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What is a Bootleg Pac-man worth?

Pac-man was one of the most popular arcade games of all time, and a game that consistently made money in its heyday. Where there is money to be made, there are bootleggers. How do you tell if you own a bootleg Pac-man? If you were to sell the machine, how much would it be worth? This post will start to answer some of those questions.

What is a bootleg Pac-man?

For the purpose of this post, I am defining a bootleg Pac-man as a game that doesn’t have the standard mazes and / or is named something different entirely. If at any time through this post, if you’d prefer, you can contact me direct and I can help you identify your game.

First, let’s start with what a real Pac-man looks like, so that you have a quick reference. Here is one photo of the classic Midway cabinet – full yellow cabinet, stenciled artwork, yellow Pac-man with Inky (Blue Ghost).

Pac-man arcade cabinet right side

Now that you’ve seen the original Pac-man, let’s take a look at an example bootleg Pac-man.

With these first two photos what you will notice right away – this Pac-man isn’t in the yellow cabinet, rather a woodgrain model. A woodgrain cabinet does not make it a bootleg, however. You can get some clues by the ‘craftsmanship’ of the cabinet and the laminate 1-2 player labels.

Bootleg Pac-man FrontBootleg Pac-man Kickplate

If we can’t tell by the cabinet itself, then how can we definitely tell that it is a bootleg? Let’s look at the screen. For classic Pac-man, here is what the maze looks like.

Pac-man Classic Maze

Now, take a look at the photo of the maze for this Pac-man. Its different, they’ve added some exits, and added some walls that make turns trickier.

Bootleg Pac-man Maze

What is this bootleg worth?

Given the popularity of Pac-man, this game will retain some value. However, the market for buyers will change. The individual that will want a Bootleg game, typically wants to collect just the boardset. This individual may want the full cabinet, but they would want a nice looking game if it will take up space in the gameroom.

This bootleg is worth $125 max. This is a great price for the average person who may not care that it is a bootleg, and not the original maze – they just want to play it in their home. Additionally, this price is great for the collecting market because, if someone was to part the game out (take the game apart and sell off the pieces), the parts like the boardset, the monitor, etc. would bring about $100-$125.

You will commonly see versions of Pac-man labeled Puck-man. You might think this would be a definite give away that the game is a bootleg. However, in Japan Pac-man was originally called Puck-man, so the game you have would actually be a real version, just not the American Midway version.

Reach out with questions

This is the first article about Pac-man bootlegs. If you think you have a bootleg Pac-man, or another game for that matter, please contact me today to get a free estimate on the value of your game. I can help you assess whether or not it is a strange rip-off of the original game and what it might be worth.

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