K.C. Munchkin on the Odyssey 2: How Close Before You’re Just a Copy?

How many Munchies can your Munchkin munch before your Munchkin’s all munched out? That’s the question posed right on the box cover for K.C. Munchkin for the Odyssey 2. Released in Europe as Munchkin, this maze game’s North American title is an inside reference to then president of Philips Consumer Electronics, Kenneth C. Menkin.

Designed and programmed by Ed Averett, Munchkin is very heavily based on Namco’s 1980 arcade game Pac-Man, but not a direct clone. It was, however, similar enough for Atari to sue Philips and force them to cease production of Munchkin. Atari was exclusively licensed to produce the first play-at-home version of Pac-Man, but Munchkin hit store shelves in 1981, a year before Atari’s game was ready. Atari initially failed to convince a U.S. district court to halt the sale of Munchkin, but ultimately won its case on appeal. In 1982, the appellate court found that Philips had copied Pac-Man and made alterations that “only tend to emphasize the extent to which it deliberately copied the Plaintiff’s work.” The ruling was one of the first to establish how copyright law would apply to the look and feel of computer software.

#atari #odyssey2 #lawsuit #genxgrownup

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