One of my colleagues was stumbled onto a video of Manic Miner today and looking at it it turned out that the game I had in my head as being associated with the name Manic Miner wasn’t actually Manic Miner at all. Turns out I’ve been confusing Manic Miner with Pick Axe Pete! (The exclamation mark was part of the name of the game) on the Magnavox Odyssey2. Anyway I loaded up a video of Pick Axe Pete! and in the sidebar I saw another old friend, KC Munchkin.
I was pretty young when I played on the Odessey and I didn’t own one myself I just played it at a friends house, but I’d just always assumed it was Pac Man, turns out it’s not Pac Man but a completely different game. Okay so it’s so similar that they withdrew it because Atari sued them, but it’s still kinda different…
From Wikipedia the differences between KC Munchkin and Pac Man are:
- There are only 12 pills (called munchies) in each maze, which begin in four groups of three but move through the maze independently and at speeds that increase as each one is eaten. The final munchie moves at the same speed as the Munchkin and must be intercepted rather than followed.
- The super-pills are called blinking munchies because they flash and change colour.
- Some of the mazes become invisible as soon as the player starts moving.
- It has a programmable mode, where the player can create mazes.
- It has a random mode, where a new map is generated each time the game is played.
- The box where eaten ghosts regenerate rotates, so the ghosts may exit from any side. Also, the player character is free to enter the box and, if powered up, can consume new monsters at the moment they regenerate. Although the box is always at the center of any maze, maze design allows walls to be placed against the box so it doubles as a revolving door and danger zone to pass through.
- The ghost monsters are called munchers, and your character is called Munchkin.
Oh and Munchkin had antennae… I quite like the idea of moving power-pellets/munchies in a Pac Man like game, especially with the increase of speed as you eat the others. It’a a shame that this game had to be withdrawn.
Oh and just in case you were wondering this is what Pick Axe Pete! looked like: