Mini Pac-Man with Sound

Mini Pac-Man with Sound

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As you may have read in my earlier post about mini-arcade machines, I did end up building the Pac-Man model. But, not satisfied with just a paper model, I decided I’d add some official Pac-Man sounds. Do you remember those greeting cards that record a few moments of sound and play it back when the card is opened? Well, I looked all over town for one of those, intending to tear it apart and use the audio chip. I couldn’t find one anywhere. Fortunately for me, Radio Shack came through again with their 9-Volt, 20-Second Recording Module (for only $10.49). I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a relatively heavy 9-volt battery, but it actually makes the machine feel more authentic.

As you’ll see in the photos, I had to use a heavier card-stock to carry the weight of the battery and endure the button presses on the front panel. I mounted the speaker behind the coin drawer on the front of the machine and the playback button where the joystick would have been in the real game. I thought about exposing the record button on the back panel, but I didn’t want people to accidentally record over the game sounds, so I left it dangling inside, just in case I need to re-record. I captured the coin “gulp” noise and the famous Pac-Man startup theme on the chip (thank you MAME). The speaker produces just enough volume to fit the size of the model.

It took me more than a few hours to plan everything out and assemble the Pac-Man model, but it was an enjoyable experience that cements my geek status (as if I wasn’t there already). Fortunately, my wife thinks the little machine is “cute,” and she plans on staying married to me. What more can a guy ask for?

Update: Quite a few people have asked for a video of its performance. Not wanting to disappoint, here you go.

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  • Please add 2 and 7 and type the answer here:
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  • You could use an old pocket pc (I know my old workplace had bunches of the old 133mhz ones) and make it actually work next...
  • I had considered that idea, Simon. However, it would make the machine a bit bigger. Right now, the unit is just over 5 inches tall. With a Pocket PC, it'd probably be at least double that. It'd still be pretty cool, though. :)
  • We at WotR think Michael is a bloody star. This is just so ace. And the machines will happily scale and print onto A3 paper (thats sort of two legal size ones stuck together). At that size I reckon you'd get a PPC in there easy.

    :-)

    Cheers,
    Richard
  • This may or may not help you in your quest -- but if you are still looking for little recording modules, if you have a Build-A-Bear in your area (http://www.buildabear.com) they have little modules that can record sounds and then play them back you squeeze the module...

    you might be able to buy a few off them without having to Build-A-Bear ;)

  • Michael

    :-0

    That's quite simply the best thing in the world ever.

    Cheers,
    Rich
  • Ah, but the real question is do you have the high score? ;)
  • You said you were going to do it...and you actually did. A man of his word! Looks great, can't wait to see it next time I roll through.
  • So we were in Radio Shack just today and I saw the exact module that you describe using, and then thought of your post on the mini-Arcade models. Then I read your blog (after a week of vacation) and you have already accomplished the feat.

    This is about the weirdest deja vous experience I've had in a while.

    Also, if Pac-Man is your game, have you seen the Namco "TV Games" handheld unit. It is battery operated and fits in your hand (like the Atari one) and has a video and audio out that feed just about any TV. It is a really nice unit and even has Galaga and Bosconian (my favorite) and a few others.

    So if you could get a paperback-book-sized LCD, 4x size the model, and add some more batteries you could have a working 1/4 scale pac-man unit - or not.
  • That is totally sweet. I have to subscribe after seeing that. :)

    I used to be the resident Pac Man champion in the bar my mom worked at. Back then I had to stand on a chair to play.

    My dream video game cabinet would have to be the cocktail table Ms Pac Man though.
  • Bruce:

    Yes, I have the NAMCO TV Games unit. I also have the Atari and Activision models (although my Activision unit isn't the newer unit featured on the JAKK's site).

    Looking through the games on the JAKK's site (http://www.jakkstvgames.com/), I'm pretty excited about the stuff they're coming out with this summer. Can't wait for the Atari paddle games! Or the Ms. Pac Man that also includes Galaga...yeah, baby!
  • Mike, thanks for the JAKK's link.

    Wow, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga (always confuse Galaga and Galaxian), and XEVIOUS (another all-time favorite).

    Very cool.
  • Many thanks. Check out the newest kid on the block http://lyon-smith.org/blogs/john/archive/2004/06/13/288.aspx
  • well, pocketPCs are a bit too big to place into that paper box, but how about some tiny Java-enabled mobile phones? :-)
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