Posted: March 14, 2005 -

Ms. Pacman (Grouping) Game Play for Archival and Research Purposes


(1983) Tom Asaki, Don Williams, and Spencer Ouren

The first Ms. Pacman Masters to put their minds together in 1983 to master a game, and are now in 2005 still remembered as the Bozeman Montana Think Tank.

They were the first to acquire the grouping skills on all boards to acquire an incredible amount of points on Ms. Pacman.

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First Ms. Pacman Board
The Ms. Pacman Boseman Montana Think Tank - Reprint from 1983 and Discussion
______ The Ms. Pac-Man Mystery How three guys from Montana invented the ultimate strategy by Paul Stokstad [Appeared in the June 1984 issue of "Computer Games"] Bozeman Montana Think Tank: Tom Asaki, Don Williams, Spencer Ouren Pac-Man was a game you could beat. You could beat it by memorizing patterns. The ghosts, you see, weren't programmed for randomness. If you zigged and they zagged, they'd do the exact same thing in a similar situation. It wasn't long before everybody knew the patterns to beat Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man is a different story. The ghosts are programmed for randomness, so there isn't a pattern that exists to beat it--the ghosts behave differently in each game. But there is one technique that will earn a player an incredible amount of points "Grouping." If you can induce the ghosts to move close to one another, you can stay alive and get 1,600 points when you gobble them near a power pill. This is the story of three guys from Montana who got together and figured out how to give Ms. Pac-Man a beating she'll never forget. If Tom Asaki was hot in the summer of '82, it was due to the temperature, not to his skill at Ms. Pac-Man. He was pretty good then, but he wasn't grouping the ghosts yet. At least that's what Don Williams says, and Don Williams should know, since he regularly watched Tom Asaki play down at Games Are Fun in Bozeman, Montana. Superior players usually can't put their techniques into words. One way to get good is to watch a guy's moves. Don Williams got pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man too. But Tom Asaki and Don Williams didn't really get tight until Spencer Ouren, another Bozeman boy, started sharing his Ms. Pac-Man techniques. Spencer knew Tom Asaki and introduced Don Williams to Tom Asaki. From then on, whenever one of them picked up a trick, he would share it with the other two. In January of 1983, they were not playing the game as individuals--beating Ms. Pac-Man had become a group project. Their goal was to score the first- second- and third- highest total scores ever recorded at the game. They felt that if they put their heads together, they could come up with the best system to totally ace out the rest of the world. Grouping is not a mystery. It's a standard technique among better Ms. Pac-Man players. The basic move is accomplished from the "hold" position on the board. This is a spot that the ghosts will never cross to destroy you. The hold is located in a different location on each of the four maze patterns of the game. By moving out of this safe spot in varying directions, you can influence the separate moving ghosts to get closer to one another in pursuit of the faked direction you appear to be taking. Then you can pop back into the hold and the ghosts will be grouped in a tighter, more manageable pattern. First Maze Board Second Maze Board Third Maze Board Each Maze must be cleared between two and four times to get to the next maze, depending on which level you are on. Grouping is pretty easy on the first three maze patterns (waves one through nine). But even the best players always seemed to get wiped out on the fourth maze pattern, called the "Junior" boards. Junior Board - 4th Maze Board Fourth Maze Board: The problem was that there didn't seem to be a hold on the Junior boards. The other three holds didn't work, and the Bozeman Think Tank, they called themselves, were continually killed by the blue-green ghost. Without a hold on the fourth maze, it would be impossible to conquer the game, because after the tenth wave half the waves are Junior boards. The Deception: When they had just about given up, a fellow by the name of Matt Brass met up with the Think Tank. Brass, a pretty decent player himself, had just returned from the North American Video Olympics in Ottumwa, Iowa. When Brass described the Olympics scene to Tom Asaki, Spencer Ouren and Don Williams, he dropped a bombshell--some players were grouping the ghosts on the Junior boards. It wasn't true. Brass wasn't lying--he had meant to say that some players were grouping before the Junior boards. But the Think Tank panicked. They thought they were pretty good at Ms. Pac-Man. Now someone, some mysterious someone, had whipped the Junior boards, which had seemed impossible. Believing that the impossible was now possible (and had been achieved), the Think Tank pressed on with their own solution. They thought, "Well, if it's possible, we want to be able to do it too." It was like being told that Mt. Everest had been scaled when it hadn't. The miscommunication from Brass made the Think Tank believe grouping was possible on the Junior boards. In fact, no one had ever done it. They worked five days straight on the problem. The first thing they did was to use the "rack advance" inside the Ms. Pac-Man cabinet to advance the game to the higher boards. The found that if they just played the game normally, by the time they worked their way to the higher boards, they became reluctant to take any chances for fear of ruining a good score. And you don't make any breakthroughs if you're not willing to take chances. With a lot of research, the Think Tank, and especially Spencer Ouren, decided that the key to grouping had to involve the four tunnels on the sides of the screens. They started playing around in there, luring the ghosts on wild goose chases to see how they would respond. One ghost--Sue--seemed particularly attracted to Ms. Pac-Man in the tunnels. Spencer Ouren discovered that if the pink ghost is coming straight at you, you can deceive him by pointing Ms. Pac-Man's eyes upward. The pink ghost, they found, has been programmed to go in the same direction as you and to get in front of you, even if there is no channel to move. This information can be used for avoidance and grouping. With these and other techniques, Spencer Ouren was soon using the tunnels and grouping three of the ghosts. The other members of the Think Tank added refinements. It was Tom Asaki who made the breakthrough. By using Spencer Ouren's method to group three ghosts, he discovered a hold! The hold, which didn't seem to exist on the Junior boards, was there--but only if you grouped three of the ghosts before you went into it. With this knowledge, it became a simple matter of using the tunnels to group the three ghosts on the run, go into the hold [see diagram] to wait for Sue, and then nail all of them. The Think Tank was soon achieving scores in the 400,000 range, which had been considered impossible. You can imagine how Tom Asaki, Don Williams and Spencer Ouren felt when they spoke with Matt Brass again and discovered the communication breakdown. The Bozeman Think Tank had done the impossible--only because they mistakenly believed it had already been achieved. Sometimes psychology can be just as important for good scores as eye/hand coordination. (This was a very basic sketch of a complex system worked out by the Bozeman Three. The total system includes various fakes, patterns too run, and strategies to control the ghosts on all four mazes of the game. If you're interested in the complete system for dominating Ms. Pac-Man, Spencer Ouren will send it to you. Send $5 to cover his postage and sweat to: Spencer Ouren, 1724 S. 19th St., Bozeman, MT 58705.) Link ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ From: Spencer R. Ouren Dear friends: Thank you for purchasing our manuscript on Ms. Pac-Man. At points in our descriptions you may become confused or have further questions. If this is the case just give (spencer ouren) a call at (406) 443-1217 between 7pm and 10pm (MST). I am sure i can answer any questions. {editors note - Spencer Ouren 1964-1992 RIP} Gratefully yours, Spencer R. Ouren -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- From: Don Williams Some of the letters have been quite interesting. We have not played many games since last summer and our high scores at that point still stand. For some of you this manuscript will be a great benefit, others may not be advanced enough to use it, and still others may find it just interesting. Thank-you all so much for your curiosity. Yours. Don Williams PS: If Tom were with us I am sure he would have something to say, but he is lost somewhere in the twilight zone (California). Keep in touch. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Think Tank Tips: When you play a new game, watch other people play, then play the game yourself, just getting used to the controls. Then try to master what other people are doing on the game. Finally, try to invent new moves, new solutions for situations. Don Williams says to "look for a goal, something to do to get through each board, then develop that skill and use it in the game." According to Tom Asaki, you can get high scores in Ms. Pac-Man by using lightning quick reflexes and open-field running. But keeping up that intensity over an hour long game is impossible. You eventually slip. You blink. It's better to explore "systems" of play if you really want to hit high scores. [Scanned and edited by Dennis Brown -- dgbrown (at) h-body (dot) org] ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I. C. The Fruit and the Pretzel

Ms. Pacman Seven Fruit Unlike Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man has a selection of only seven fruit. Actually one is not fruit, but still provides those extra points. The value of the fruit increases rapidly, but after the seventh maze something interesting happens. Every maze, from the 8th to the 136th, produces random fruit. The random quality has of the fruit has been a long-burning question among players everywhere (anyone out there got a clue?). An entire book alone could be written listing various methods used to try to force bananas to appear. The programmer has done a fine job of randomizing the fruit. Fruit Points Cherry 100 Strawberry 200 Peach 500 Pretzel 700 Apple 1,000 Pear 2,000 Banana 5,000 There are two fruits for each maze. The first fruit appears after 64 dots have been eaten. The second appears when there are 66 dots left on the board. There can be no more than two fruits. It is possible to have only one fruit appear for a given board. The fruit will bounce around one of several paths. Become familiar with them for eating the fruit is an essential part of high scoring. The fruit will always enter and exit a tunnel on one of many predetermined paths. During the later stages of the game, the score from eating the fruit will make up one-half of the possible points. (The Rest of the Manuscript are at the bottom of this page.....) Order of information ( Table of Contents ) { Table of contents and section headers have been changed } I. General setup of game. A. Game Layout B. Perfect Game C. Fruit and The Pretzel II. Ghost characterization. A. Reversals B. Speed C. Begining of Mazes D. Decisions E. The Ghost 1. Red 2. Pinky 3. Green 4. Sue III. The boards A. Junior 1. Energizers and Hold 2. Eating Energizers 3. Clearing board 21 and similar 4. Hints a. Hold b. Grouping c. Misc. B. Chase 1. Energizers and Hold 2. Eating Energizers 3. Clearing board 21 and similar 4. Hints a. General b. board 22 and up. C. They Meet 1. Openning 2. Grouping a. Bottom b. Top 3. Energizers 4. Hints D. First and second board. IV. General hints Holding Visual to be referenced at bottom of Page. ms pacman holding patterns (The Rest of the Manuscript are at the bottom of this page.....) ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Description Ms. Pac-Man must eat all the dots in a maze in order to advance to the next stage. She's chased by killer ghosts but she can eat them while powered up after eating one of four large dots. Bonus points are awarded for eating the fruits and snacks that appear and wander the maze. Cabinet Information On most Ms Pac-Man cabinets, the side art and front art is painted on. However, on the last production run of the game, adhesive sticker art was used instead of paint. This leads many to believe that legitimate (sticker-art) Ms. Pac-Man cabinets are bootlegged or use reproduction art, when in fact they often do not. Incidentally, the most commonly available reproduction set of side art and front art for Ms. Pac-Man was created using the later "sticker" version of the cabinet as a template. Therefore, the reproductions look slightly out of place when applied to older (painted) cabinets, due to the fact that they use deeper colors and have slightly different art. Conversion A variety of different speed-up options have been made available to enhance the game. These range from simple ROM swaps to the addition of sub-boards, hacks or custom circuitry. Game Introduction The game is a lot like Pac-Man except that it has four different mazes that change once every two to four screens instead of just one maze throughout the entire game. Also the fruits and prizes walk around the maze instead of appearing at the same spot in the middle of the maze. These bonus items include cherries, strawberries, peaches, pretzels, apples, pears and bananas. Technical The game use a Z80 microprocessor and a Namco 3-channel PSG for sounds. Trivia This game, originally called Crazy Otto, was an elaborate enhancement of Pac-Man created by a small company called General Computer Corporation. GCC pitched the title to Bally Midway who bought it and, after some minor changes, changed the game into Ms. Pac-Man. Bally Midway ultimately turned over the rights to Namco in an effort to appease them and not lose the licensing rights to future titles. Namco did ultimately stop licensing games to Bally Midway due to the release of Midway's other "unauthorized" titles such as Pac-Man Plus, Baby Pac-Man, and Jr. Pac-Man. Despite being released in the early 1980's, the game continues to retain its popularity among players. Machines can still be found almost everywhere including