paraphernalia hanging around it that you could look at and get more info about. I don't think preservation was implied, it was just a skeuomorphic display metaphor. The name stuck, even if the UI changed.

I enjoyed the whimsy of them.

49. ngcc_hk ◴[] No.40717991[source]
This strange name translation sometimes just due to misunderstanding. When they translate the hulk tv in 1960, the guy mistook the doctor meant medical doctors. I always confused why there is no medical thing involved. Then Dr strange come along. The translator thought it is a phd doctor.

Anywhere for lady name, you would expect colony will be good. But queen was translated wrongly as well. Hong Kong has a king’s road and queen’s road. The queen road is wrongly translated as king console instead queen. And the road is in the center of occupation as well, cutting thru Central. Well.

Translation is hard.

50. LocalH ◴[] No.40718293[source]
Ms. Pac-Man isn't Namco's, so they don't really give a shit
51. mrob ◴[] No.40718514{4}[source]
He's called Jumpman in the operator's manual, but I'm not aware of any official material intended for the general public that uses that name.
replies(1): >>40749783 #
52. Kerb_ ◴[] No.40718869{4}[source]
That gender is a social construct with abstractions used to simplify expression when creating fictional characters?
53. DowagerDave ◴[] No.40719430{4}[source]
Isn't that more a comment on 8-bit graphics resolution? If you want to question society's relationship with gender I'd examine Lara Croft.
replies(1): >>40719470 #
54. blueflow ◴[] No.40719470{5}[source]
Hm, is the "ribbon & lipstick = woman" part not bothersome to you?
replies(1): >>40719554 #
55. Kerb_ ◴[] No.40719554{6}[source]
Nah, Ms. Pac Man absolutely slays. Lara Croft is unnecessarily sexualized. I'm definitely going to be unbothered by the first one if we're gonna ignore the second.
replies(1): >>40719714 #
56. blueflow ◴[] No.40719714{7}[source]
I never played Lara Croft so i wouldn't know. I think you would consider the Avengers Ensemble funny with gender roles swapped:
57. tmtvl ◴[] No.40722489{4}[source]
Fun tidbit: while we all know Mario is a plumber from Brooklyn, Jumpman is in fact a carpenter.
58. ◴[] No.40724153{3}[source]
59. axilmar ◴[] No.40726117[source]
It's a shame really that Namco didn't want to pay a lot of money for the rights of Ms Pac Man.

I don't understand their approach.

They clearly have a lot more money in their disposal than AtGames. Why not buy the second most significant character in the Pacman franchise?

60. dlgeek ◴[] No.40749783{5}[source]
The cabinet art on the control panel does: