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

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