Retro Video Game Reviews: Ms. Pac-Man (NES)

Overall Score: 2/5 Stars

In 1981, a classic video game was released by Namco in the arcades on Midway machines called Ms. Pac-Man, which was a sequel to the legendary Pac-Man title that was first seen in arcades two years earlier. Ms. Pac-Man brought the same basic gameplay to the screen but with some loosely plot-contriving animations between every couple of levels, giving new and amateur players a sense of satisfaction upon their completion, and a way to entice further play to higher levels. It also showed off a new protagonist, the titular Ms. Pac-Man; who, as the storyline shows, eventually meets, falls in love with, and generally lives a happy lovey-dovey life with the hero Pac-Man. If you have played pkv games in the past, you would know how popular the retro video games used to be. 

The maze-solving pellet-gobbling ghost-dodging gamer-attracting puzzler was a smash hit in its own right, so much so that two different versions were released on the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System home video game console: In 1990, Tengen released a rather eyebrow-raising version of the title as part of their usual rebellious ways, while a more vanilla version was published on a standard gray cartridge in 1993. Either way, the gameplay was essentially identical, and the overall presentation offering a similar feel.

Gameplay

Ms. Pac-Man, like its predecessor Pac-Man, is basically a maze-solving game where the player navigates the yellow character (with a red bow, in this case) through each level (a maze), with the goal of consuming all the pellets on the board. The larger pellets are Power Pellets, and grant her the temporarily ability to eat the ghosts that chase her and usually mean instant death upon touching. Subsequent levels offer slightly more complex mazes, reduced ghost-eating time per power pellet, and differing bonus fruits that appear on the stage that can be eaten for bonus points.

The game just used the directional pad, with the exception of the Tengen version, which offers a “pac booster” option, which is just a speed boost that is either always on or can be operated by holding down the A or B buttons. While it is definitely possible to still be trapped by the ghosts, this contrivance removes a chunk of the challenge and eliminates the primal appeal of the Pac-Man games. Not only that, but the blasphemous Tengen version also has a stage select option, in addition to quirkily also allowing a choice of types of levels: Larger, smaller, arcade-like, or “strange,” in which the levels have odd design choices and features like giant horseshoe loops. The Tengen version primarily differs from the Nintendo-endorsed version in that, while the approved Ms. Pac-Man takes place with each level entirely on one static screen, the Tengen cart actually scrolls up and down to accommodate the mazes. Otherwise, the Tengen is a blatantly code-altered version that just tried to stand out from the norm and appeal to a broader audience. While its additions could be argued as adding depth to the game, in reality, they cheapen a title that is already debatably a cheap money-grabbing sequel with identical gameplay, and decide to give everyone an easier, watered-down, debug-code type of experience.

Graphics

Great for arcades, poor for the NES console. The original cabinet title, at least, was revolutionary in its use of a recognizable cartoon-like protagonist controllable character. Ms. Pac-Man just remixes the player-character, but does add cutscenes, cute little animated shorts that keep this game from just completely being a reboot. In some subtle ways, though, the graphics actually seem to take a slight back, such as the somewhat more dull way that Ms. Pac-Man dies, as opposed to the death spiral and blink-out-of-existence animation that the original Pac-Man used. This brings up the question: Why change the classic animation and incorporate something that seems like a step in the wrong direction?

Sound

Skillfully (from a minimalist consideration) composed little ditties and sound effects are intact, though every noise seems higher-pitched and obvious, perhaps either due to player perspective bias or something concerning female vocal range. The death noise is not the same, as implied before, and the cutscenes have neat little tracks. As with many arcade-game ports to the NES, the 8-bit version of the soundtrack is not quite the same, nor as memorable of quality, but gets the job done.

Originality

This is the category where Ms. Pac-Man takes a hit. Yes, it has a different main character; and, yes, it adds those cute little animation scenes, along with the Tengen version skinning the game’s code for full exposure to tweaking and exploration. But, from a completely objective point of view, from a perspective unbiased by the rose-colored lens of the beloved arcades and their classic cabinets, Ms. Pac-Man is, at its core, just like the original Pac-Man. Sure, that can be considered a good thing, and it has differing mazes, but it cannot rack up many points for creativity, it cannot be given as much credit for innovating, and it cannot be as fresh and revolutionary of an experience as Pac-Man was.

