Oh baby! A rare find in Chicagoland

Last August (2012) I got an email from an individual in Chicago looking to sell three Pac-man arcade games. I love Pac-man, I have two Pac family games in my collection currently. The list was a Ms. Pac-man cocktail, a Jr. Pac-man conversion and a Baby Pac-man. The seller was nice enough to take and send some photos. One of the photos in particular caught my eye…

Baby Pac-man Prototype Detail

A unique piece – Baby Pac-man

I’ve always loved the design of Baby Pac-man and seriously considered picking up one for my collection. My excitement piqued when I noticed that this was no ordinary Baby Pac-man.

Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 1

Todd over in PA is really the expert on mini machines and has one of these Baby Pac-mans. Todd has mentioned in several posts online when he picked his up in the late 90’s, he learned that 4-5 total of these were built. Todd has one in PA, there was a reference to a collector having one in CA – I think 3 of the original 4 or 5 have been found. Limited quantities means very little about value. Priceless to Todd, but that doesn’t mean most of his minis have any real value to anyone else.

Not sure if this was the true original size that coined the ‘Baby’ monkier, but Bally did scrap the idea and go to the larger yellow standup version.

Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 2

After 5 months of follow up, Chris Moore and I got something scheduled to pick up the Baby Pac-man out of Mt. Prospect. Many years had passed since the game was originally purchased, but the seller bought the game in the 80’s, and he thinks it was directly from an individual that worked at the Bally / Midway plant. We made a nice offer to the seller for the Jr. Pac-man and the Baby and he immediately accepted. This is the second pickup in the past twelve months from information in the Chicago area about games from the Bally / Midway plant.

Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 3

Take a look at the differences in particular on the playfield artwork. On the regular Baby Pac-man, the eyes on the Pac-man’s were large, solid black ovals – trademark Pac-man. The eyeballs on this mini prototype were closer to a Mr. & Mrs. Pac-man Pinball machines – illustrated. Completely different screened artwork.

Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 8
Mini Prototype Detail – Playfield
Baby Pac-man Original - Playfield Detail
Original Detail – Playfield

Here are some additional photos. The tags would indicate that this machine may be using parts of a Pac (cabaret) harness.

Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 4Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 5Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 6Baby Pac-man Prototype - Photo 7

If you know any additional story about the Baby Pac-man prototypes, drop me a note or leave a comment below.

Here are some similar arcade posts

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It never ceases to amaze me when finds like this continue to surface. As the baby boomers clean out their basements, I hope more and more unusual arcade treasure finds its way into collector hands. If the stories about the baby pac man prototypes are to be believed, this is one of only 4 remaining examples. It should make a nice addition to someone’s collection.

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Wow! Wonderful find Jeff! I don’t think I have ever gotten to play a Baby Pac in person. I have played it on Visual Pinball, and man does the video portion seem to be a difficult game. 🙂

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@Brian – Do you enjoy the pinball portion?

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Jeff you certainly have some classic arcade machines here! I am in the process of overhauling the basement in my house to become a game room for my kids, I was wondering if you might now a few places I could go to for info regarding some classic arcade machines? I am looking for pacman, and others. Thaks ahead of time.

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It is definitely a short playfield, which seems to means the ball comes back to the flippers quick. I would really like to play one in person some day.

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I’m a baby boomer cleaning out my basement, and I have a Gottlieb Big Brave I’d like to sell. What is the best way to find collectors/players who might be interested in purchasing my pinball machine? I’m located in Louisville, KY
Thank you.

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