In 1981, Midway began distribution of a Japanese arcade game called Puck Man, which was renamed in North America as Pac-Man. Created two years earlier by Namco’s Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man broke ranks with most of the other arcade games, steering away from space-themed shooting games and birthing an entirely new way to play games that didn’t involve piloting a spaceship and blasting away aliens.
The simplistic controls and quick learning curve helped make Pac-Man incredibly popular, but with maze layouts that gradually increased in difficulty and a quartet of ghosts chasing Pac-Man down, it gave hardcore arcade junkies a good challenge.
Twenty-six years later, Iwatani is leaving the video game business, but before he does, he has left gamers with one final present: Pac-Man Championship Edition on the Xbox Live Arcade. More than just a simple polished-up port, Pac-Man Championship Edition breathes new life into the ages-old franchise, and in doing so, becomes a must-have game for all Xbox 360 owners.
The basic game play of Pac-Man Championship Edition is no different from any of the past Pac-Man games: munch down pellets, bonus fruits and power pellets, all while avoiding those pesky ghosts… at least until they turn blue and become munchable, too. The real differences all lie in the new features that Pac-Man Championship Edition brings to the table.
Iwatani’s maze designs are fully updated this time around, including multiple tunnels and unique patterns never before seen in a Pac-Man game; in fact, the mazes change during game play. No longer are all the dots on the screen at once; the maze is split into two joined but independent halves, each which can change independently from the other. Clearing one half of the board makes a bonus fruit appear on the other half, and munching the fruit causes a new dot and maze pattern to appear on the cleared side of the screen.