As represented by the turnout at the recent Pac-Man Word Championship, Namco Bandai’s iconic yellow dot is a cultural phenomenon whose influence is still felt by gamers and developers alike. Everyone knows Pac-Man; in many ways he is the industry’s mascot, and while others have risen other the years, including Mario, Sonic, and even Master Chief, none can hope to gain as much popularity as the unmistakable yellow circle with an insatiable appetite for dots.
One could speculate on why, and many have, but the simplicity of the original version – a simplicity belying a need for a deep logic, strategy, and quick reflexes in the player – is probably what lent itself well to Pac-Man‘s rise to popularity. This deceptively-addictive game pit the yellow disembodied hero against four ghosts, with somewhat-predictable AI, who would chase him around various mazes in his quest for dots and power pellets. On eating a power pellet, Pac-Man would become the aggressor, able to eat the ghosts for score combos. Simple, elegant, and pure.
So, how could one improve on this formula while simultaneously appealing to newcomers and the already-existing and very widespread Pac-Man fan club? This is a general question that developers trying to re-imagine the A