The Pac is back: new plug & play game, upcoming 'toon and toys...
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Pac-Man, the dot-munching pop culture video game icon, is returning this year with a new plug and play game from Bandai. While plug and play Pac-Man games have been done before, Bandai's version is different in several ways. First, the controller closely replicates the joystick and button layout of the actual arcade game while standing out with a great Pac-Man design. When not in use, the plug and play wires can be wrapped up and stowed away in a compartment in the back. Flip the unit around (joystick facing back) and fans can then have it on display as a cool Pac-Man showpiece (top-right corner in the photo above).
The most notable addition, however, is the ability to reach the coveted Level 256. As Wikipedia explains:
Only a handful of pros have reached this level, but with Bandai's new Pac-Man plug and play game, we all can. In addition to Pac-Man, this plug and play device will pack tons of other classic arcade games including Dig Dug, Galaga and more.Pac-Man was designed to have no ending – as long as the player keeps at least one life, he or she should be able to play the game indefinitely. However, a bug keeps this from happening: Normally, no more than seven fruit are displayed at the bottom of the screen at any one time. But when the internal level counter, which is stored in a single byte, reaches 255, the subroutine that draws the fruit erroneously "rolls over" this number to zero, causing it to try to draw 256 fruit instead of the usual seven. This corrupts the bottom of the screen and the entire right half of the maze with seemingly random symbols, making it impossible to eat enough dots to beat the level. Because this effectively ends the game, this "split-screen" level is often referred to as the "kill screen".
Also announced was that Pac-Man will be returning to television in 2013 with an all-new 3D CGI animated series. 26 episodes are on tap - network to be announced - and Bandai will be rolling out action figures to coincide with its launch. We caught a sneak peek of the show and it looked great - Pac-Man resembling his 80's animated self, but the story and universe being totally fresh and different. Gone is Pac-Land and in is some crazy sci-fi stuff. Trust me when I say it's not the Pac-Man you remember. It looks promising. More details on the new toys and 'toon as we get closer to next year.