Ms. Pac-Man / Galaga 20 Year Reunion (Arcade) is the Retro Game of the Day for 16 May, 2016

Retro Game of the Day is back in full swing, just in time for a really strange entry.

First, the actual physical game in question came out in 2001, quite a bit after my cutoff date for retro games.  “How,” you may be asking, “is this a retro game then?”

Well, the answer is that the game is basically a game cabinet that just plays exact copies of actual retro games, Ms. Pac-Man and Galaga from 1981.  And 1981 is definitely retro, so for this reason, I have allowed it.

“But why,” you may ask, “don’t you just highlight the original games instead of this newer one that puts them both in one game?”  Good question.  First, I get to highlight more than one game.  Secondly, this particular cabinet hides a couple of nice secrets that make it an even sweeter deal.

During the screen that asks you to press start to select a game after you have inserted coins, pressing Up x 3, Down x 3, Left, Right, Left, Right, Left quickly will play a sound and allow you to play a third game: by pressing left Start to play Ms. Pac-Man after this code is entered, you play the original Pac-Man game instead.  So instead of just two games, I am actually highlighting three games in one day in today’s Retro Game(s) of the Day.

And the second secret sweetens the deal further.  During the original run of the Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man games, there were, as usual, hacked versions of both games made and distributed instead.  Some were silly hacks, like replacing the graphics or changing the maze, but one of the best and most popular were ones that sped up the movement of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man in their respective games by a bit while keeping the rest of the game the same speed.  It made for a faster game, and while easier to keep ahead of the enemies, was slightly more challenging to keep control of.  20 Year Reunion added this feature to the Pac-Man games via a second code also inputted at the game select screen: Left, Right, Left, Right, Up x 3, Fire.  Entering both codes before pressing start gets you the original Pac-Man with the speedup hack.

Funny how the best game of the early 2000s was a game that had accurate versions of two twenty-year old games with a secret code to unlock a third, huh?