Keeping an eye on the coin-op gaming scene
Bandai Namco and Raw Thrills’ gleefully over-the-top collaboration World’s Largest PacMan & Friends is now available in western arcades. The machine comes in two parts: a control plinth with built-in speakers and a pair of Happ joysticks; and a faintly ridiculous 150” screen formed from an array of multicolour LEDs. The vast setup offers a surprisingly sharp display, which dwarfs the player to such an extent that you might just be transported back to those days of frequenting arcades as a kid and needing to stand on tiptoes in order to play.
But the release doesn’t only rely on nostalgia: those two joysticks support the game’s co-op multiplayer mode which, beside introducing a fresh spin on the ageing classic, must have played havoc with Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde’s dogged AI routines. While the machine is launching in its Pac-Man livery, at last year’s IAAPA Bandai Namco also showed off a build of Galaga running on the setup, and more titles from the publisher’s back catalogue will surely surface over time. The machine can also display moving adverts while it’s in attract mode – it is, after all, a glorified display board – but the appeal of playing oversized Namco classics should ensure that the screen spends more time running games than promo slots.
Game World’s Largest Pac-Man & Friends Manufacturer Bandai Namco