Rant Of The Day THIS RANT 03/07/96

Rant Of The Day is where I get to mouth off about whatever I feel like for however long I like. Theoretically, I'll update my whinge/opinion piece every weekday; in practice, maybe not so often.

The name of the game

I was a goner from the moment I saw the hyperlink. Microsoft has released a 'Return To Arcade' pack, featuring four classic 1980s games that we knew and loved back when the Atari 2600 was king. There's a free trial version available for downloading (check it out at, which gives you the first two levels of everyone's favourite self-propelled tennis ball with a split in it, PacMan.

It looks like PacMan. It plays like PacMan, which is to say it's quite difficult. The graphics are there, the sound is there, even the shape of the screen is right. It's a fabulous teaser for suckers like me.

Uncompressed, this sample game takes up 5M of space on my drive.

5M for a PacMan demo! Shocked would be one description. Monster-munching appalled would be another. It's no wonder Microsoft paid out fat amounts of money (eventually) to Stac for its disk compression algorithms. I expect they'll buy shares in a drive company or two next. Meanwhile, I've got FatApp fever and it's driving me crazy.

Elsewhere on my measly 270M notebook hard drive, I have a version of Ms PacMan (freeware, written by Matt Cooley, pick it up from Running under DOS, the whole package comes in at just under 1M. That's more like it. What's Microsoft's excuse?

It's not like I need DirectX graphics to play PacMan, obviously. I don't think there's any major technical mountains to climb over writing this baby. I've seen it running on machines with considerably less memory than a 5.25in floppy. I suspect Microsoft has just lost any sense of perspective when it comes to storage. It would not, I have to say, be the first time.

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