Mini Pac-Man with Sound

As you may have read in my earlier post about mini-arcade machines, I did end up building the Pac-Man model. But, not satisfied with just a paper model, I decided I’d add some official Pac-Man sounds. Do you remember those greeting cards that record a few moments of sound and play it back when the card is opened? Well, I looked all over town for one of those, intending to tear it apart and use the audio chip. I couldn’t find one anywhere. Fortunately for me, Radio Shack came through again with their 9-Volt, 20-Second Recording Module (for only $10.49). I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a relatively heavy 9-volt battery, but it actually makes the machine feel more authentic.

As you’ll see in the photos, I had to use a heavier card-stock to carry the weight of the battery and endure the button presses on the front panel. I mounted the speaker behind the coin drawer on the front of the machine and the playback button where the joystick would have been in the real game. I thought about exposing the record button on the back panel, but I didn’t want people to accidentally record over the game sounds, so I left it dangling inside, just in case I need to re-record. I captured the coin “gulp” noise and the famous Pac-Man startup theme on the chip (thank you MAME). The speaker produces just enough volume to fit the size of the model.

It took me more than a few hours to plan everything out and assemble the Pac-Man model, but it was an enjoyable experience that cements my geek status (as if I wasn’t there already). Fortunately, my wife thinks the little machine is “cute,” and she plans on staying married to me. What more can a guy ask for?

Update: Quite a few people have asked for a video of its performance. Not wanting to disappoint, here you go.

Comments (18)

  1. Simon says:

    You could use an old pocket pc (I know my old workplace had bunches of the old 133mhz ones) and make it actually work next…

  2. I had considered that idea, Simon. However, it would make the machine a bit bigger. Right now, the unit is just over 5 inches tall. With a Pocket PC, it’d probably be at least double that. It’d still be pretty cool, though. 🙂

  3. Koworld says:

    We at WotR think Michael is a bloody star. This is just so ace. And the machines will happily scale and print onto A3 paper (thats sort of two legal size ones stuck together). At that size I reckon you’d get a PPC in there easy.




  4. Sean says:

    This may or may not help you in your quest — but if you are still looking for little recording modules, if you have a Build-A-Bear in your area ( they have little modules that can record sounds and then play them back you squeeze the module…

    you might be able to buy a few off them without having to Build-A-Bear 😉

  5. Koworld says:



    That’s quite simply the best thing in the world ever.



  6. Alex Lowe says:

    Ah, but the real question is do you have the high score? 😉

  7. Mike C says:

    You said you were going to do it…and you actually did. A man of his word! Looks great, can’t wait to see it next time I roll through.

  8. Bruce says:

    So we were in Radio Shack just today and I saw the exact module that you describe using, and then thought of your post on the mini-Arcade models. Then I read your blog (after a week of vacation) and you have already accomplished the feat.

    This is about the weirdest deja vous experience I’ve had in a while.

    Also, if Pac-Man is your game, have you seen the Namco "TV Games" handheld unit. It is battery operated and fits in your hand (like the Atari one) and has a video and audio out that feed just about any TV. It is a really nice unit and even has Galaga and Bosconian (my favorite) and a few others.

    So if you could get a paperback-book-sized LCD, 4x size the model, and add some more batteries you could have a working 1/4 scale pac-man unit – or not.

  9. That is totally sweet. I have to subscribe after seeing that. 🙂

    I used to be the resident Pac Man champion in the bar my mom worked at. Back then I had to stand on a chair to play.

    My dream video game cabinet would have to be the cocktail table Ms Pac Man though.

  10. Bruce:

    Yes, I have the NAMCO TV Games unit. I also have the Atari and Activision models (although my Activision unit isn’t the newer unit featured on the JAKK’s site).

    Looking through the games on the JAKK’s site (, I’m pretty excited about the stuff they’re coming out with this summer. Can’t wait for the Atari paddle games! Or the Ms. Pac Man that also includes Galaga…yeah, baby!

  11. Bruce says:

    Mike, thanks for the JAKK’s link.

    Wow, Ms. Pac Man, Galaga (always confuse Galaga and Galaxian), and XEVIOUS (another all-time favorite).

    Very cool.

  12. PG says:

    well, pocketPCs are a bit too big to place into that paper box, but how about some tiny Java-enabled mobile phones? 🙂

  13. Bruce says:

    Or better yet a 2003 SmartPhone with the .Net Compact Framework – are there any of these shipping yet?

  14. No, these three items don’t have anything to do with each other. And I hate to admit that I’m using a…

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