Stacked up against the newness of the original Pac-Man, put up against the rest of the 8-bit NES library, and viewed as just another game in the pantheon, Ms. Pac-Man unties her bow to the tune of two stars out of five, without even a legendary death knell to mark her demise.

Basic Preflop Play for Micro Stakes No Limit Texas Hold’em

Now that you understand how to determine if you have a hand that you can open-raise with from a specific position, you will need to learn to make adjustments so that you understand how to play when there is action before you.

The first situation that I would like to address is when to call or re-raise. While calling is a bit more in depth, re-raising someone is a very easily understandable situation in micro stakes games. If you have the following hands, you enough “power” to re-raise:

  • Pocket Aces
  • Pocket Kings
  • Pocket Queens
  • Ace/King suited

After your re-raise, if someone raises you again, you will can shove all in with:

  • Pocket Aces
  • Pocket Kings
  • Pocket Queens

If someone shoves all-in over your raise, you will call with:

  • Pocket Aces
  • Pocket Kings
  • Pkv

As you can see, as our opponents actions get more aggressive, we increase the strength of our hands in response. If you recall from the first article, The best way to make money in poker is to fold.

In these raise/re-raise situations, we are not looking to play post flop in a bloated pot. We are looking to take down the pot or get in with powerful holdings. In the micro stakes, players tend to over value their hands. In a raise/re-raise situation, you may find yourself all in against an opponent with pocket tens against your pocket kings or they will hold Ace/Ten against your pocket Aces. We only want to play big pots with big/powerful hands. There is no reason to try to “get lucky” with a medium strength hand in an all-in/re-raised situation. Money that you don’t lose is just as “spendable” as money you win.

Calling a raise pre-flop requires a tiny bit of math. We will call if we have:

  • All Pocket Pairs
  • Suited connectors Jack/Ten or Higher
  • Suited Aces Ace/Nine and higher

But only if the raisers stack meets the following qualification:

The raiser must have at least 15 times the raise in his/her remaining stack. Since we will flop a set 1 out of every 10 times we call, we want our odds to be greater than 10/1. If we follow the “rule of 15”, we always have 15/1 odds. We will also only make our straights/flushes about 25%. This makes us need at least 4/1. The odds above this give us the ability to profit from the call even though we miss more than we hit.

If someone raises and you do not have a hand from the re-raise list, you do not have a hand that we defined as a calling hand, or you do have a calling hand, but you are not getting the odds described above; you need to fold. The best way to make money playing poker is to fold.

Now I would like to address something that is very common at the micro stakes, the pre-flop limper. Limping into a pot is a passive play and always a mistake. We will need to punish the players that limp by raising them. When a player limps, we will raise so that we can push out the other players on the table. This allows us to play heads up against a passive (and in all probability bad) player. This is called an isolation play.

When you make a raise to isolate a limper you can use any hand the meets 2 or 3 of the criteria that we laid out for a playable hand. This give you the opportunity to play a passive player heads up, with a hand that will flop a strong amount of equity. I would like to caution you before you arbitrarily begin raising all limpers without thought, DO NOT ISOLATE A PLAYER WHO NEVER FOLDS. The power of isolating a passive player is that we bet on the flop and take the pot down. If you attempt this play against a calling station (someone who will call with any piece of the board) you will be giving chips away.

So, now we have discussed how to determine if a hand is playable and where it is playable from and we have added how to respond if there is any action before you. The next article will address play on the flop and I will explain how pre/post flop play are not different stages of the hand, but one continuous flowing action.Remember to continue using the 3 criteria that we discussed to determine if a hand is playable and try to incorporate a bit of this discussion into your game.

Understanding Impulses when Facing Anxiety in No-Limit Hold’em

The most popular form of poker today by far is Texas hold’em played with no-limit betting. There are many ardent players who have played the game on PokerQQ and really enjoyed the whole experience. No-limit betting can be found in all types of poker games, but in Texas hold’em particularly the ability to put all of your chips in at any time can create a lot of stress and anxiety. When this stress and anxiety combines with the sense of entitlement we get from playing against bad players, the results can be disastrous.

Here’s one example. Suppose you have a very passive player who limps in with a lot of various holdings and calls a lot post-flop. This player limps in early position, you raise in middle position with the Ace of spades and the King of spades, and it folds around to our opponent in early position who calls your raise. The flop then comes the Queen of spades, the Four of spades, and the Eight of clubs, giving you two overcards, the nut flush draw, a backdoor nut-straight draw, and the best Ace high possible.