most arcades or amusement centers in the United States. In 2000, Ms. Pac-Man was selected as the spokes-game character for the "National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations" ( ). The character now wears a pink ribbon in addition to her traditional pink bow. Legacy Pac-Man Ms. Pac-Man Super Pac-Man Pac-Man Plus Baby Pac-Man Jr. Pac-Man Pac & Pal Pac-Land Pac-Mania Pac-Man V R Manuals ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dodge City Think Tank Arrives, By Twin Galaxies Link ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The Think Tank Arrives: First, Chris O'Brien, a fourteen-year-old kid from the Sacramento, CA, area arrived to prove that he had surpassed one million points on Ms Pac-Man. He was accompanied by his manager, thirty-year-old Doug Nelson, a Californian who had invested heavily in the book rights for this kid's playing techniques. The two came to Twin Galaxies to promote their forthcoming strategy book on Ms Pac-Man and to face down the cries of "fake" coming from other Ms Pac-Man players. O'Brien was actually quite good, having gotten well over 200,000 points, but the "Bozeman Think Tank" from Montana had also arrived to challenge him. The three members of "The Tank" were scoring close to 400,000 at the time, but O'Brien was claiming that he had broken Ms Pac-Man wide-open with a big million. Tom Asaki, Spencer Oueren and Don Williams - all from Bozeman, MT - were masters of the grouping technique, a strategy used only by advanced Ms Pac-Man masters. Grouping employed a slow, calculated approach to Ms Pac-Man that kept the monsters piled on top of each other to better keep them under control. Grouping was the safest method to achieve high scores. O'Brien, on the other hand, described his technique as "fast thinking and experience." The Think Tank started out studying Ms Pac-Man together at the Games Are Fun Arcade in Bozeman, MT, but then decided they needed their own machine to master its intricacies. So, they bought one. In those early days, a fourth friend (Joe Wingard from Whitefish, MT) was a member of the group, having been the first to reach the 201,000 mark in June of 1982. But then Joe faded away from the club. Twin Galaxies first heard from the Montana players in early 1983. They had been achieving high scores since late 1982, but had never been reporting their scores to Twin Galaxies. "We saw Twin Galaxies' high scores in the magazines in 1982," explained Tom Asaki, "and thought, 'Wow! how will we ever get scores that high.' Of course, we didn't know it at the time, but the 347,000-point high score reported on Ms Pac-Man was false. We didn't learn until later that people had been lying to Twin Galaxies about their scores." So, the Think Tank rolled up their sleeves and said: "If they can do it, so can we." And, with the belief it could be done, they figured out Ms Pac-Man. During their research, Spencer became the first Ms Pac-Man player to ever achieve a perfect game. To accomplish a perfect game means you have to "eat" every monster that turns blue until you reach the advanced boards where they no longer change to blue. Twin Galaxies first heard from the Think Tank when Tom Asaki suddenly made a quantum leap forward for the group. In an arcade in Great Falls, MT, Tom put together a game that resulted in a score of 393,000 points. Fortunately, six people were watching as witnesses. The Think Tank now knew they were the best. The new Twin Galaxies high score at that time had now risen slightly to 388,000 points and they had beaten it. They were ecstatic. Ironically, the 388,000 score that The Think Tank was chasing, proved in time to be a fraud. Asaki, Oueren and Williams had been chasing ghosts - ghosts who had inspired them to believe that boundaries didn't exist on Ms Pac-Man. In the course of the Ms Pac-Man face-off, Chris O'Brien was barely able to muster a score near the 230,000 level. On a pleasant note, however, Don Williams took a liking to Chris and taught him a bunch of Ms Pac-Man tricks that boosted his score to the 270,000 level. Chris O'Brien went home a greatly improved player - and no longer claimed one million points. As for the champs, Tom Asaki, Spencer Oueren and Don Williams respectively scored 419,950, 411,000 and 351,000 during the showdown - the three highest Ms Pac-Man scores in the world at that time. As the summer began, a few of the game manufacturers became impressed with our media exposure and offered to loan us games to use in the showdowns. The original Sega company from the golden age - not to be confused with today's manufacturer of the Saturn home system - was the first company to take Twin Galaxies under their wing. In June, Sega gave us an indefinite loan of their four current titles: Championship Baseball, Star Trek, Buck Rogers and Congo Bongo. Not to be outdone by Sega, Williams Electronics trusted Twin Galaxies with two copies each of Joust, Moon Patrol, Motorace USA, Sinistar and Bubbles. The games were to be returned in December - except for one copy of Bubbles which was donated to Ottumwa High School as a research tool for the electronics lab. Not surprisingly, the nation had developed a raging passion for marathoning video games at this time. And, the most promotionally-minded players began to choose Twin Galaxies as the place to prove their marathon skills. Time and time again, I was required to stay up all night (or nights) to watch a visiting superstar raise the world record on Q*bert or Robotron to astronomical heights. Tom Asaki was the most dedicated marathoner of them all. After the Bozeman Think Tank thoroughly deflated Chris O'Brien's Ms Pac-Man claims, Asaki stayed on to play Nibbler. Until Nibbler came along, no video game had ever given a score of one billion points. Most scoring counters turn over at 100 million or less, but not Nibbler. Nibbler would extend the score to nine billion before turning back to zero. Twin Galaxies was offering the high score crown to whomever could break the magic billion mark. Many players started around the nation, but all failed. Over time, Tom Asaki came to Twin Galaxies again and again to attempt the first billion-point score. As Asaki's quest for one billion points gained national attention, Rockola Manufacturing took a keen interest in the outcome. When we suddenly found ourselves with no working Nibbler, Bette Lockhart, Executive Assistant to David Rockola, rushed to Ottumwa with a two brand new games: a freshly uncrated Nibbler machine and an equally-as-new Eyes game. With little urging, Rockola offered a free Nibbler to the first champ who eclipsed one billion points. Tom Asaki's heroic efforts were carried by the national wire services as he bombed out on numerous consecutive attempts. His attempts, in order, went like this: 838 million - Tom lost his last man after forty hours. 707 million - Tom lost by going over 127 maximum stored men (the machine automatically eliminates your saved up men when you accrue more than 127 total men). 793 million - This was the heartbreaker as the joystik broke during this game. The Nibbler was frozen in the top left corner of the screen. Scoreboard expert, Bob Bradfield, got under the playing field and started hitting the joystik with a screwdriver, trying to free the Nibbler, suddenly the game blanked out and came back on. 120 million - This try resulted in another broken game. Asaki said, "I just sat there and watched my men die." When Steve Harris passed out in Twin Galaxies' back room from fatigue during one of Tom's marathons, a photograph was snapped of him lying on a mattress, looking seriously disheveled. Computer Games magazine somehow published the photograph and labeled it as Tom Asaki, asleep after the game. (Ha! I have since sold this photograph five times, once claiming it to be Madonna and identifying it as Elvis four other times.) Another player - Tim McVey, local Ottumwan - had all the same bad luck that Asaki did. He finally won the Nibbler game from Rockola when he reached 1,000,042,270 points on his seventh try. His first six tries ende up like this: 168 million - Tim ended when a turned-off circuit breaker erased the score. 403 million - Tim dropped from fatigue after 22 hours. 113 million - Tim lived but the joystick died. 716 million - Tim lost his last man after 31 hours. 410 million - Tim watched as the screen blanked out - it was suspected that someone pulled the plug. 208 million - Tim was feeling great before a turned-off circuit breaker erased the game. On his seventh try, Tim won a brand new Nibbler game when he scored 1,000,042,270 points. To honor McVey's achievement, the City of Ottumwa declared January 28 to be Tim McVey Day. I made posters and hung banners in celebration. Computer Games magazine published a feature article on the event in their July 1984 edition written by Paul Stokstad. The most beautiful touch came when McVey's elderly mother cried tears of joy for her son. Officials from Rockola attended the ceremony and awarded McVey his own Nibbler game as a prize. McVey later traded it for about $200 worth of game tokens to a rival arcade down the street. Meanwhile, marathoning was the rage in Ottumwa. Kids were coming from all over the country to keep Walter Day up all night. It was partly out of self-preservation that I started implementing the new rules now known as the Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings (TGTS). In time, under the new rules, marathons would be banned. Marathons, I was convinced, were unhealthy for the players (and for me, too) and didn't really prove who was the best. On top of the threat to the players' health, marathons are the toughest to score. Most games have score counters that turn back to zero after one hundred thousand points; later, the counters turned over at one million points. This means that the witnesses have to watch the score counter turn over to zero again and again. Each time it turns over, the fact has to be logged on a time sheet. Unfortunately, the games have to be watched and witnesses have to be trusted to stay awake and be honest. During the Dodge City period of Twin Galaxies, there were one or two marathons going on every day somewhere in the world. I would be interviewed, for example, by the Australian, Irish, or Israel media as part of an average day - all about marathons attempted in their homelands. Much of the Twin Galaxies rulebook was written from incidents we faced while judging marathons. For instance, one person once walked away in the middle of his game and his friends played it for him to keep it going. The obvious rule: No one else touches the controls during a high score attempt or the game is forfeit. To help verify scores, I started a network of Scoreboard Correspondents (still going on today). These were zealous players who lived and breathed video games. Todd Walker, of Milpitas, CA, for example, was witness to a Missile Command marathon which committed every possible violation. The machine was blanking out, the score was being improperly logged and the kid was taking off time for naps. Walker then entered the room and announced that he was an objective witness sent by the scoreboard. When he called them on the carpet for the many irregularities he saw they went nuts. He courageously stood his ground and then reported to me. The kid's supporters deluged the scoreboard with protests for a week. The Dodge City era ended with a flourish of magazine articles. The nicest summation of this period was published by Computer Games magazine in their December 1983 edition, which had a feature story on the players who came up through the ranks at Twin Galaxies. Written by editor Steve Bloom, the article included a large color photo of the players photographed at Twin Galaxies during the LIFE magazine session. Entitled, "Video Game Superstars! How They Turn High Scores into Big Bucks," the piece went on to discuss the trials and tribulations of Eric Ginner, Leo Daniels, Steve Sanders and Walter Day as they tried to make their mark in the video game world. Leo Daniels, for example, was offered a magazine contract to write articles on game tricks known only by the experts. He was paid $100 per trick. None of the other players could get Leo's tricks to work. "Man, he's got to be making these tricks up," laughed Ben Gold. "They're bogus!" When I asked Leo about it, he would just smile and say, "These tricks are only for experts." Steve Sanders got at least one really weird job through Twin Galaxies. AETNA Life Insurance called and asked for a star player on Pac-Man. On my recommendation, they flew Sanders to New York City to play Pac-Man for an educational video for third grade students. Only his hand appeared in the video. Twin Galaxies' Dodge City era put the players on the map. High score competitions flourished and the video game superstars had become big news. And, with a little luck, I didn't have to stay up too many nights monitoring marathons. