Tomy Electronic PUCKMAN

Today it was time for some flea market shopping again. I found a pleated denim skirt for €4.50 that's a perfect fit, but that's not really the subject matter of this blog. I also found a Tomy Electronic PUCKMAN for €2.00, which will be further examined below.

[Image: A circularly shaped, brightly colored toy with 6 buttons, a small display and the text 'TOMY ELECTRONIC PUCKMAN'.]

It's an electronic game that obviously has a lot to do with Pac-Man. As sources have it, Puckman was the original name of the famous game. It has a display, a D-pad sort of controller, on-off switch, and a difficulty switch that lets the player choose between AMA and PRO.

[Image: Close-up photo of the unlit display, revealing that it is a 8x5 grid of small pictures of the game characters and the scene, and a 7-segment, 4-character number display.]

The display is a bright vacuum fluorescent display, or VFD, that has all the possible positions of the sprites pre-printed onto it. There's also a score counter of some sort.

[Image: Close-up photo of a microchip on a PCB, with the etchings 'NEC JAPAN, D553C, 8228EK, 160'.]

The main processor (or what appears to be one) is marked D553C-160. I couldn't find any info about it online, just googlespam by companies that claim to sell similar chips and lie about having the datasheet (shame on them!).

The device takes four C-sized batteries, totalling 6 volts, or an AC adapter. I happened to have a 6-volt DC adapter so I hooked it up to the battery terminals, and yay:

[Image: The display with parts of it glowing brightly, namely the walls of the scene, the main character in one corner, power-up pills everywhere and three ghosts near the middle. The score counter is showing zero.]

The sound it makes is very loud and nasty. But it is indeed the actual Pac-Man theme. Video below.

9 comments:

  1. The tinted display helps to hide the unlit VFD segments :3 --~~~~

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    1. You are correct and thanks for signing your post!

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  2. I assumed that by "couldn't find any info" you really meant nothing, so I had to try myself :) Main processor seems to be known as "uPD553C-160", very little info :
    http://www.datasheetarchive.com/shortform-datasheet/UPD553C.html

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  3. The original "Puckman" name was dropped because the marquee artwork was yellow text printed on black. There was concern that anyone with a black marker could amend it to read "FUCKMAN"...

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  4. Wow, trip down memory lane. My father bought me one of these from Disney World in 1983 (renamed to Pacman, though). It was a horrible game on level with the Atari 2600 Pacman, but I played it for dozens of hours anyway.

    Thanks for posting this, Oona.

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  5. I owned one of these as a kid and I loved it! It's simple but it's so much fun. I had a Defender one too. Still have it but it's broken.

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  6. I found this on bitsavers, page 165. 4 bit MASK rom processor with VF drivers.

    ftp://bitsavers.informatik.uni-stuttgart.de/pdf/nec/_dataBooks/1982_NEC_Microcomputer_Catalog.pdf

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  7. For what it’s worth: that 4 bit microcontroller unit labeled “D553C 160” was also implemented/used with the game “Astro Command” – both sold in 1982.

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  8. Here is the datasheet: https://en.wikichip.org/w/images/9/9c/%C2%B5COM-43_SINGLE_CHIP_MICROCOMPUTER_USERS_MANUAL.pdf

    "uPD553C" is mentioned in the datasheet although the title suggests something different :)

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