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Retro-gaming nostalgia: Grandstand Munchman

Grandstand MunchmanOf all the electronic hand-helds to have at school in the early 1980s, the Grandstand Munchman was the king at my school. Looking back at it now, I can only assume this was based on size and appearance rather than gameplay.

Compared to something like the Grandstand Mini Munchman, or the Tandy Ogre Eater, the Grandstand Munchman's gameplay is quite weak. Munchman himself can only face in one direction, a necessity of LED space, and the pills can therefore only be eaten from one direction, right to left. Ghosts and Munchman can never fully occupy the same space and so collisions are unrealistic. Ghosts do not change colour once you've eaten a power star, there's just an irritating clicking noise instead. But was quality an issue back then? Nope. It was enough to own one of these things to be the most popular kid in the class on "bring your games day". This toy lights up, and board games just can't compare to that. It also plays the same start-game music of the original Pac-Man arcade machine.

However, the product design of the game itself is gorgeous. There's no mistaking the casing for anything else, looking like a giant yellow munchman-UFO hybrid. The electronics inside this casing occupy less than 50% of the internal space. Just like other handhelds of the time, this was from an era where electronics really were Made In Japan and with Munchman being based/licenced on the Japanese TOMY original "Puck-Man", the Grandstand Munchman is no different. Quality plastic, perfect fit. Only the sticker above the screen is a potential wear-point.

Unfortunatly I don't have the box for this game.


Grandstand Munchman
Above: The Grandstand Munchman main game screen. You can just about make out all the possible positions of the Munchman and the ghosts here.

Grandstand Munchman
Above: At the start of a game, you can see the illogical but necessary placement of the pills around the Munchman play area.

Grandstand Munchman underside
Above: Underneath the Grandstand Munchman, including the playing instructions.There are two modes in this game, AMA(teur) and PRO(fessional). This is controlled with the left hand red switch on the top side of the machine.

Grandstand Munchman
Above: Another view of the Grandstand Munchman

Grandstand Munchman
Above: Extreme close-up of the Munchman LEDs in all their glory.

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