Your opponent checks and you make a bet of almost the size of the pot since you are actually ahead of a lot of one-pair type hands that call, as well as flush draws that may call. Against a number of other hands you are basically a coin-flip, but it’s to your advantage to raise to build a pot since you will be in position and have a larger advantage later in the hand the larger the pot becomes.

Your opponent then goes all-in for about ten times your flop bet, and you have enough left in your stack to call the entire raise. This is an interesting psychological moment. Your opponent would almost never do this without two pair or better, which you are so far behind (despite your otherwise excellent holding) that you can’t call his huge overbet all-in. However, when your opponent goes all-in here, it can trigger feelings that are similar to a minor anxiety attack.

In this moment, you grasp for something to try to make sense of the situation because of the panic his bet induces. What you will probably try to grasp onto is the fact that your hand was looking pretty good when the flop came. This causes you to be optimistic and often impulsively call without going through the normal thought process of deciding if calling the bet is a profitable proposition or not.

The anxiety created in this moment initiates what’s known as the fight or flight mechanism, which is what causes you to just grasp for something and completely bypass your normal analysis. If you were to slow down, take a deep breath and lower your emotional level, you would be able to re-enter a rational state of mind and effectively turn off the fight or flight mechanism. So whenever you’re playing no-limit Texas hold’em, or the no-limit betting variation of any poker game, remember to keep an eye on your emotional level constantly, and if you start to feel anxious, take a deep breath and calm down before you make any big decisions.

First Person: Rally at the Big Hole Protests Casino Dispute with Governor

At 2:00 p.m. Thursday, a small crowd gathered on a corner at the edge of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Until recently, the large fenced in area at Reading and Broadway was the site of ongoing construction. Crews were excavating the site to build Cincinnati’s new Horseshoe Casino until developer Rock Ohio Caesars halted construction May 11.

The crew left behind a big hole that County Commissioner Todd Portune and others now call “Kasich’s Krater.” The crowd gathered to protest the newly elected governor’s interference in what was once a done deal. The details were approved by the voters in the 2009 election. The Ohio legislature and previous governor signed off on it as well, but Gov. Kasich wants more revenue and refuses to honor previous agreements.

A small but enthusiastic crowd

A crowd of about 25 strong gathered in support of the casino. Sam Jackson attended the rally wearing his “Yes on 3” tee shirt. Those shirts were popular during the 2009 election campaign.

“I had friends working down here,” Jackson said. He expected the casino to be up and running soon and blames the delay on the people who voted for Kasich.

Alicia was one of a few people carrying hand-lettered signs. When asked if she was attending the rally because she was pro-casino or anti-Kasich, she and several others in the crowd said “both.” They agreed the two positions were one in the same. Alicia’s sign said “Kasich don’t veto the voters.” It was a reference to the fact that voters approved the casino deal Kasich was trying to change.

Hamilton County Commissioner Portune

Passing cars blew their horns in support of the casino as Portune spoke to the crowd. He began by stating how proud he was to be with the citizens of Cincinnati and Hamilton County. He was very vocal with his criticism of Ohio’s current administration. He talked about the failed policies that resulted in Ohio being “closed to business” and how businesses were moving out of the state. He accused the governor of trying to “strong arm” businesses which only wanted to set up shop in Ohio. He recited a list of facts and figures and explained the millions of dollars Ohio, Hamilton County and Cincinnati stood to lose because of the casino stalemate.

Portune briefly discussed the recently passed Ohio Senate Bill 5. He talked about Gov. Kasich putting people in the state at odds with him over the issue, which minimized public employees’ collective bargaining rights. He called the governor’s actions an “attack on the middle class.”

When asked what he thought might happen with the casino project a customer said agen judi roulette online terpercaya has done all this because the portals has all the crucial aspects that are mandatory for any online casino to have.  Portune said “I don’t know what’s going to happen. If he [Kasich] didn’t do it, it’s no good. He’s basically telling people, it’s my way or the highway.” Portune is concerned that Cincinnati’s casino is in competition with another casino 20 miles to the west of the city.

“We need these jobs now. We need the revenue now. What we don’t need is Gov. Kasich,” he said.

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