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Ch 11. Twin Galaxies: The Scoreboard Gets Tough Link ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2/8/1998 Ch. 11 - The Scoreboard Gets Tough Chapter Eleven The Scoreboard Gets Tough "There is a kid who follows me around, banging on my Ms Pac-Man machine, causing the score to blank out right after I've broken the world record this is why I don't have witnesses to prove I am the best ." Excerpt from a letter from "The Man That Time Forgot" (1983) "I am very angry," the letter began, "that you have not published my name and scores in all the magazines. This is my third letter and I think that this is not fair." The letter went on and on. I turned the letter over and noted the Puerto Rican return address on the back. I recognized the person's name, he was writing nearly every month, each time with scores more and more inflated. His list included a score of two million points on Ms Pac-Man. The world's best players - who were coming to Twin Galaxies to perform in person - didn't reach the 800,000 mark until 1985, which was another two years away. But it wasn't his Ms Pac-Man claims that had caused Patricia Byrne, my assistant, to bring his letter to my attention that day. Pat and I had been opening mail for hours. Twin Galaxies' daily mailbag had grown to massive proportions by late 1983 and, on this particular day, the letters began to blur together as I worked my way to the bottom of a gigantic stack. Pat suddenly handed me a letter she had opened and cheerfully announced that someone had broken my record. "On what?" I asked absently, lost in thought. "Oh, Squid Search," she answered. This was the last straw. Squid Search did not actually exist. I had invented the game as a private joke to list in our printouts. I turned the letter back over to the first page to read the sender's name again, wondering if Billy Mitchell, Steve Harris or some other player was the author of the letter. But it wasn't possible that Billy or any other player could have done this, because no one knew that Squid Search was a fictitious game. To complete the deception, I had even gone so far as to list it as a Gremlin title ("Blame it on Gremlin" was my motto. Gremlin went out of business so long ago that no one was still around who could blow the whistle on my joke.) But, here was this person in Puerto Rico claiming he had beat my fictitious high score on this game. I was personally offended. Examining his letter even further, I found his Donkey Kong score was even more improbable, being nearly twice the official world record. I felt the same about his Zaxxon score, his Tempest score, and so on and so forth. He was a very ambitious man. I put his letter on top of a huge mound of mail marked "fraudulent scores." It was the biggest pile in the office and represented a staggering amount of unfinished work the scoreboard still had to deal with. "Calling these people," I explained during a phone call to Dan Guttman, editor of Computer Games magazine, "was a very costly and time-consuming process. Quite often, the player will hide from us. More often, they are young kids, who don't know what they are doing." It was September of 1983 and Guttman and I were discussing the rules and regulations Twin Galaxies was devising to insure truthfulness in scores. The main bulk of the rules, I explained, were referred to as the Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings (TGTS). The primary weapon of the TGTS was the challenging statement the player had to sign on the submission form. The statement had a special bite - the "player agreement," which warns the player that he can be challenged by any other player who also plays the same game, who believes that his score may not be true, or may not be possible following tournament settings. If challenged, players were allowed to prove themselves by re-playing their game in front of witnesses. They were given an entire year to duplicate their score. Usually, if a player could get within 85% of the claimed score, Twin Galaxies would give him the benefit of the doubt and award him the title. The only exception to this rule is when the game in question is a mature game (see Part I: The Rules of the Games). The TGTS were not created overnight. They were crafted from experiences reported to Twin Galaxies by hundreds of players. The settings were game-specific. In other words, Twin Galaxies had to find a balance in each game that insured playability, while, at the same time, promised the game would be challenging. In games like Robotron or Joust, for example, difficulty setting #9 - which is the toughest - is required. Then, to make it even scarier, we only allowed a total of five men. This brought the high score down to 960,350 on Robotron as opposed to marathon scores claimed in the 300,000,000 realm. Hence, the higher the difficulty setting, the less likely a game would degenerate into a marathon. The process of cleaning up the scoreboard still continues today. Many older scores were deleted in preparation for this book. For example, Jason Smith's 2.2 million points on Gorf has been placed in limbo until someone (hopefully, Jason himself) proves that a score this high is possible. Also, Mike Mann's score of 4.8 million points on Frogger and Robert Bonney's 511 million points on Robotron have been put on temporary probation until they also are proven. And, of even greater significance, two famous groups of suspicious scores have been completely deleted - everything over 3.3 million on Pac-Man and everything over 5 million on Galaga are now believed to not be possible. Twin Galaxies Tournament Settings improved all our competitions. From the moment we employed TGTS, the highest scores were achieved by the player who was the best, instead of the player who was able to stay awake the longest. To combat the unending deluge of false scores, a peer-reviewed system was required. The players were asked to monitor each other to verify which scores were truthful - or even attainable - and which were obviously fraudulent. To get the ball rolling, the scoreboard had to identify the top players on every game and call on them to investigate new scores. In many cases, the process lead to a phone interrogation of new submissions. By late 1983, the validity of high scores was now the scoreboard's biggest concern. The "Vanity Scoreboard," published in Electronic Games Magazine, had just fallen, and it had become apparent that many scores it listed were false. The editors, realizing that they were being victimized by their readership, pulled the plug. Not only were many of the high scores out of the realm of plausibility, but the names of some players were fictitious along with some of the game titles. The most improbably game title was "Ms Pac-Man Armor Attack," which was carried by the "Vanity Scoreboard" for about five months. Because scorekeeping was viewed as an impossible task, Electronic Games Magazine, one of the better magazines published during the golden age, was the only magazine that attempted to feature a scoreboard similar to that of Twin Galaxies. However, both Twin Galaxies and the editors of Electronic Games Magazine had no idea to what lengths kids would go to earn their own high score laurels. I considered the fall of the "Vanity Scoreboard" an ill omen. EGM's intentions were admirable, but still, they didn't have a close relationship to the public that allowed the implementation of a peer-reviewed verification process. Even Twin Galaxies, with its close proximity to the players, found the score verification process to be a difficult swim upstream. A year earlier, in 1982, I discovered that Twin Galaxies was doing no better than the "Vanity Scoreboard." We were failing as a scoreboard. I was getting an A+ in promotion and having the time of my life, but I was not monitoring the scores properly and much cheating was being uncovered. I'll paraphrase the words of David Boehm, editor for the U.S. edition of the Guinness Book of World Records, as he impressed upon me how stringent the verification process should be before someone receives a world title: "There is nothing the public won't do to get in any world record book!" Well, he had warned me and I now knew Twin Galaxies was facing a serious problem. Two events in 1982 brought the status of the scoreboard to my attention. The first was the discovery that almost every score on our full-color high score poster was false. I viewed it in a positive light; it was a much-needed wake-up call for the scoreboard. The second event was the discovery of Billy Mitchell in July of 1982. Or rather, he discovered us. It started with the phone ringing. A teenage voice at the other end said his name was Billy Mitchell and then asked about Donkey Kong. The score we were publishing at that time was submitted by Leo Daniels, of Wilmington, NC, who had registered a score of 398,000 points. Pat Byrne, night attendant, said, "Oh no, that score no longer stands as the world record. Someone near Kansas City has registered a score of 1.3 million points." Mitchell barked in the phone: "No way, there is nobody in the world who could possibly be as good as me at this game. And I only have 598,000 points." His reaction surprised Pat Byrne. "This is not right. That score is false," the voice continued. Pat Byrne said, "I'll go get Mr. Day." At this time, I was still living in "la-la" land and was having a difficult time with the idea that anyone would lie about a video game score. When I got on the phone, he told me his name was Billy Mitchell and then he denounced the score from Missouri. "I know this person," I said assuredly, "he is an upstanding player who lives in Missouri and who has even come to Twin Galaxies in person to play in front me." Then Billy shook my confidence in my statement; he explained how the game worked. How there were different stages which a person simply couldn't get through if they didn't know certain rules and moves. "I'll prove to you that I am right," Billy offered. "Give me the player's phone number and I'll ask him just two questions." I gave him the player's number and went back to my paperwork. The scoreboard was very busy that night with lots of calls coming in from all over North America and a few from other countries. Suddenly, I found myself talking to the Donkey Kong player from Missouri. He was noticeably upset. Right off he demanded, "Who was that guy?" "What guy?" I responded, having already forgotten about the Florida kid and his plans to ask "just two questions." "That kid who plays Donkey Kong. I think he's from Florida." Yes, Billy Mitchell had asked his two questions - and then some - and had gotten the Missouri kid in a worried sweat. The kid was smart and realized that Mitchell knew the game far better than he did and that the jig would soon be up. For the next ten months, the two played a cat-and-mouse game, with the Missouri player always having another reason why he couldn't play Billy face-to-face on Donkey Kong. (Finally, in May of 1983, the Missouri kid admitted in an open letter to the other players that many of his scores were not true.) Because of heavy phone traffic on the night Billy called the Missouri player, it took Billy an hour to get back to me. "He's a fraud," he said excitedly. "I guarantee it." "Wait a minute. He played in front of me," I protested. "Did you see his million points?" Billy argued angrily. "Well, no," I said evasively, "but he's got to be honest because no one would lie about a video game score." Dead silence on the other end of the line. Billy said softly, "You've got to be kidding. I call video game players on their lies on a daily basis. I am the enforcer down here in Ft Lauderdale at the Grand Prix arcade. I can figure out any game - no one can beat me on anything." This was annoying. Here was the first kid I had met who wasn't awestruck by talking to "Mr. Video Game." And he was only seventeen years old. "What does that have to do with Donkey Kong?" I said, desperately trying to find a comeback. "Isn't it possible that a player gets lucky?" Billy gave me a long lecture, that actually lasted for about a year. He opened my eyes with his persuasive explanations. He demonstrated time and time again how luck didn't play a role in video game scores. "Players who don't know a game," Billy said, "suppose that anybody can get the high score on a lucky day. Thus deluded, they feel safe in lying about their scores." Billy demonstrated how easy it was to spot fraud. Every game had bottlenecks in the game play, he pointed out, and a player didn't get through by relying on luck. They had to know the game inside and out. Furthermore, at each bottleneck, a maximum number of points were possible and no more. A player who had mastered a game would know this. A fibber wouldn't. "Give me another player to call and I will show you what I mean," Billy pleaded one night. By chance, a Canadian player had just called to report 402,000 on Ms Pac-Man. Normally, I would have congratulated him on his new status as the top player and send him straight to Joystik and Video Games Magazine for a listing. "OK," I said to Billy. "You're on. Let's see what you can find out about this new Ms Pac-Man score." I felt like I was throwing that Canadian to the lions. I was already impressed with Billy's reasoning capabilities and arguing prowess and knew that if the Canadian was lying, Billy would unmask him immediately. I expected Billy to be diplomatic because, in a sense, he was representing the scoreboard and refined sensitivity was required. Unbeknownst to me, Billy started out by saying to the player, "Don't you lie to me." The Canadian was astonished. "Oh, no," he protested. "I really got this score. Really." "No chance," Billy answered with absolute finality. Billy explained to me later, "I wanted to give the guy a chance to save face, if he was willing to just came clean with me. Eventually he did and actually turned out to be a good player. You might say I rehabilitated him." The Canadian was claiming 402,000. The Ms Pac-Man record was 419,000 by Tom Asaki at this time. Billy, himself, had only 401,000. Billy said, "What board stops turning blue?" "Uh, I don't pay attention, I just play," the Canadian said. Billy Mitchell's Golden Rule #1: Anybody who says that they don't notice anything because "they just play," is lying. A good player notices everything and remembers everything. They know all the signposts and dangers and execute highly complicated strategies that involve tremendous mental focus and non-stop alertness. This applies to all games, not just Ms Pac-Man. There are no blissful "space cases" out there who "just play" and get world records. No one accidentally gets the highest score on Mortal Kombat 3 or Killer Instinct 2. A huge investment of time, money and experience goes behind each new world record. The catch-22 is that the blissful space cases - because they don't know the game's intricacies - have no inkling that there are intricacies and presume world records are achieved by being great guys who "just play" and get lucky. So, Billy asked the Canadian about levels, timing, sequencing of events and, most importantly, strategies. The Canadian couldn't answer. "I don't remember," he said. Billy explained to him he could not get 402,00, because of what he didn't know and what he could not execute. However, Billy added, "I know how good you are and I am willing to help you get better, but I want you to be honest with me. I want to know what your high score really is so I can start you on the right level." The Canadian confessed to 365,000 points. "No, you didn't," said Mitchell. Billy then explained why he couldn't have reached that plateau. "Well, I actually got lucky and got 278,000," the Canadian said cautiously, fearful of what would come next. Frustrated, Billy said