If you’ve seen me grinning as I drop tokens in ICHEG’s eGameRevolution exhibit, you’ve probably concluded I’m a huge retro coin-op fan. Games like Galaga, Tron, and Centipede keep me coming back in hopes of a new high score. In my book, playing “Golden Era” arcade cabinets never gets old.
My attachment to these classics makes me worry when I read about the pending release of a new version of one of these timeless games. It’s hard to live up to the original, especially if that original is a game as iconic as Pac-Man. Namco produced quality Pac-Man sequels during the early 80s, but can they revive the franchise decades later?
During E3 in Los Angeles last summer, fellow CHEGhead J.P. Dyson and I played the prototype for Bandai Namco Games’ Pac-Man Battle Royale, a game designed for the 30th anniversary of the Pac-Man franchise. It’s a four-player cocktail-style arcade game, and we had a blast with it. Designers stayed true to the feel and aesthetic of the original, while at the same time injecting innovative game play—most notably a head-to-head multiplayer element. Instead of just having the ghosts to deal with, now you’re also concerned about getting eaten by the other Pac-Men.
Namco started to ship Battle Royale earlier this month, and guests of The Strong will soon be able to play it in ICHEG’s eGame Revolution exhibit. Watch the ICHEG Facebook page for news of its arrival. Meanwhile, a free iPad/iPhone version on the App Store allows you to play the first level. Check it out!