From the moment of its introduction Pac-Man took the gaming world, by storm. So how would any other game follow it up and have any modicum of the success of the yellow hungry muncher?
This was the predicament that Namco found itself in in the early 80s when Pac-Man became an almost instance worldwide phenomenon. Spin-offs of the best selling game came and went, and although it was true that they kept the registers ringing, to a point, Namco as in need of a repeat of Pac-Man.
The company thought they had hit the mark with their 1983 arcade game Mappy. Vaguely reminiscent of Pac-Man, Mappy had cute as a button characters, items that players collected, and some hide and seek mixed in to keep it interesting. However, the atmosphere of Mappy was far different than that of Pac-Man. Think cops and robbers only with the characters being cats and mice.
The rodent cop of the game was Mappy, the main character who had the task of retrieving a stash of items—televisions, sound systems, paintings—that had been stolen by Mappy’s nemesis, if you will, the chubby boss cat Goro. Goro had his thieving done for him by his army of Meowkies. Cute huh?
The platform itself is based within the walls of a most unusual mansion. For instance, instead of stairs to move from level to level, there are trampolines. Since Mappy is a rodent, and we all know that rodents can’t jump, the trampolines provide Mappy with a means of avoiding any cats and to gather the stolen items.
Mappy also can use the trampolines to protect himself from the cats, whose single touch can kill him—but they can’t hurt Mappy when he is bouncing. The only fly in the ointment–as it were–is that after having been jumped on a few times, the trampolines break. It is felt that this was an idea that Namco came up with to ensure that players were not prolonging the game and hogging it from others in the arcade.
If one were to think back, Mappy was actually one of the most delicate and defenseless heroes of the 80s arcade games. Although he did carry a weapon, he never even used it. And unlike his counterpart Pac-Man, Mappy didn’t have the advantage of a pellet to power him up to even up his odds.
However, what Mappy did have was doors—doors that, if opened at the right moment, would momentarily stun a cat that might have been pursuing him—as well as the extra added benefit of bonus points.
Even with all the extra added benefits of the doors, the player still had to exercise their wit, timing, and cunning to gather all the necessary stolen items, which then allowed them to move to the next screen.
If you are thinking you might like to try Mappy out and take on Goro’s gang of Meowkies in a game of cat and mouse, be forewarned. The games perky background tune will definitely leave you with a serious case of the earworm.