solemnly, "No one gets lucky on Ms Pac-Man. I want to know what you actually got as a high score." The Canadian still protested, claiming he was telling the truth. Mitchell began to instruct him, pointing out game strategies needed for the 270,00 level, demonstrating how the Canadian did not know the game dynamics needed to reach that score. "After two hours of this, he finally admitted to 214,000 points, which I believed to be true," Billy later told me. "To get 214,000 was unbelievable, you would turn heads in any arcade in the world. This would put you in the top one percent in the world." Billy then decided that there was no need to cut him down any more and started training him in the ways of Ms Pac-Man. What Billy said was true: "Somehow, when it came to video games, people weren't satisfied. They didn't want to be in the top one percent, they wanted to be gods, better than the best - so they cheated." The difference between a good player and a great player was that when the good player saw something happen in the game and he died, he would shrug his shoulders and walk away. "The great player," Billy lectured, "would learn from the mistake and not make the mistake again." The great player would be a keen observer who would analyze everything to gain knowledge. Challenging worked in reverse, too. It was not always the scoreboard that was checking on the public. We were challenged, also. When we visited Sega in San Diego, CA, in August of 1983, an arcade in town dared us to come and prove that we could get some of the high scores claimed by the team members. One kid was absolutely hostile to Billy, refusing to believe that he could get a stratospheric score on Ms Pac-Man. I'm surprised a fight didn't break out before Billy started his game. It took over an hour before Billy reached the higher levels that the challenger couldn't reach himself. Billy matched the challenger's highest score on his first man. Then he said, "Watch this," and grouped all the monsters, moving them all over the screen at will, keeping them under complete control. The kid was hypnotized. He was astounded. When we first arrived, he was vocally shouting threats and swearing at us. Now he was smiling and shouting at the top of his lungs: "Everybody, look at this, this guy's unbelievable." On another occasion, three kids in Bethalto, IL, called the scoreboard reporting Ms Pac-Man scores in the high 200,000 range. They challenged Billy Mitchell's record, and even went to Florida to watch Billy and Chris Ayra, the reigning Ms Pac-Man world-champion, play in person. "Every time we were held to the test," Billy noted, "those of us who were under the gun prevailed. I don't think any of the team players ever slipped through the cracks and blew a challenge." Since most of the details of the TGTS are in the rules section (Part I: The Rules of the Games) and don't need to be repeated here, I am going to describe a few of Twin Galaxies' journeys through the wide world of score verifying. To start our journey, we need to go back to the phone call with the extraordinary Dan Guttman, editor of Computer Games magazine based in New York. In September of 1983, Guttman had expressed interest in publishing an article I would write for Computer Games magazine about a secret trip, which was planned as a score-checking tour. Dan was fascinated by my plans to do a surprise inspection of the troops and make players perform in front of me to prove their scores were genuine. We planned to arrive in town, unannounced, and do a reality check. This approach, we hoped, would eliminate fraudulent scores. For this trip, we chose about eight scores which seemed puzzling or doubtful in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC. On September 15, 1983, I left Ottumwa for Miami to pick up Billy Mitchell and head for the Japanese Embassy. As usual, on the way I stopped in arcades in Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, making contacts and handing out Twin Galaxies literature. On the way back up to DC, we visited Steve Burnett and Leo Daniels at World Class Amusements in Wilmington, NC, where we did media interviews to bring them publicity. World Class Amusements had donated some money to Twin Galaxies and we, in return, were crowning them the "Video Game Capital of North Carolina." While in Wilmington, NC, we were also going to check on 11-year-old Charlie Brown's score of 303,000 on Ms Pac-Man. Interestingly, he arrived with his playing hand in a cast and couldn't play. Before we moved on to Washington, DC, additional television coverage was obtained for World Class Amusements when Billy broke the world record on Ms Pac-Man with 557,000 points. At the train station in Washington, DC, we picked up Tom Asaki, the star of Nibbler, who had arisen from the ashes of defeat to join our score-checking commando unit. The three of us were now prepared to knock on people's doors and make them replay their games. We were going to start checking scores in Maryland. In the course of one week driving around Virginia and Maryland, we learned that out of the eight scores, two people didn't even exist, two others went into hiding, two refused to even deal with us and the remaining two couldn't prove their scores. The Pac-Man player in Maryland took the cake. He worked in an arcade and had received a lot of media attention for claiming twelve million points on Pac-Man. It was this meeting that lead to the Player's Agreement on today's high score submission form that all players have to sign. To understand why we considered this score significant you have to realize that the Pac-Man game ends at screen 256, "the kill screen." However, during the first year and a half of collecting scores, no one knew that Pac-Man ended at screen 256 and that a score of no more than 3.2 million was possible. Nonetheless, rumors were constantly circulating America that there was a "doorway" through the final screen that allowed a player to get through and continue onward. Being open-minded, I thought, "Let's go see the Maryland player and have him show us how he does it so we'll either prove the rumor is true or spike it." When we walked in the door and announced we were there to check on his score, his eyes bugged out and the Maryland player went berserk. Gosh, all I asked was that he show us how he got through screen 256. Well, it looked like he probably couldn't prove his claims, because he really laid into us. He was outraged. He refused to play for us and berated us for being low people who had hearts filled with distrust for their fellow man. We were thoroughly denounced. He shouted, "This is not holy! You are low people." I said "OK" in a mild voice and we left. I saw this as a learning experience. In one way I sympathized with the players. They should know from day one that they could be challenged and be asked to replay their games in front of witnesses approved by the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. Not to mislead any player, I have placed a disclaimer in our modern form. When you read the score submission form now handed out by Twin Galaxies, maybe you can see the memory of the Maryland event imprinted in each word. A final ironic note: we eventually learned no one could get through screen 256. The player is faced with a final dead-end which cannot be circumvented. Overall, I was very pleased with our trip to Maryland and looked forward to writing the article for Computer Games magazine. Unfortunately, before I took the time to write the article, the magazine crumpled along with the rest of the surrounding countryside. Tom Asaki drove back with me to Ottumwa. On the second night home, I returned to the arcade late. I banged on the back door for quite some time but got no response. Then the door suddenly flew open with a bang. A wide-eyed Asaki hissed, "Quick, come!" and ran back to the game room. There, I discovered he had parked the Ms Pac-Man in a temporary safe place while answering my knock. Though Tom appeared cool, I now knew him well enough to know he was absolutely wired with excitement. "Walter," he said, "No player has ever got past 300,000 on their first man before. Look!" I leaned over fast to see what was going on in time to see the score counter click over to 400,000 points. "On your first man," I breathed. "Unbelievable." I watched for awhile then suddenly said, "Oops! I should be logging this." I reached for a Ms Pac-Man form - specially designed to log Ms Pac-Man scores. The first entry I wrote down said 444,860 points on board 47. He was doing great. Unfortunately, my sudden arrival had gotten him all excited - he died four boards later on board 51 with a score of 461,750. He had broken his old personal high of 419,910 points on his first man. A new threshold was conquered. I reached for the phone. I called Billy first. "I'm here with Asaki. I mean I'm literally here, right beside him. He just passed 461,000 points on his first man." I didn't even have to say what game it was. He knew. The top game in the world during this era was Ms Pac-Man. In the words of Ben Gold, video game champ to the stars, "Whoever holds the title on Ms Pac-Man is the heavyweight champion of the world." I stood for two-and-a-half hours watching Asaki, with the phone cradled on my shoulder, giving Billy a move-by-move account of Asaki's ride into stardom. Finally, Tom Asaki, the Ironman of Nibbler, got tired. His second man was lost at 493,870 - on board 59. The third guy lasted until board 84 at 621,470. In the ninth hour of play, he made a false move on board 98 and lost the game at 681,130 points. It was a bittersweet ending as he had only nine dots left on the board when the monsters got him. Asaki, always smooth, merely said, "Good." He smiled and went to bed. I was too tired to talk so I also went to bed while the phone tribe hooked up their usual conference. The next morning found me back in the groove, drowning in Twin Galaxies paperwork. Joyce and Cheryl Litch and Pat Byrne, the managers of Twin Galaxies, had done an excellent job of processing scoreboard mail and had laid out all the letters that needed my attention. By mid-morning I was reading a letter from a Ms Pac-Man player. The letter said: "There's a person who follows me around, erasing my high scores off every game I play right after I am done playing." "Ah-hah!" I thought. Interference! Now, this is a new problem for the scoreboard to deal with. The author of the letter seemed about fourteen years old. His letter included a long list of Ms Pac-Man scores which were extremely high, bordering on the unbelievable. After sending the player a note of encouragement, I filed the letter for future reference. When Steve Harris, Chris Ayra and Billy arrived a couple months later for Coronation Day, I pulled the letter out again. "This would be a great piece to work on together," I announced. The players read the letter, one after the other. "The problem, here," said Chris, "is that these scores aren't even real. They're bogus." Ms Pac-Man was the easiest game to unmask players who reported fraudulent scores. We knew that people could not get past 200,000 easily. And 300,000 was virtually impossible unless you knew how to "group." Billy laughed. "This player has no sense of how Ms Pac-Man works. He's claiming three different games per day in the 250,000 to 380,000 range. That's absurd. I can't even do that." Chris Ayra jumped on the most telling point: "It takes one hour for a great player to reach 100,000 points. A lesser player would take a lot longer, of course." The letter said something like this: "Yesterday, I got 269,000 at the Quik-Mart, but a kid banged the machine until my score blanked out. So I went down to Easters Supermarket and got 378,240, but the kid followed me there, too, and did the same thing to that score. This is why nobody else is available to confirm my scores because they are being removed immediately by this kid, whose name I don't even know." This had to be the most interesting excuse the scoreboard had ever received regarding problems with score verification. The next page listed an entire week's worth of Ms Pac-Man playing, listing three high scores achieved every day. I started writing down numbers. "OK," I said. "If it takes one hour for every 100,000 points, and this kid's scores add up to 900,000 accumulated points per day, he's got to be playing nine hours per day. Right?" "It would take longer," interjected Billy, "because some boards are so difficult that we spend twenty minutes on them alone." "Nine hours of play per day," I thought. "Don't these kids think things out when they send in false scores?" "I understand now," I said in a dramatic voice, "This kid is a higher being and he is not affected by the forces of time and space." In video game circles, he will forever be remembered as "The Man That Time Forgot." Ms Pac-Man was the litmus test to monitor scores. If any scores aroused my suspicions, I casually asked the player for his Ms Pac-Man score. This was a trick question, because no self-respecting video game addict during the golden age would admit to not playing Ms Pac-Man. Having a good Ms Pac-Man score was necessary to prove yourself in the early '80s. But, the best way to ferret out fraud was the peer-reviewed method. For instance, in North Carolina in 1984, player after player contacted me privately to tell me how different players (remaining unnamed) cheated on their scores. Of course, I had to hear the accused player's side of the story, too, but it was good to be alerted to potential problems. It was appropriate that the scoreboard got tough. After all my adventures in verifying scores, the player's statement was the most valuable outcome. It made today's submission form a more powerful tool in the scorekeeping process. It says: According to scoreboard rules, my score can be challenged by another player who has just cause to believe that my score is not correct or that the settings were not TGTS. The challenger must be a contender on this same game. If challenged, I agree to replay my game in my own town in front of witnesses approved by the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard. If I refuse to replay my game, I understand that Twin Galaxies has the right to remove my score from the record book. The replay must be completed within one year. Or, to be published, it must be replayed in time for the deadline of the next edition of Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records or the score may be deleted from the book. I understand that I am welcome to unlimited attempts at replaying before the book deadline. I sign this form with the understanding that my score can be challenged only one time and accept this condition. