Ms. Pac-Man was released as an arcade game in 1982.

Flash forward to 2016: 30+ years later there are tons of new Ms. Pac-Man arcade game cabinets out there in bars, arcades and such nowadays that are new yet they all seem to be set on “fast/speed/speed-up” mode where Ms. Pac-Man herself seems to fly across the screen at a crazy rate of speed.

An example of the “fast/speed/speed-up” version can be seen in this video and an example of the “slow”/original version can be seen in this other video for comparison.

In the 1980s, this “fast/speed/speed-up” mode was considered to be an aftermarket hack of the original 1982 hardware called a “fast/speed/speed-up chip.” But these modern games are 100% new cabinets from an official/legitimate distributor with—one would assume—newer hardware in them.

So are these modern Ms. Pac-Man cabinets being distributed by Bally/Midway or Namco with the “fast/speed/speed-up” mode on as a default?

FWIW, discussions seem to exist about the predominance of the “fast/speed/speed-up” version nowadays here on AtariAge and even at the Arcade Museum, but no definite answer stating if this somehow a deafault method of play on new cabinets or not.


It seems like the Namco 20th and 25th Anniversary cabinets have the Turbo variants of Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, but it is disabled by factory default. The turbo variants can be enabled from the service menu as explained in the owner’s manual for the Ms. Pac-Man/Galaga model 9600.

Turbo can also be be toggled on by using the following code: After inserting credits, press Left, Right, Left, Right, Up, Up, Up, Fire. If done correctly, you should hear the "wakka" Pac-Man sound as explained on this Wikipedia page that lists details on Pac-Man anniversary arcade machines.

The 30th Anniversary Pac-Man's Arcade Party also has speed settings in the service menu as explained in this official operator’s manual.

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  • Great detective work! Now it’s still weird that if the turbo mode is disabled by default, why then does it seem like it’s active on pretty much every Ms. Pac-Man cabinet out there. – JakeGould Jan 13 '17 at 2:03
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    I agree; anecdotally almost every Ms. Pac-Man I have seen is the Turbo variant. Perhaps some cabinet vendors are enabling Turbo by default. It'd be interesting to know how it came to be so ubiquitous! – Mike Welsh Jan 13 '17 at 2:07

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