My 8-year-old self would have killed me.


This picture was taken seconds before I lost my last life in my most recent high score attempt on Ms. Pac-Man Turbo at Underground Retrocade. I chased an apple for a bit too long and got myself trapped, ending the game about six thousand points shy of the house record.

The picture doesn’t have much to do with the main point of this post, but hey, the last couple of entries are text only, so I thought I’d spice things up just a tad. After having an overall bad week — roughness at work, illness at home, some miscellaneous stupidity — I thought I’d better have a good weekend. I drove out to Underground Retrocade on Saturday night to play some games. It was pretty quiet for a Saturday night, probably because everybody was out getting wasted. I alerted Scott that I was going to make another attempt to beat George Strain’s house high score on Ms. Pac-Man Turbo, adding, “I doubt it’s going to happen tonight.” I was having a great game, though. During the light blue mazes — the ones I hate — I did surprisingly well at ghost-chomping, putting me in a great position to end the banana level with a score of over 100,000. Didn’t lose my first life until nearly 300,000 points, then lost another life pretty quickly. I came so close to losing yet another life, but thankfully it was one of those passing-right-through-the-ghost-unharmed situations. I got a surprisingly large number of bananas and pears. I chased an apple, though, for a bit too long, and as a result, I was cornered. Final score: 546,240 — just a hair shy of Strain’s 551,920. Seriously, though, up to that point I was feeling mighty invincible.

Later on that night, though, I went over to Scott and asked him if he’d load up Professor Pac-Man on the MAME cabinet he has dedicated to the games they play on the No Quarter Podcast. Scott laughed and commented that that was probably the most infrequent request he’s ever gotten. This dud of a money-grab attempt was the featured game on the previous week’s episode.

Now, I remember when this game first came out. As big a Pac-Man fan as I’ve always been, I refused to play this game back in the day. I was given a dollar for an arcade allowance, and I’d be damned if I’d waste a token on this stupid game. I’m not paying a quarter to take a freakin’ Mensa quiz. Even if you like quiz games, Professor Pac-Man is just. effing. terrible. Many of the questions, for example, ask you to find a mirror image, and you’ll be damned if you can figure out the proper image. And there are some questions in which the time you’re allowed to answer them is even more unfair than the SAT. Scott told me that the best way to rack up a decent score is to keep playing and memorize the questions. Ha…no way in hell would I have done that in 1983!

Oh…speaking of the SAT…for the past twelve years, I’ve worked part-time as a test prep instructor. An analogy came up during one of my Professor Pac-Man rounds. I was presented with a foot and a football. I immediately remembered the strategy I had to teach students back when the SAT and GRE both contained analogies: take the root words and make a defining sentence. My defining sentence? “A foot is used to kick a football.” I don’t remember what the answer choices were, but that “is used to” relationship helped me get it right.

I don’t remember any of my Professor Pac-Man scores, but I really don’t give a damn. The game is horrible. It’s even worse than Baby Pac-Man. Don’t waste your time. It’s a good thing that Underground Retrocade is a pay-once, play-all-you-want deal because I would have been pissed to sacrifice pay-per-game money on it!

What kills me, though, is I remember that Aladdin’s Castle at Lincoln Mall had this game on the floor for quite a while. And you know what? I don’t think I ever saw anybody ever play it.

So I guess I am a proud drop-out of Professor Pac-Man.


About pacmaniax

Sean is a web developer whose obsession with the Pac-Man franchise goes back to 1981, when he first played Pac-Man as an 7-year-old who didn't quite understand that you need to eat one of those big, blinking things first before you attempt to eat the ghosts. For one brief moment, he thought he held the world record for Jr. Pac-Man Turbo in October 2012, but it was actually only the second-highest score on record, and even that ranking only lasted under a day. A music buff, you can see Sean posting not only on and as "dauber," but also on various forums that obsess over The Beatles and Brian Wilson. Sean is also cohost of Pie Factory Podcast.
This entry was posted in Arcade Trip, Game Review, High Score Update, Ms. Pac-Man Turbo, Professor Pac-Man, Uncategorized, Underground Retrocade and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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