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is more of the Bozeman Montana Strategies for beating Ms. Pacman Link The Below Article from the Bozeman Montana Think Tank Group: ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- II. Monster Characters { These characterizations are valid for the original game, as well as some of the other sequels, found in the arcades. They do not necessarily hold true for game machines, such as Super Nintendo } Understanding the habits of the monsters is an invaluable tool for mastery of the game. Spending time to learn the general rules and putting them into practice will be rewarding. Simple movements when executed with a steady hand and mind can amaze those who are watching. In a free-lance situation nothing can be more helpful than knowing having an idea of where the monsters are going to go. The most important reason for knowing monster character is to develop routines, hiding places (holds), grouping techniques, and leading to energizers { for a 3,000 point addition } are all results of character study. The methods presented in this text are not the only possibilities. With help from this chapter you can develop your own methods more suitable to your needs. Several ideas will be brought out here including: reversals; speed; direction; individuality; and the "red fake". II. A. Reversals Doubleback, pattern switch, snap, and turn around are all common names for the same thing. I will call this event a reversal. A reversal is simply when alt four monsters simultaneously reverse their direction without loss of speed. This can be dangerous movement especially if you happen to be behind a monster at the time. A reversal will occur only for two distinct reasons: 1) natural occurrence; 2) upon eating an energizer. Natural reversals occur during the play of each individual maze. Two of these are present very quickly. The first reversal is only five seconds into the play of the maze. The second reversal is twenty seconds later. The next reversal will: occur after approximately 20 minutes, and thereafter every 20 min. However, it is highly unusual for anyone to stay on one maze for more than 10 minutes. Thus, in practice, you will not witness the third reversal. Upon the completion of a maze the natural reversal timer is reset. In other words, each maze will have its own set of identical reverses regardless of any previous action. The natural reversal timer resets after death. Reversals are also created by eating en energizer. In most cases the monsters will turn blue and in some cases they will not; nevertheless, they will always perform a reversal. These (energizer reversals can only affect the natural reversal timer in one way: after that the second natural reversal is three seconds in the future at that time you eat an energizer turning the monsters blue for five seconds. Since blue (monsters never naturally reverse the required reversal must be postponed! Indeed during the monsters' blue time the natural reversal timer is not running. The reversal thus occurs five seconds later. II. B. Speed First let us consider how fast Ms. Pac-Man travels compared to the monsters. At the beginning of each board there is a de-finite relationship. It is important to note that all four monsters travel at exactly the same speed until a later stage of the maze. Speed relationships beginning of the maze Mazes Comments 1 Ms. Pac-Man slightly faster 2-4 Speeds nearly equal 5-20 Monsters slightly faster 21+ Monsters faster Ms. Pac-men is slowed when eating dots and can be caught much quicker. She can, however, corner much better than the monsters. In fact, she can corner so much better she can gain a lot of ground very quickly by turning several quick corners . This phenomenon is nor as pranced after the 20th maze. The most important element concerning monster speed is that of 'cruise elroy', the term (cruise elroy' is not import-ant. But i have yet to hear a more creative name. It will be necessary to define the 'red point' thus: the red point is that number of dots left on the maze at which red begins a faster pace than the rest of the monsters. Red point-- example of red point--- (third maze) { I don't remember what this meant } Maze red point dots left % of normal speed* 1 (non existent) 100 100 2-5 7 70 100 6-8 39 40 100 9-11 49 39 105 12-14 59 30 110 12-14 69 20 115 15-17 79 10 120 18 up 89 5 125 * estimates for comparisons { not necessarily acurate to true game speeds, only aproximate} Notice. By the chart, that. The first maze has no red point. The strawberry board however has a red point of 7. This means that if 8 dots remain on the strawberry board all four monsters will still travel exactly the same speed. If one dot is eaten the red point has been reached and red will speed up slightly. If more dots are eaten red will move slightly faster yet. When red speeds up he { well at least we fondly called him this :) } is fondly nicknamed 'cruise elroy'. II. C. Decision Points Remember that the monsters are not even a little intelligent they know very little about their surroundings. They do not know what the maze looks like. Only when they have a choice of directions. When they turn their eyes turn before they do. The decision point is where the monster makes her decision to t urn. The above paragraph is very important. It will: be used to explain and describe other things later in this chapter. Make sure you completely understand each idea.' II. D. Beginning a Maze There seems to be total chaos for the first 5 seconds of any maze. This is not altogether true. Each monster follows a predetermined plan: Red and Pink : follow a random path regardless of any action taken by the player. Green and sue: follow predetermined paths that never vary (just as in Pac-Man). On the first two mazes. However, most of this five seconds is spent in the box. II. E. The ghosts II. E. 1. Blinky - the Red Monster Red, known sometimes as Blinky, is seen by many as the most aggressive and most dangerous. His nickname, 'shadow', amplifies this. His billing is too harsh, however. His movements are simple to describe and he can be easy to dodge. The first rule to remember is this: red always tries to shorten either the horizontal or vertical distance between him-self and Ms. Pac-Man, whichever is longer. This rule applies regardless of the maze configuration. In the example. See plate A { use top right of mazes 3,4,5 }, red is looking for Ms. Pac-Man.. She is coming up to point, which is a decision point. At point B { just left of top right energizer } red looks at point a to make her decisions. She notices that 5 dots separate her from Ms. Pac-Man { picture Ms Pac-Man 5 dots down the very top tunnel } horizontally likewise three dots separate point a from Ms. Pac-Man vertically therefore by the first rule, stated above. Red will take the horizontal path towards point F { traveling under Ms Pac-Man and beyond the energizer } . Notice that this is not advantageous to red in the least { Ms Pac-Man is in a complete different path, one level up }. It does; nevertheless follow the rule. Be careful in understanding this! The horizontal distance is greater so red chooses the horizontal path. This is the general. Idea governing all: of red's movements the question then arises: what if both the horizontal and vertical distances are equal this apparent dilemma is solved by red's priority order. Which is simply this: if red is faced with more than one possibility he chooses the direction with the highest priority (from highest to lowest: up. Left. Down. Right). So in our previous example if the distances had been equal then red would have turned up for up is of higher priority than to continue right { on the mazes given as example Ms Pac-Man would have been forced through the tunnel, to the other side of the board with Red in pursuit } In example A. Plate B. Red is at a decision point. He notices that both horizontal and vertical distances from point B to Ms. Pac-Man are the same. They are both 3 dots long. The rules say he must take the longer. But neither is longer! He then turns to his priority order . His options are to either go down or go to the right. He chooses to go down. In example B. Plate C, the same situation arises. Except now red's choices are left or down. Since left is of higher priority she continues to the left. When she reaches intersection d she waste no time in capturing Ms. Pac-Man. In example C, plate D, red has the interesting option to go up or down at D. Following the priority order we find that up is of a higher priority red turns up. An important fact to bear in mind is that red performs his actions. Without regard to any other monsters. As you will see the green one is not this way. II. E. 2. Pinky - The Pink Monster Pink has been erroneously nicknamed speedy. At no time is she ever any faster than the other ghosts. She is however very crafty and very harmless. Her movements are not as simple to predict. An interesting observation about pink is that she can make quick decisions. This means that her decision point seems to be closer to the intersection than red. The truth of the preceding statement is a matter of much debate and we will leave it up to the reader. Another point of debate concerning pink is the existence of her memory in some instances it appears that pink is guided only by a past knowledge of the movements of Ms. Pac-Man. In other words pink wilt do two different things in the same situation depending on how that situation was reached. All questions aside let us lay down some ground rules to describe the behavior of pink. The first section will deal with pink while Ms. Pac-Man is stationary. The second section will deal with moving characteristics. Pink is rarely a danger. But is better described as a bother. When Ms. Pac-Man is stationary she is accurately described as stupid. The first rule to remember is this: when pink is very distant from Ms. Pac-Man she becomes like red. Very distant means a good two-thirds the distance across the bottom of the board. This means that pink follows all of the rules governing the actions of red. If pink is closer her movements can be altered by the player.. Furthermore, if pink is in the near vicinity of Ms. Pac-Man. She is very controllable. When Ms. Pac-Man is stationary pink will try her best to move in front of her. Mote that in each example here pink moves to the front of Ms. Pac-Man. Notice that at each intersection pink makes the choice to get in front Ms. Pac-Man. (see plates e1-e4). However pink has no choice but follow to the corner. The end of an arrow along with the beginning of the next represents a decision. What does pink do if she is already in front of Ms. Pac-Man? Example d shows that pink is quite bashful. This example has many exceptions and is generally not of much use. This behavior is more typical of the next section. While Ms. Pac-Man is in motion pink still retains her desire to get in front of her. Pink is also noted for her parallel running as is illustrated in example e. If pink is trailing Ms. Pac-Man very closely she will not loose the trail. Example e shows pink's desire to heed off Ms. Pac-Man had pink been much closer to the intersection marked i she would have turned into it. Thus, being in front of Ms. Pac-Man had pink been much farther behind she would follow the indicated path. As mentioned pink will not loose the trail of Ms. Pac-men if she is very close. Notice, however that in example f pink is easily tricked. In this case pink is net very close to Ms. Pac-Man. When Ms. Pac-Man turns to the right, pink in an effort to get in front also turns right. II. E. 3. Inky - The Green Monster Inky, or green, is by far the most complicated monster. Her behavior is so complex that at best a brief description will be given. The character of green is dependent on her position relative to red. When green is very close to red. Green takes on a character nearly identical to red. As green moves away from red, her own personal characteristics become visible. When green is distant from red she becomes unique in her actions. It is this character that i will describe here. Just as red has a priority order so has green. Hers, how-ever; is quite different. The direction most preferred by green is right followed by left. Down, and up. Green follows all of the rules set down in the section on red's priority order. Green uses her own priority order provided that red is distant.. Just as pink tries to stay in front of Ms. Pac-Man, green tries to stay on the flank. She is a very good parallel runner. If green has the option to turn wide or to cut in she will turn wide. This is illustrated on plate f. Green also has the distinction of being very bashful. The best examples are plate 61.62. It must be remembered that red cannot be too close to the action. The direction of Ms. Pac-men must also be unwavering. She cannot deviate from a straight and steady course. A common cause of death in a situation like this is panic. Moving the joystick wildly does not confuse the monsters!. It simply leaves to chance what you could have had complete control over. Plate h shows greens true cowardice this is not indicative of all similar situations, but is useful as a last resort escape. You will also find that plate D, in the pink section , is a useful tool with green. This situation also has exceptions end should not be trusted without testing. II. E. 4. Sue - The Brown Monster Sue is the easiest monster to describe. She is infallibly predictable. Her movements are not random. The following sentence describes sue's character in its entirety: She follows a particular predetermined course dependent only upon the position of Ms. Pac-Man the examples are many. It should be sufficient to let the reader explore for himself. In this way you will become more familiar with her 'habits'. