Count Pacula (found design documents for unproduced "Pac-Man" spin-off game; 1983)

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Count pacula.jpg

Game design document for Count Pacula, containing a maze layout and character designs.

Status: Found

Date found: 03 Jun 2020

Found by: 365ofPac, Sharron Symonds, The Strong National Museum of Play

When Namco's Pac-Man was first released to American shores in October 1980, it was licensed for publishing to the US-based amusements company Bally Midway - along with this came full intellectual property rights for Pac-Man in the US and Europe, which Midway used to create multiple sequels featuring original Pac-Man characters - the most successful of which being Ms. Pac-Man in 1982. On December 9th, 1983, a year after the success of Ms., a pitch was created for another spin-off titled Count Pacula, featuring a character who made his debut earlier that year in Hanna-Barbera's Pac-Man cartoon (and would go on to appear in Pac-Man games and cartoons long afterwards). The pitch never made it past the conceptual stage, likely due to its macabre tone and villainous protagonist.[1]


The player would have taken control of Count Pacula, an estranged member of the Pac-Man family, and - in place of ghosts - have to avoid family members bearing stakes, travelling through 4 floors of his mansion, with higher floors being harder to navigate and lower floors being smaller. The game would've featured a similar pinball functionality to that of Baby Pac-Man for the basement of the mansion.

Upon collecting a moon, Count Pacula would've scared the family members into dropping their stakes and become capable of biting their necks. When bitten, the now-vampiric family members would join his side and help chase down other family members before reverting to normal.

Unlike in other Pac-Man games of the time, ghosts would appear as allies to Pacula, informing him of secret entrances to the pinball basement.

Pacula could also collect a "bat pill", that activates a bat button which could be pressed to transform into a bat, giving Pacula temporary invincibility.

The bonus fruit would be activated through the pinball playfield by spelling "B-O-N-U-S", to which the bonus fruit (a Bloody Mary cocktail being named as one) would appear on the game screen.

The game would've featured 4 enemies:

  • Mr. Pac-Man, the smartest of the AI enemies who would always be following Pacula, could anticipate his moves, and would never hide.
  • Mrs. Pac-Man, described as being smart but not as much so as Mr. Pac-Man, would be easily frightened and have a tendency to hide in very open spots that leave her vulnerable.
  • Baby Pac-Man, now a teenager who completely lacks experience. While he'd be very hasty if easily outsmarted when Pacula is vulnerable, he would also be very quick to frighten and try to hide while shaking when Pacula gains his moon powers.
  • Cousin Six-Pac, a new character described as a mountain guide and former movie star who got his nickname from his favorite beverage. He would've been the fastest of the AI enemies and would dash forward when he spots Pacula, leaving him vulnerable after crashing into a wall should Pacula outmaneuver in time


See Also


Count Dracula