Gamers of all shapes and sizes are very familiar with Pong, Space Invaders, Pac-Man, and Donkey Kong. Most of us can safely say we’ve tried these legendary games at least once in our lives; those who haven’t actually played them can’t deny the impact that these titles made on the gaming industry. Without these arcade and Atari games, we would never have Super Mario Bros., Grand Theft Auto, Skyrim, and so on. Considering these games are roughly 30 decades old already, many people are likely bored of them already, and the current-gen remakes just aren’t the same as they have too much flash and simply aren’t the games we grew up on.
If remakes don’t do it for you, how about a combination of all of classic games? Dutch game developer Dick Poelen took it up a notch by seamlessly combining all of the legendary games together into one video game Frankenstein’s monster that would make even the craziest of mad scientists proud. Pacapong is a wonderfully sadistic game that’s nostalgic, difficult, competitive, and addictive all at once.
The basic gameplay is most similar to Pong, in that each player controls one paddle and shoots the ball at one another, in hopes that the other person doesn’t catch the ball and they get a point. Except in this case, the ball is Pac-Man and not only are you hoping the other person misses catching it, but you hope that you get as many pellets along the way as Pac-Man goes through the maze. If that’s not enough, the Ghosts will interrupt the ball/Pac-Man, giving your opponent points. Not difficult enough yet? After a few volleys, spaceships from Space Invaders will start coming down and shooting at your paddle, but luckily your paddle will will now be able to shoot bullets at the ships to destroy them. Oh, and then Donkey Kong comes in to start throwing barrels at both of you.
Yeah, this game is a cluster****. I played it for a while and quickly became addicted. It’s clearly designed to be a two-player game, but you can play it against yourself, using each hand to control opposite paddles. It’s fast, fluid, and merciless, and has a great song backing the chaos to boot. If you’re up to the challenge, you can download the game for free here. If you want to see my basic gameplay, and by gameplay I mean me trying and doing miserably, it’s below. There are plenty of videos out there of people playing it better as well if you’d rather see a more competitive game!
Pacapong is a nostalgic thrill ride, as well as a great way to introduce newer players (read: teenagers and other young people who didn’t grow up on NES and earlier) to get accustomed to these retro hits. In the future, hopefully we’ll see a versus-PC mode, or even an online co-op mode, but the base game is still a fun adventure that shows how much more classic games have to give.
Think you can beat our top score in PacMan? What are your favorite retro games? Let us know!