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- III. Boards III. A. The Junior Boards {These are the first set of boards that occur after the Jr. cartoon. This refers to both the dark blue and brown boards, with the exits to the side of the ghost start box. } III. A. 1. Energizers and Holds Then energizers and where located on board: 1 is below point 45 (refer to plate 4); 2 is below point 46; 3 is above point 5 (also known as sues corner); 4 (is above point 11. We suggest that you leave energizer 1 till last, eating the other three in any order. To prevent cruise Elroy you should leave many dots. On the first two boards you can eat all of the bottom if you leave the top dots (except for the necessary dots). On the third and fourth junior boards you need to leave about 12 to 20 dots on the bottom, following the same top rule. The next time the junior boards come around you need to leave 30 -40 dots on the bottom. There is one hold on this board with two variations. The first variation places you in position 9 facing down. Only three monster will be together in this hold: red, green, pinky. The groups pattern will be 1,2,4,6,7. Sue's pattern will be 4,27,22,21,15,14,8,6. The second variation is identical except that sue is with the group... To change from one variation to another it is very simple. To go from variation one to variation two, wait until sue and the group cross at 4, wait for group to get to 7. Move directly to 8. Wait for sue to decide from 22 to 27, move back to 9. From variation 2 to variation one, wait till group at 1. Move to 8, when group nearing 2 move toward 6 (sue should travel up). Return to 9. Sue will now travel 2,3,28,26,27,4 . When sue is at 27 move to 8. When sue is at 2 move to 9. III. A. 2. How to eat the energizers Energizer 1 (see above). You want hold variation 2. The best situation would put sue and red one body length behind the other two ghosts. When ghost get to 7 take the following path to the energizer: 9,8,14,15,16,18,29,3o,31,34,33,4o,41,45 (non-stop). The ghost will follow on path: 7,1,2,4.27,22,23.20, 19,36,35**47,37,39, 4o,41,47 (** sue will deviate here to a path). You will arrive first at the energizer. When the group is nearly on to of you eat the energizer then the ghosts. Energizer 2. You also want hold variation 2 here. The best group puts only sue one body length behind. When the ghosts are at 7 start a 9,8,14,15,16,18,29,3o,33 { i think this is an error in the original manuscript, should be 30,31,34,33-don} (wait for pink to go up at 35. But watch sue she will turn if you do not leave soon enough).32,46. The ghost will travel along a 20,19,36,35,47.37,38,36,19,18.29,30***,46 (*** sue deviates to go to 31). Eat ene rgizer as soon as ghost almost on top of dot. On boards 12.13.18 you are cautioned against chasing sue if she travels down at 30. Energizer 3. For this energizer you want all the ghosts traveling in hold variation 2. With the group close to one ghost. When ghosts in between 7 and 1 move to 7. Wait till ghost come down at 4. Then move to 5. Let ghosts get close and turn to eat them. Energizer 4. For this energizer you want the ghosts in hold variation 1. When sue and group cross near 8 and 6 move to 10. Fake up and stall here. This will let pink and green to come down the channel at 10-13. When they do this move to 11 (watch sue). Wait for ghost to get near then eat energizer end turn to eat the ghosts. Path of group: 7,1,2,4,6,8.14,13, 10.11; path of sue 8,6,4,27,22,21,15,14,8,9,10,13. ** ** if you get a cruise elroy before eating all four energizers try to eat less dots. It is very important to eat the ghost. Try to eat energizer 1 last. Especially on the 18th board III. A. 3. Clearing Technique for 21st end all similar boards Get all the ghost grouped. Remember you will travel faster if you can eat some dots in paths you will be using (i.e. The path around the tunnel). For this technique to work it will be necessary to eat some dots before putting the group in the hold to start a pattern. These paths are: 44,43,42,39,37,47,35,34,31 ,30,29 28,25,26,44 29,18,16,17 26,27 ,4,6,8, 9 16,15,14,8,9 17,13,14 The tunnel wilt be useful to get rid of some of these dots. For more on how to get rid of these see further hints. (put the group in hold variation 1 then follow given path. Be prepared to freelance if necessary. Path: 9(1). 8.9(2).,16,18,29,30,31,32,33,40,33,34,33, 32.46(4),30,29(5) ,44,45.41 .40.41 .,40(6),33,34,31, 7.28,3.2,3,5.1 (1) wait until ghost pass to follow. (2) return here immediately wait for ghost to 7 (3) wait till red *almost* turns right at 14 (4) wait till group in 40.33 path (5) leave from right side to left side of tunnel when red is at 18 or just before (6) most dangerous task left (clear bottom) ** you may need to wing it from here. III. A. 4. Jr Hints III. A. 4. a. From The Hold Problem : want to move pink up four body lengths or she breaks off in faking sue. Solution: flip right then left at 9 and pink will pass over head. Works anytime pink comes down 14-18 path. From variation 2 to move sue and/or pink up four just follow the ghost around path To move sue back four body lengths wait at 7 till group at 4. Move back to hold ( Green must be within one body length of red for the holds to work. III. A. 4. b. Grouping On the junior boards. You group the ghosts(pink, red, and green) before going to the hold. You can group sue once at the hold. Start the boards by heeding to the bottom right tunnel cross through to 28. Wait for the first double back. Then get pink, red, and green to left half of board. Go to 17 and start going 17,16,18,29,44,25,26,28,17,etc. Stall at 28-17 and 29-44 to get as many ghosts as possible to follow you. After the second double beck, reverse the path in the tunnels. Get as many ghost to follow you as possible. Once you get red . Green. And pink to follow you in and out of every tunnel you can start to refine the group. You can be in either 17-17 pattern above. Although the second is better. When going from the bottom right to the bottom left tunnel take in the ghosts closets to you. But don't allow the beck ghost to follow( this is done by being on the right side of the tunnel for the first ghost and the left side for the back ghosts) The front ghosts will go 16-17-28-25-44 , right behind you and the back ghosts will go 16,15,21,20,23,24,25,44 and start following you again. The back ghosts will pick up one body length on the front ghosts. This can be repeated until the desired group is obtained. (i.e. Pink. Red and blue are all together). Watch sue very carefully in grouping this way. She may follow you into a tunnel or she may harass you when you are following a 17.28.26... path watch when you are 28 and 26 for sue at 23-24, for at this point she will come over to position 25. Which is in your path. If you have a ghost pink. Green. End red 4 body lengths ahead you can group without using a 17-17 cycle. This is done by being in the lower tunnel 17-28. The ghost will travel near the box when grouped. If you are on the 17 side when they reach 19 they will go to 18, instead of if you when they pass 20 they will go At this point they will turn to 25 if you are on the 28 side, else they will cycle the box. Experiment with this for a while and it will become clear. To move to the hold from 28 you have several choices: Group at 23, move 17,16,15,14 (or Let ghost follow you through the tunnel at 17. Mover 17.28.26. You may have to hesitate between 4 and 6 to keep pink from traveling 27-22. III. A. 4. c. Misc. To clear get the monsters to follow you through the tunnel at 28,25,44 and lead them around. The same is true of the right side symmetric to this path. Mirror the path. If you get to 47 before the ghost get to 39 coming from 29. 44,43,42,39,37,47, the ghosts will go to 40.33.34. This gives you time to get the dots above the box. If in need don't forget the hold at 9. If being pursued across the top and some ghosts are (below you go all the way over to the edge of the screen or use 40.33,34 (33.40.39) if safe.. Watch sue here. She wilt come up 43-45 end use 18-29-31. Follow ghosts after second double beck. If desperate for a move. If ghosts above 2 crosses adjacent to the box going out to the edge of the screen. Travel below the tunnel to fake them into the top tunnel. If some ghosts are far enough behind you where you have a choice to take them in or not, (use this rule: if danger on the other side don't take them in otherwise do. III. B. The Chase boards { These are sometimes also refered to as the banana boards. They are the third and fifth set of boards, and beyond. Their colors are red and pink. } III. B. 1. Holds and Grouping Hold 1 : to get the ghosts into hold 1, make sure that red, green, and pink ghosts are above the 41,39,38,37,36,35,40,34 line. Then. Just sit at 41 facing up. The above three ghosts should go around a loop. Sue will usually go around a loop. To group the ghosts. You first them into hold l. Then. Gradually move them closer together. Using a short move. If the three are more than 5 body length apart. Go through the tunnel to 34 and wait for a ghost to pass 46 but before he is at 48. Then go to the hold position. Repeat until: the three ghosts are within 5 body lengths. Now there are two basic grouping moves. 1 move: move ghosts two body lengths closer together: When front ghost or ghosts just about reach 53, move through tunnel to 34 wait for the three ghosts to be between 46. And 48 and then return to the hold. In this move the front group should go 53.52,43,44.45,46, and back to the hold. The back group should go And back to the hold position. 2 move: move ghosts one body length closer together: When front group reaches 53. Go down end back up quickly. The front group should go 53,52,43,37,38,39,42,52,53,50, and back to hold. When the front group reaches between 37 and 38 go through the tunnel end wait until the new group reaches 50. Then go back to the hold position. The back group should go 53. 52,42,57,58,53.50 end back to the hold. The previous moves are the major moves used. But there are many others. Don't be afraid to use your own moves. The first thing to perfect is getting the ghosts above the 39.38.37,36,35.40 line. The second is to get pink, red, end green on top of each other. III. B. 2. How to eat the energizers One important move for three of the four energizers is getting sue up with the group. To do this takes split second timing end a little practice. When the group is at 42 and sue is just before 37 leave to 34 and wait for the group of four ghosts to form end come to 46. The path of the three ghosts should be 42,57,58,53,50,44,45.46 and the path of sue should be 37.38,,45,46 to be a successful catch. The top left energizer 1600: catch sue as mentioned before for a perfect group of three. When the group passes 46 leave back through the tunnel to 41 then to 39.42.60. Now, wait until ghosts about to eat you. Then go up to energizer end back to eat the ghost. The bottom left energizer 1600: catch sue. Wait for the group of four ghosts to pass 46. Go through tunnel end down to intersection 2 by passing the energizer.. Go up to 3 and sit. Facing right. When the ghosts pass 8 to sit at 4. Wait for ghosts, eat energizer and beck up to eat ghosts. The perfect group is all four ghosts on top of each other. The bottom right energizer 1600: catch sue. Wait for ghosts to pass 46. Go Sit down at 10 until the group reaches 28. Move 10,11,14,16,17.18, 21. Wait for the ghost, eat energizer, back up to eat ghost. The perfect group is all four ghosts as one. The top right energizer 1600: wait for the group to be at 42 at the same time sue is at 28. Move 41,34,40 when sue is at 28. Stall about a half second(waiting for sue to be a half body length from 36). Move 40,47,48,54,55,56, wait for all four ghosts end eat them on energizer. III. B. 3. Clean up To clean the top, wait for the group of three to reach 60. Move 41,39,42,60,57. Stalling here is important, but not to long, move 57,58,53 end to whatever top dots you went to get. Repeat until all top dots are gone. To clean the bottom: the last dots to be eaten should be those in the bottom left corner. Wait for the group to reach 60. Move 41,30,7,8,6,10,11,15,12. Wait for the group to reach 2. Move to 13. Wait till ghost are at 2 again. Move 14,16,17,18,19. Wait for red to go from 14 toward 13. Move 20,21,22,23,33,34,41 and regroup. When all three reach 60 move 41,30,7,8,6,10,27,10 (stall a second),10,11,14,16,26,24, 25,32,33,34. Now get the bottom right hand corner. III. B. 4. Chase hints III. B. 4. a. General Chase hints Start these boards by heeding directly to the top right tunnel. Do not go around the bottom loop! When cleaning up, don't bite off more then you can chew. (several passes are safer). If the red ghost has sped up start the moves with pink end green together end red about 3 body lengths behind. If a ghost follows you through the tunnel, drop down instantly to loose him. III. B. 4. b. 22nd and similar boards head to top right tunnel and group the ghosts. Wait for second double back. Clear bottom except bottom left corner first. Try to eat the two dots between 6 end 8 while doing hint 3 eat top left energizer by going 41,39,42,6o energizer end then back out the same way you entered. Get a group and clear top as you did before. Eat top right energizer by going 58,53,50,51,49,54,55,56, 47,40,34.41. Eat bottom left last by decoying the ghosts to the top right corner and use the tunnel to get down to the energizer a long time before them. III. C. Peach, Pretzel, Apple Boards { Don't get discouraged if the Apple board gives you problems. It is my humble opinion that after the boards we call the ninth key boards this is the toughest board. } III. C. 1. Opening Opening of the board: stay clear of the host maybe go to the top right hand tunnel at position 1. If red and green are together this is a hold position. You can group from this position. We do not group this way though, but you can develop techniques like many other people. { in later years i used this hold to group for the upper right - don } III. C. 2. Grouping III. C. 2. a. Bottom Use the tunnel efficiently to get the red, green and pink ghosts together. A helpful hint for grouping green and red is to sit at 2 or 3 until greens eyes go up. Then go out the tunnel. If sue follows you out left tunnel move up and she will continue straight then down. Perfect the trick for green on the peach before attempting to do on apple. Use positions 2 and 3 to figure out other grouping moves (watch the ghost closely.) Pink is effected by the direction of Ms. Pac-man is facing on these