A short entry for an earlier edition of Ms. Pac Man that was being written for Atarisoft by Joe Alter. Thanks to Graeme Mason for the heads up.
Joe was converting the game for ICOM Simulations, under contract with Atarisoft to do a number of conversions.
He was reverse engineering it, going to the arcades and playing it – photographing mazes and characters, reproducing music and sound effects. Joe’s version was working and he was able to get it surprisingly close, but then his colleague Steve Hayes showed off a Robotron conversion he had done for the Apple II. This was done using a software layer made to emulate the arcade hardware on an Apple II, and it just played the games right off an image of the ROMS. So it ended up being an almost exact version of the game.
With the approach, you could essentially emulate any game that shared the same hardware. He translated this approach to work for Bally machines, and it lowered the labor cost of porting games.
They decided to apply the approach for Ms. Pac Man and so Steve Hayes would end up doing the conversion. Joe’s conversion was put to one side.
It is hoped that perhaps something of Joe’s conversion still exists, as it would be an interesting curiosity to see something of it.
Contributions: Joe Alter, Graeme Mason