This past week marked the 35th anniversary of gaming’s first international superstar, Pac-Man. The arcade cabinet hit the Japanese gaming scene on May 22, 1980, and it dominated the American market later that year in October.
True, Americans had Pong by that point in history, and Japan was overrun by Space Invaders. However, Pac-Man was the first mascot both countries could share, leading to an incredible entertainment alliance which led to 35 years of excellence. Everything from Donkey Kong and Final Fantasy to Monster Hunter and Metal Gear Solid, all because some pizza faced weirdo chomped down on blue ghosts.
To celebrate 35 years of existence, Bandai Namco has announced plans to launch a free-to-play smartphone game called Pac-Man 256, developed by Hipster Whale of Crossy Road fame. Its name comes from an infamous kill screen glitch which will end every game of Pac-Man on the 256th level.
“The gaming industry keeps on growing massively on a daily basis and we, at Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe, are proud to be pioneers of this with some of the biggest licenses out there!” says Head of Mobile & Web Gaming at Bandai Namco Entertainment Europe Tatsuya Kubota.
“This year, we are celebrating Pac-Man’s 35th Anniversary and we couldn’t miss such an opportunity: we decided to create a brand new exciting game with Hipster Whale and Bandai Namco Studios Vancouver. This results in a stirring game based on some elements that made history. Join us in celebrating Pac-Man’s anniversary!”
Exciting news of an iconic character’s birthday, but I’ve never been that huge of a Pac-Man fan. I’m just a little too young, I suppose. I played the original on the NES as a kid, but quickly moved on to bigger games like Castlevania and Mario after getting a single Game Over. I’ve never played Ms. Pac-Man, and the only times I can genuinely say I’ve liked a Pac-Man game are Pac-Man Vs. on the GameCube and the undeniable king of the franchise, Pac-Man Championship Edition.
How about yourself? Any positive Pac-Man memories? Are you a natural Billy Mitchell, and can you get a perfect game?