boards. {III. C. 2. b. Top From the top hold it is actually fairly simple to group the ghosts. The closer Inky and Blinky are the better. To move a ghost up one position, wait for the other ghosts to commit to up around thier cycle, move Ms Pac Man to the right only long enough to attract the trailing ghost right and commit to the right. When the ghost has committed fully to the right, return to the hold. Inky will mimic Pinky in this case, as long as you lead right, if Inky is not close enough to Red, you need to guide here right until she will line up with red. If you do not guide here she will catch you. } III. C. 3. Energizers Top right: when you get a group, get it to go 4,5,3 when the group is at 3 you should go through the tunnel and take the shortest path to 8e. Now do not be afraid of sue. When the group is at 10 end sue is at 7, then go eat the energizer and then the ghost. Top left: energizer: mirror the top right energizer. Except you will have to hope you will get sue because she is different on this side. Bottom energizers: these are basically simple once you have a group. We have confidence in you figuring out your own methods. III. C. 4. hints All you have to do is learn how to group the ghost. As grouped ghost are easily led into patterns. After the second double back it is safe to follow the ghost. If you leave all of the dote along the dashed path until the end you won't get a cruise Elroy until you eat one of them A good pattern for clearing them is to get them into the hold for the top right energizer. When the group of 3 reaches 11. Do exactly what the arrows show. III. 4. The first two boards We will leave this as an exercise to learn to group. This will benefit you, and show you how wait you understand this paper. Hints to group: use the upper tunnels. Stay stationary against the walls here to watch ghost (do not fear sue here). (most energizers require that after you start all four ghost come together. For the bottom right energizer a slight hesitation at the bottom wilt help. There are two holds at the top of the board (sitting up against the left walls, this narrow it to three). Could make upper right energizer simple to get. Or allow you to buy a coke. { Ok, I take some of the exercise out of the first board: ( originally in Message to Dennis Brown , this is added in after the fact, but the italics was a bit much so it is in normal print ) 1) head to upper tunnel, you may eat some dots at bottom, but get to upper tunnel prior to the second reversal. 2) wait in upper tunnel until second reversal. 3) Now just practice going from one "L" to another, don't let the ghost follow you into the tunnel. 4) The hardest ghost to control here will be inky, try to stay on one side long enough for her to rise above you, hopefully withing a half body length of red. 5) Notice if the ghost are traveling above you they will drop on the other side of the "L" from you, this is a good time to travel to the other side. 6) The pink ghost should fall in close to the others. 7) Sue for the most part will not travel into your area of the board, though sometimes it will look like it -don't panic. There are a couple of situations where she will - usually from above. 8) once you get the ghost "grouped" - don't worry about sue, but not her position. When sue is in the proper position ( you'll see ) and the ghost are going left to right, when the drop down on the "L" ( sit against the wall ), go through the tunnel and take the path most direct to sit above the upper left dot ( without eating it ). Wait for the ghost to get real close, then eat the energizer. You should not have to chase anyone real far. 9) Regroup and go for the upper right. When the ghost are moving to the left, move to the upper right corner, but don't sit above the dot, come to rest just to the left. The three ghost should start cycling in the tunnel just to your left. If sue is not moving around the "L" on the right, wait till the others are going left, move right and then back again, this should change sue's cycle. Now when sue is going down and the others up, eat the dot, they will come back at you for another easy 3,000. 10) regroup and now we will go after the dot in Sue's corner ( lower left ). You will again need to judge a good location for sue to start your move there. When the ghost are traveling right, after they cross the middle of the board go straight down the left side. take the second path down. move to sit under the dot. Once again eat them when they are close. - If sue is ahead of the others by a 2 or more body lengths, move to the right - she will go left - follow her, then eat the dot. 11) the lower right starts in the same fashion as the lower left, just travel to the left, when you reach the bottom and then move left and wait by the dot until they are close. When you understand and master these techniques you should be able to score 29400 by the time you finish the strawberry. } -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Mame World Article - Billy Mitchell Gives Full Credit to Chris Ayra, Ms. Pacman Master for all of his success Link -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Billy Mitchell Breaks World Record WEIRS BEACH, NH -- For the first time in video game playing history, a perfect score was achieved on the legendary arcade game, Pac-Man. On July 3, 1999 at 4:45 P.M., taking nearly six hours to accomplish the feat -- on one quarter -- Billy Mitchell, 33, a Fort Lauderdale hot sauce manufacturer visiting the famous Funspot Family Fun Center in Weirs Beach, NH, scored 3,333,360 points -- the maximum possible points allowed by the game. The results will go into next year's edition of the Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records -- which is the official record book for the world of video game and pinball playing. Though the Funspot is a world famous vacation spot, Billy Mitchell was not there to enjoy the holiday festivities. Mitchell was there for the sole purpose of beating the Canadians to the Holy Grail of video game playing: history's first perfect game on Pac-Man. To get a perfect game on Pac-Man, the player has to eat every dot, every energizer, every blue man and every fruit up to and including board 256 -- where the game ends with a split screen. This must be accomplished on the first man, too.

pacman split screen level 256

"It was unbelievable," says Gary Vincent, Funspot Operations Manager. "Mitchell purposefully arrived on July 1st -- Canada's Day -- and won the title in time for the Fourth of July. He even wore a red, white and blue, Star-Star Spangled Banner tie to emphasize the patriotic sentiments behind his efforts." Mitchell, who refused to eat until he beat the Canadians for the world record, went hungry for nearly two full days. "I had to be first," Mitchell explains. "Its like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon. No matter how many people accomplish the feat afterwards, it will always be Armstrong who will be remembered for doing it first. And, best of all, it was an American." And Mitchell is first. With a camcorder supplied by Funspot bearing down over his shoulder, Mitchell's every last move was taped for posterity -- if not, at least, for irrefutable proof of the achievement. And, after the exhausting six-hour game was over, Mitchell backed away from the game in disbelief and then did the improbable: he announced his permanent retirement from playing Pac-Man. "I never have to play that darn game again," he sighed in relief. "There's nothing more I can accomplish." "Mitchell may have just barely beat out the pack," adds Funspot's Gary Vincent, "because all this year players around the world have been laying siege to Pac-Man, vying to be the first to complete the first perfect-game ever." The biggest rivalry in the quest for the first perfect game was between two Canadians and two Florida players -- Billy Mitchell being one of them. On May 8, 1999, during Funspot's First International Classic Video & Pinball Tournament, Rick Fothergill, of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, grabbed headlines with CNN, Associated Press, the Boston Phoenix, Boston Globe, and CBS Radio Network News, when he fell a mere 90 points short of a perfect game, scoring 3,333,270 points. "This is, possibly, the most difficult feat to accomplish in the world of video game playing," explains Walter Day, chief scorekeeper at the Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard -- an organization based in Fairfield, Iowa that tracks high scores for the worldwide video game and pinball industries. Mitchell agrees with Day's assessment: "I just about fell apart at the 1.9 million point mark. And, then, it was like the end of the world as I suddenly realized that I still had 100 boards to go." Since the years 1980 and 1981, when Midway Games, Inc. distributed 99,000 copies of the coin-operated Pac-Man, its popularity has barely waned, remaining the most-legendary game produced during the period now being called the 'Golden Age of Video Game Arcades', 1979-85. "Still, in spite of its huge popularity," marvels Day, "a perfect Pac-Man game never happened, even though millions of people were playing the game." To find out how rare a perfect game is, Day started a project where his staff would attend used game auctions and count the number of game plays found on the old Pac-Man machines to ascertain how many times the average Pac-Man machine had been played during its lifetime. The findings suggested that Pac-Man had been played more than 10 billion times worldwide during the last 20 years. Mitchell, who also holds the world record on the classic Donkey Kong game, runs a family business manufacturing Rickey's World Famous Sauce -- a hot sauce brand distributed worldwide. He attributes his game-playing success to his friend, Chris Ayra, a Miami video game player who currently holds the world record on Ms. Pac-Man. "Chris generously shared his brilliant strategies with me, giving me all the skills I needed to beat Pac-Man." Mitchell plans on enjoying the Fourth of July. He will not be playing any video games. The Funspot Family Fun Center, founded in 1952, is the world's second-largest arcade, with 500 arcade games, miniature golf, 24 lanes of bowling and Bingo facilities. Open year-round, it is the site of the largest annual classic video game and pinball championship in the world. Next year's event is scheduled for June 1-4, 2000. The Twin Galaxies Intergalactic Scoreboard has been keeping score for the world of video game and pinball playing since 1982. Its most well known product is the Twin Galaxies' Official Video Game & Pinball Book of World Records (ISBN 1887472-25-8), which is a 984-page book published in 1998 by Sunstar Publishing of Fairfield, Iowa, containing 116 pictures and 12,416 scores from players in 31 different countries compiled during the years 1981-1997. For information on the perfect Pac-Man score, please call (515) 472-3882 or go to -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- June 1, 2000 Interview Below: Twin Galaxies Interview of Dwayne Richard, by Walter Day regarding Game Play and some of the best pacman and Ms. Pacman players in the world Link --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6/1/2000 Interview with Dwayne Richard at Funspot by Walter Day Dwayne Richard is from Alberta, Canada. Dwayne sells video games and T-shirts. He loves coffee but doesn't believe in de-caf. He's a student of Theology. And a lover of games. We interviewed Duane at the Twin Galaxies-Funspot Classics Video Game and Pinball Tournament, June 1-4, 2000. Twin Galaxies: Dwayne, it's great to see you here. Dwayne Richard: I love coming to competitions. TG: What games are you playing this weekend? DR: Robotron, for one. The score in the book is illegitimate. The person who submitted the score has submitted other bogus scores that are equally impossible. You can tell by the math, the score is bogus. It would take you a whole week to reach five hundred million. TG: Does that mean there's really no record? DR: Probably. There's a little housecleaning that needs to be done. We're measuring this game from the beginning, from zero. TG: Who claimed the 500,000,000 score? Is he here? DR: No, he isn't here. There'd be no point in his coming, he couldn't possibly beat the score. It's going to take me from 10-15 hours to break the score. Hopefully I can play through and get a million on this. I used to have one of these games at home but I sold it. TG: Do you wish you'd kept it? DR: I ran out of space. There's only so much room in my basement. I resell games after I finish playing them. It was easy to sell, so many people want it. The cheapest they go for is $800. I said I'd buy it back if they wanted to sell it. TG: What else are you playing this weekend? DR: I'm hoping to learn to play 10-15 more games after this tournament. I'm watching the others play and I keep learning: Hypersports, Robotron, Galaga. I want to learn their skills. Once I watch the others play I can model after them. TG: There are a few Canadians here? DR: Yeah, Rick (Fothergill), Neil (Chapman), Mark (Longridge)--all from Ontario. Rick is Captain Canada, the anti-Bill Mitchell. He's got a perfect score on Pac-Man, the world record on Super Pac-Man, Jr. PacMan and 2nd place on Ms. PacMan. He's the PacMeister. TG: Chris Ayra also has a perfect Pac-Man? DR: Chris has played the fastest yet. Bill would have a hard time breaking his time. TG: Good luck to you, Dwayne. Have fun watching the games and get yourself some good scores. We're rooting for you. Contact Twin Galaxies for other High Score Interviews: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Posted by: jbd41 Posted on: March 25th, 2003, 7:14pm Link --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Saw the Pac-Man discussion in the Cyber chat log and figured I had to comment, since I hang out with the classic arcade game crowd a bunch. I hung out a bit with the fellow who got the first perfect Pac-Man game (Billy Mitchell) at the Classic Gaming Expo 2000. He runs a company that sells hot sauce. The actual score you have to get is 3,333,360, which means you hit the split screen (board 255, when the game gets confused because the byte which stores the level rolls over) and get all the points you can there. Two others have done it since on the actual machine, Chris Ayra and Rick Fothergill. The fastest run so far has been Chris Ayra's at 3 hours, 42 minutes and 5 seconds. If you want to watch it being done, MARP has a recording for MAME done by Rick Carter which is near-perfect: Search for pacman under 'short name' and you should find it. Recorded on a Mac but it plays back fine with MAME for Windows. Pac-Man qualifies as a 'speed run', but watching a high Ms. Pac Man score (with its random monsters as opposed to Pac-Man's predictable ones) is more like watching a slow pacifist with enemy manipulation. You have to do what is called "grouping" to get all the monsters together so you can eat all four on one power pellet. This can make each board take quite a while. Not too interesting to watch unless you have a good idea what is going on. Chris Ayra (him again) currently has the best score with 920,310, although there's no comparative recording on MARP that comes close -- the highest they have right now is 379,170. Still you can watch it if you want to see what I mean by grouping. The most incredible achievement lately has been Abner Ashman's scores on Jr. Pacman. His highest now is 1,500,000 -- for a while past a million didn't seem even possible. (That score, if I remember, didn't end normally either -- there was a power surge. He still had lives left.) I have no idea how Jr. Pacman strategy works. It is the hardest of the Pac-Man games. Most arcade game high scores can be found at: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- IV. General and most helpful hints 1. Learn the ghost's characters and learn to use them to your advantage. 