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.


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

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

  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 :

  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"...

  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.

  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.

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

  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.

  8. Here is the datasheet:

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


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