Monday, September 27, 2010

Retro Game of the Day! Munch Man

Retro Game of the Day! Munch Man

Munch Man by Jim Dramis for Texas Instruments, released for the TI-99/4A in 1982.

Clearly a rip of the very popular Pac-Man (and released during it's heyday), his game was created to grab a little of that action without ponying up the exhorbitant licensing fees.

Munch Man did operate differently than Pac on a number of smaller levels; most noticeably,
rather than clearing away dots off the screen, you are laying down a chain (or cable) as you pass by. Rather than emptying the screen, the goal here is to fill it. Ah, the things they do to avoid copyright infringement!

Likewise, rather than ghosts you are chased by different-colored "hoonos," which (interestingly) are presented in different shapes for the 1st 20 levels, before repeating. There are some other small differences, but overall the mechanic is very derivative of Pac-man in general. This was fine, and kids at the time loved the game for it. I remember seeing the game on display at Child World toy store, and playing for a moment "It's Pac-man... sort of! In reverse!"

It's a little sad to see that there was a whole subsect of these types of games (ripoffs of early 80s "real games") which, though derivative, were still quite popular and stood on their own. Many of these games are long forgotten and will never show up on any popular "virtual console" type of service, so it's up to those of us who remember these games to celebrate them!


  1. Wow, the TI, huh? I used to love that machine, and I'm pretty sure I had this game. Of course the best game that I can remember from that machine was Hunt The Wumpus, but there were other good ones as well.

  2. The TI99/4A had one great game... PARSEC. It was the first videogame I ever owned. I even had the Speech Synthesizer for the damn thing. It's surprising that I didn't miss speech when I owned the NES. "Alert! Alien craft advancing!"