2. Learn to group in you own ways. If you learn your own ways you know how to use them. 3. Develop methods that will aid you once you have a group. 4. Eat all four ghosts on every energizer. It is hard to clear very many mazes past 25. 5. Don't get a "Cruise Elroy" until you have eaten all of the energizers. 6. Be real patient. These techniques take a long time. 7. Points are hard to come by later in the game. Get all the points possible early in the game. 8. Remember when you make a bad move the situation will probably show up again. 9. Never take your hands off the joystick even in the worst situations. You may run through the ghost. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Year 2005 Ms. Pacman High Scores Link ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Year is 2005.... Ms. Pac-Man Variation: Factory Settings Platform: Arcade Rules: Difficulty : None. Start Units : 3. Rank % Score Score Player Date Verified Scoring Method 1 100.00 % 920,310 Chris Ayra 05/10/2001 Video 2 98.96 % 910,700 Darren Harris 05/10/2001 Referee 3 98.92 % 910,350 Rick D Fothergill 10/02/2001 Referee 4 76.45 % 703,560 Billy L Mitchell 06/11/2004 Referee 5 74.12 % 682,150 Neil Chapman 07/02/2002 Referee 6 74.01 % 681,130 Tom Asaki 10/02/1983 Referee 7 70.17 % 645,810 Abner Ashman 06/27/2002 Referee 8 43.24 % 397,950 Kevin Fischer 06/11/2004 Referee 9 42.11 % 387,500 Todd Rogers 07/02/2002 Referee 10 41.25 % 379,650 Spencer Oueren 06/05/1983 Referee --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Official Succession of Verified Ms. Pac-Man World Champions: link 130,300 Rick Greenwasser, Kirksville, MO May 20,1982 201,000 Joe Wingard, Whitefish, MT, June 1, 1982 257,100 Darren Olsen, Twin Galaxies, Ottumwa, IA, March 20, 1983 393,000 Tom Asaki, Bozeman, MT, May 5, 1983 411,050 Spencer Oueren, Twin Galaxies, Ottumwa, IA, June 5, 1983 419,950 Tom Asaki, Twin Galaxies, Ottumwa, IA, June 6, 1983 436,500 Billy Mitchell, 7-11, Hollywood, FL, July 1, 1983 557,120 Billy Mitchell, World Class Amusements, Wilmington, NC, September 20, 1983 681,130 Tom Asaki, Twin Galaxies, Ottumwa, IA, October 2, 1983 703,560 Billy Mitchell, Hollywood, FL, January 27, 1984 820,150 Chris Ayra, Miami, FL April 17, 1984 874,530 Chris Ayra, Victoria, BC, Canada, June 30, 1985 910,350 Rick Fothergill, Stoney Creek, ON, Canada, September 8, 1998 920,310 Chris Ayra, Miami, FL, September 16, 1998 933,580 Abdner Ashman, Apollo Amusements, Pompano Beach, FL, April 6, 2006 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Tom Asaki Los Alamitos, CA United States Twin Galaxies ScoreboardLink Choose a platform (all) Arcade Game Version Variation Score Rank Cheyenne Gun default settings 167,000 18 Karate Champ Factory Settings 19,900 35 Mad Crasher default settings 43,323 19 Ms. Pac-Man 1983 Factory Settings 681,130 6 Nibbler Factory Settings 838,322,160 2 Return of the Jedi Factory Settings 609,970 23 Tom Asaki Los Alamitos, CA Link ---------------------------------------------- MS PACMAN HIGH SCORE Ms. Pac-Man, Arcade, Factory Settings Rank 6 Score 681,130 Player Tom Asaki Los Alamitos, CA United States Date Achieved Sunday, October 02, 1983 Date Verified Sunday, October 02, 1983 Verification Method Referee Verified By Walter Day Score Status Active Location Twin Galaxies Ottumwa, IA United States Rules Factory Settings Difficulty : None. Start Units : 3. --------------------------------------------------- NIBBLER HIGH SCORE Link Nibbler, Arcade, Factory Settings Rank 2 Score 838,322,160 Player Tom Asaki Los Alamitos, CA United States Date Achieved Friday, May 27, 1983 Date Verified Friday, May 27, 1983 Verification Method Referee Verified By Walter Day Score Status Active Location Strand Union Arcade Bozeman, MT USA Rules Factory Settings Difficulty : Hard. Start Units : 3. ------------------------------------------------------ Nibbler Link Variation: Factory Settings Platform: Arcade Rules: Difficulty : Hard. Start Units : 3. Rank % Score Score Player Date Verified Verification Method 1 100.00 % 1,000,042,270 Tim W McVey 01/15/1984 Referee 2 83.83 % 838,322,160 Tom Asaki 05/27/1983 Referee 3 39.01 % 390,156,320 Marc Wertheim 06/11/2004 Referee 4 13.10 % 130,960,480 Allen Rager 04/14/1983 Referee 5 11.10 % 110,975,270 Consuelo Rubbiani 02/21/1984 Referee ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Spencer Oueren -- 1983 MS. PACMAN CHAMPION Link Ms. Pac-Man, Arcade, Factory Settings Rank 10 Score 379,650 Player Spencer Oueren Bozeman, MT USA Date Achieved Sunday, June 05, 1983 Date Verified Sunday, June 05, 1983 Verification Method Referee Verified By Walter Day Score Status Active Location Twin Galaxies Ottumwa, IA United States Rules Factory Settings Difficulty : None. Start Units : 3. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Don Williams -- 1983 MS. PACMAN CHAMPION Link Ms. Pac-Man, Arcade, Factory Settings Rank 11 Score 351,950 Player Don Williams Mars, PA United States Date Achieved Monday, June 06, 1983 Date Verified Monday, June 06, 1983 Verification Method Referee Verified By Walter Day Score Status Active Location Twin Galaxies Ottumwa, IA United States Rules Factory Settings Difficulty : None. Start Units : 3. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Cubeman, Mark Longridge, "Canada", "Referee" Link MAME Editor Location: Oshawa Ontario Canada Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 12:24 am Post subject: Tom Asaki and Studying the code -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I sent Tom Asaki the z80 source code to Pacman and Ms Pacman several months ago. There are many people studying the code, it's just a matter of time before someone figures it out. It may be necessary to study the original machine, not just the MAME program. I've made pacman do some interesting things, but there's no way my study of the code could be called exhaustive. I'll point out a couple of things about the code which may be of interest... First of all the Puckman code is the simplest. Remember Nakamura, the CEO of Namco congratulated Bill on the perfect game. It seems to me if the programmers had known of a way to get past the split screen they would have mentioned it. The same overflow of screen indicators occurs on both Puckman and the Midway Pacman, but I can't be 100% certain that it's possible in the Midway version but not the original. One back door is known which will display "Made by Namco", but this only is possible during the convergence screen test. It works on Namco & Midway versions. There is also the routine of coin inputs which is always active. That is, it's always possible to add another credit. So far this hasn't helped to clear anything Maybe it's possible to eat more dots off-screen? But if so, why hasn't anyone found them? $4e0e is the memory location for number of eats eaten, so we can monitor it. $08e2 holds the number of dots necessary to clear a screen, which is always 244 in pacman. I think $2bf3 is the routine to actually advance to the next screen, so if there is some way to trigger this routine beyond eating 244 dots then it's possible. On top of this there may be differences between cocktail mode and upright mode. I think if there is truly any way to do this it involves switching between Player #1 and Player #2. I think $4e0e switches between dots eaten for player one and player two, so if it got them mixed up, that is player 1 got credit for the dots eaten by player 2, then maybe it's possible. Player 2 could eat all the dots except one, then player 1 could conceivably get credit for eating 243 dots. Then all one needs is one more dot, but this is all theory. It doesn't seem likely, but even one more dot would enough to set a new record. Mark Londgridge My MAME Web Site ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ pacmanfevr76, Doublas Loyd Link Location: St. Louis, MO, USA Posted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 11:38 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Does anyone know of a link to find the pictures that were in the article written by the Bozeman Think Tank on Ms. Pac-Man? There is an address in the article I have read online, but it doesn't work. I would like to improve beyond my own ability. _________________ Douglas Loyd, of Hazelwood, MO PS2 Tiger Woods series earnings (as of 1/10/05): $233,699,700 3,333,360 OR BUST!! THE QUEST: 3,296,110 (12/23/04) (That will be the second-to-last FULL game I ever play.) note: Douglas Loyd of Hazelwood, MO and Donald Hayes of Windham, NH -- are now working on attaining a perfect Pac-Man score. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ PerfectPacman, Chris Ayra - Best Player Ms. Pacman in Year 2005 Link Posted: Wed Nov 05, 2003 11:44 pm Post subject: Life after board 133 by Chris Ayra - Perfect Pacman, Ms. Pacman Master -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Life after board 133 is hard to come by. In my 26 kill screens on original Ms. Pacman I only have had 7 games go past #133. Five were 1 extra board(134) and the other two were 2 extra boards(135). The most points I received after #133 was in my 920k run. I had 915,280 at the end of #133, was given 2 extra boards for a total of 5,030 extra points. Since the mid 80s I have rack advanced my Ms. pac about 1,000 times and only 4 times I was given 8 extra boards. Thats 1 in 250. In fact, just to get one extra board is about a 30% chance only. two boards is less than 10%. Only if you can get to the 4th. extra maze and clear it without dying will the game give you 4 extra slow juniors for a total of 8 extra mazes. On one of the times that I received the 8 boards, I was able to rack up 61,000 pts. which is way above average for a set of 8(19k over). That would still put me or anyone else way short of a million points.........Chris~~~895,569~~~Crystal Castles ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ artz Link Location: Spring, TX USA Posted: Thu Nov 06, 2003 10:27 pm Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- I think what he was saying is that it's impossible. On his record game of 920k, he said he had 915k on board 133 and then got an extra 5k on the next 2 boards. After rack advancing the game around 1000 times, only 4 times did he get all 8 extra boards. Of those 4 times, his highest point total on the extra boards gained him an extra 61k. So if you add that to 915k which is the highest total to board 133 in the history of gaming, plus the extra 61k, you are talking of a score of around 976k. He even stated that the point average for those 8 boards was higher than normal. That still leaves you 24k short. Therefore, you would need 3 things to get 1 million points: 1. A lot of bananas 2. The extra 8 boards (1 in 250 chance) 3. Someone or a group of people to get to the kill screen at least 250 times. When is the last time someone got to the kill screen in Ms. Pac-Man not counting people such as Chris Ayra, Darren Harris, Neil Chapman, Rick Fothergill, Billy Mitchell, or Abner Ashman? Most of these people have been playing this game since the early 80's and the closest anyone has gotten out of this group is 920k. Just my $.02 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- RCorcoran TG Board of Directors Location: Glendale, AZ Posted: Fri Nov 07, 2003 12:07 am Post subject: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- artz wrote: When is the last time someone got to the kill screen in Ms. Pac-Man not counting people such as Chris Ayra, Darren Harris, Neil Chapman, Rick Fothergill, Billy Mitchell, or Abner Ashman? Victor Kunisada, 20 Sep 03 went to the kill screen ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Different Thread Snippet regarding Billy Mitchell and Chris Ayra about perfect pacman and Ms. Pacman Masters: Link ---------------- jjt_defender Sunday, July 18, 2004 - 11:01 am -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Anonymous wrote: Never Compare Billy Mitchell to any of the other perfect Pacmaners. He always will remain the Supreme, American Hero. I have disagree with you Anonymous, there is 1 noted player that being Chris Ayra. Chris Ayra has the fastest Perfect Pacman & has the Ms Pacman world records. Plus, he has beaten Billy on both Pacman & Ms Pacman in the 80's. Note: Second to have Perfect Pacman, Billy Mitchell being first Thank You & God Bless You your fellow gamemaster JJT ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Thread Snipet from Scootie at Funspot Message Board: Scootie Thursday, July 22, 2004 - 05:55 pm Link -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- JJT You forgot Chris (from what I understand) also used "patterns" in his perfect pacman; which is why he completed the game in a shorter amount of time than Billy, who played the game freestyle. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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