A Craigslist advertisement for a Pac-Man arcade cabinet tells a sweet and sentimental story about its life with its owner and its role as a favoured sleeping perch for his cat. But it may overlook its real value to collectors: It's a rare, illegal clone of the game, known as "Hangly-Man".
The seller, a "Pac-Man purist" who lives in St. Louis, knows of Hangly-Man and even mentions it in the listing, but moves right along to describe its involvement in his life through his 20s, through the end of his marriage and the death of his cat. (It's a bitter-sweet story, worth reading even if you have no intention of buying or means of transporting the cabinet.) He says it was acquired on Long Island, N.Y. about seven or eight years ago, purchased from "a guy who maintained the games on Coney Island," a classic address of North American amusement and gaming.
Hangly-Man (its name is believed to be a corruption of "Hungry Man") features the same characters, sounds and basic gameplay as Pac-Man, it just delivers it on a different board. Mazes one, two, and every even-numbered maze after are variants on the standard Pac-Man maze. The third and all odd-numbered boards afterward are a weird, maze-less screen containing only the boundaries a track of pellets. One gets to this level by consuming all four ghosts with a single energizer on board one.
According to The Killer List of Video Games, Hangly-Man was made by Nittoh and released in 1981, which rates it a 4 on a scale of one to 100 — with one being the least common seen. (That comes from a census of its membership, comprising 4824 unique games across 94,584 machines.) So, it's a good bet this is a rare thing.
The seller is asking $US800; the cabinet has been signed by a bunch of his friends, but it's fully operational, and it comes with the keys to the coin box. And a sentimental story for the new owner to continue.
Coney Island Pac-Man Machine — One of a kind — $US800 (Tower Grove South) [St. Louis Craigslist]