Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball is a Physical Pinball Table produced by Bally/Midway in 1982. It was designed by George Christian, and was the first of two Pinball Spin-Off games Bally made for the popular Pac-Man franchise.note
This title is remarkable for being an early attempt at combining a Pinball with a Video Game. Embedded in the center of the playfield is the "Vid-Grid Pac-Maze", a five-by-five matrix of lights. The player earns Moves and extra lives by playing the pinball table, and can enter the Maze by shooting one of the two saucers after he has at least six Moves. Using the flipper buttons,note the player makes Pac-Man (a flashing yellow light) light up all of the spaces, while avoiding the Ghost, a flashing red light. The player can escape by moving Pac-Man around the edges of the maze, or earn "Pac-Man Aggressive" on the pinball table to catch the Ghost instead.
Not surprisingly, the popularity of all things Pac-Man pushed this table to become the best-selling pinball of 1982. Also unsurprisingly, Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man played as well as you might expect — while the pinball table was reasonably challenging, most players found the Vid-Grid severely derailed the flow of the game. Unfortunately, playing the maze game was essential for high scores and extra balls, so it quickly became That One Level which everyone had to repeatedly endure.
Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man Pinball demonstrates the following tropes:
- Action Commands: Played with; in the first maze, the Ghost only moves when Pac-Man does. In subsequent mazes, however, the player has only a short amount of time to move before the Ghost advances.
- Animate Inanimate Object: The fire hydrant on the playfield has eyes, a nose, a mouth, and hands. Don't ask why.
- Appeal to Novelty
- Artifact Title: This game came out after the release of both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, and was advertised by Bally as promoting their wedding.
- Dennis Nordman: Designed the modernized pinball cabinet seen here; it was used in a handful of Bally tables.
- Destructible Armor: The standup targets for spelling PAC-MAN are hidden behind banks of drop targets that must be struck down first.
- Early-Bird Cameo: Baby Pac-Man appears on the playfield, foreshadowing both Baby Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-Man.
- The Face of the Sun: This poster shows the sun with an oddly nervous-looking face.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Occurs when "Pac-Man Aggressive" is enabled, which allows the player to eat/capture/kill the Ghost.
- Long Title
- Nonindicative Name: The only accurate part of the "Vid-Grid Pac-Maze" is that it's a grid.
- Protagonist Title
- Skill Shot: Launching the ball with a soft plunge will land the pinball into the saucer on the upper-right corner of the playfield, instantly earning ten Moves and enabling Aggressive Pac-Man."Slow; skill shot ahead."
- Spelling Bonus: Spell P-A-C-M-A-N to earn an extra life for the Maze.
- Top-Down View
- Unexpected Gameplay Change: The Pac-Maze, and how.
- White Gloves: Worn by everyone in the game — the Pac-People, the Ghosts, even the fire hydrant.
- Wrap Around