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Astrocade Muncher Variations


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I posted this same question on the Astrocade Yahoo Group, and I'm hoping there might be someone on AA who knows something about a Muncher variation I just acquired called "PAC-SAM." The cartridge is unlabeled, although someone scratched "Sam" onto the case. Here's a shot of the menu screen:




I've heard that there are lots of Muncher variants with names like "DEMO", "TEST", AND "PAC-MAN." Just wanted to know if anyone else has a "PAC-SAM."

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Yes, the Pacman looks like the one in the Muncher video on Youtube. "Pacsam" (no hyphen) is mentioned in the "Bally-Astrocade Game Cartridge and Hardware FAQ" on ballyalley.com:



Astrocade Inc. 8K cart 1985.

AKA No-Die, Pacmen, Munchie. Astrocade was forbidden to release this game by

a court order (rumors claim that Astrocade spent a fortune in litigation with

Atari, but to no avail!). The prototype, actually titled "Pac Man," turned up

with Clyde Perkins and Phillip Harris in 1983. Phillip changed the title to

Muncher, and sold two batch runs with a white label that reads, "TEST

PROGRAMME" (these were sold through the "Arcadian" newsletter). Then another

unknown source (Esoterica?) sold more "Muncher" cartridges with a red label

that says "DEMO". Esoterica did release an unknown quantity under the red

"MUNCHER" label. Only Mike White sold any (very few) after 1984 as Pacman (the

original Clyde Perkins/prototype version). No-Die is this same program with

infinite lives and the scratchpad made visible as per Dave Carson (Arcadian

vol.6 pg.40). Pacmen is also the same with any number of lives you wish! (See

Arcadian vol.6 pg.48) Michael kept track of the number of cartridges sold,

under various names (each with a different "tweak"), here's the breakdown: Pac

Man (21), No Die (4), Pacmen (1). All of these cartridges ride a very fine line

between prototypes and copies. Other names attributed to this title (but not

distributed on cartridge) are: "Munch Kid", "Munchkin", "Peckmen" and "PacSam".

(Arcadian vol.3 pg.63,121, vol.4 pg.33,55, vol.5 pg.45,77,92,106,135,163, vol.6

pg.1,14,40,48, vol.7 pg.13,46,67,94, Michigan Astrobugs Newsletter May 83 pg.2,

Aug.83 pg.2,5, Nov.83 pg.6,7, MAR.84 pg.1, JUL.84 pg.2, Niagara Bug Bulletin

vol.1 pg. 3,4, vol.)


I like how it says that Pacsam wasn't distributed on cartridge, so either my copy was, or someone just changed the menu name. :)


I checked the references in the FAQ to find only one mention of Pacsam -- a high score table in the July '84 Astrobugs newsletter. So, the mystery continues...

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  • 9 years later...
8 hours ago, brightman said:

I have the prototype, actually titled "Pac Man," from Clyde Perkins. It was given to me by John Perkins with his original Bally system.


That's a very nice looking prototype of the "Pac-Man" cartridge from Perkins Engineering.  Thanks for sharing it with us.


Do you use the Astrocade that was given to you by John?  Did you get other goodies with it?


How did you know John Perkins?  I looked around the Internet for him for quite a few years and then "found him" when it was already too late; for I discovered he had died via this blog post entitled "Reflections on John Perkins:"




I notice that you have only made one post on AtariAge.  Did you join specifically to post that picture of "Pac-Man?"



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John was my best friend for the 8 years I knew him. John and his wife Karen went to the same church as me and my children. We would visit, but I never realized what he had going with the Blue Ram and the Bally stuff. The man never talked about himself.. He gifted me his Bally system on my 50th birthday. I just recently dug it out of the closet, but couldn't get it working. I was looking for someone to possibly repair it for me. Then I read about the Clyde Perkins Pacman cartridge I have...So Yes I would like to use the system again, but would hate to have something happen to it. any suggestions.


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9 hours ago, brightman said:

John was my best friend for the 8 years I knew him. [...]


Thanks for posting that picture of John.  I've seen a picture of his father, but never one of John.  About when was this picture taken?  I have re-posted this information to the Astrocade discussion group, here:




If you join the group and post that you need some help getting your Astrocade system working, then I'm sure that someone can give you some advice.



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That the picture was taken on my 50th birthday ....John passed shortly after. He was one of the most kindest , most brilliant , and funniest person I have ever had the pleasurer to be around. He gave from his heart and would listen intently because he truly cared about what others were thinking. Anyone that knew him would say this about him. I hope when my time comes I have just a fraction of the respect that he earned from everyone's life he touched.

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I met John when he was at Action Graphics. He gave me TONS of stuff. Atari 800 with disk drives, TI99A w/disk drives, and several unreleased prototypes for the Bally long before Astro. Then I went to his house in Cary and he showed me the awsome 6 ft wide line printer, and a version if windows long before it came out. He had 5 programs running in real time! He also gave me the rights to build the Blue Ram extentions, along with the BASIC cartridges. I was pretty close with Clyde also, but never did meet him personally. We were phone buddies.

I'd like to chat sometime, if you wouldn't mind.

Ken Lill

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On 9/29/2021 at 1:43 AM, brightman said:

I have the prototype, actually titled "Pac Man," from Clyde Perkins. It was given to me by John Perkins with his original Bally system.


Interesting; I have two "Munchie" prototypes, the advertised title "Pac-Man" was to have been released under.  I picked them up in a collection from a former Bally employee back in 2004.  It would be interesting to know if the only difference between "Pac-Man," "Munchie," and "Muncher" was just the menu title, or if there is any actual difference in the builds. 


Here's the Astrovision catalog with "Munchie" from the Bally Alley web site:






You can see "Munchie" in action in the Astrovision "Astro Arcade" commercial at the 20 second mark:



Interestingly, Astrovision had to change their name to "Astrocade" and the console as well - the system in the commercial actually has no cartridge bay cover label whatsoever. 

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