Hey, Misties. It’s Alana here with a guest post. Nick is experiencing technical difficulties, which is why there was no update on Saturday and you have to deal with my bullshit today. Anyway…
Today I will be talking to you about one of the greatest games of all time: Pacman. You might be wondering if a game as simple and archaic as Pacman really deserves that title, and in truth Nick might smack me with a wet mackerel for making the claim, but I’m going for it. Pacman is an ancient beast of an arcade game, even by arcade game standards, and yet everybody still knows it. People born decades after it’s release still know and play Pacman. If longevity and brand recognition are the standards of greatness, and this commercial designer thinks that they are, Pacman is a winner.
Over the weekend, Nick and I had some friends over for a barbecue, and to avoid actually going outside we played PAC-MAN® Championship Edition DX, the 2010 follow-up to 2007’s PAC-MAN® Championship Edition, which I have not played.
Available on the PlayStation Network and XBox Live, PAC-MAN® Championship Edition DX is a fun new way to play an old standard. Unlike the original Pacman, severely limited by the technology of the time, this version has many different mazes and graphics, as well as different modes of play. Sometimes there is darkness everywhere except for a halo around Pacman, meaning you can’t see your way. Sometimes you are in a race against the clock (and your own best time, in the time trials) to get the most fruit, or the highest score in a set time frame. There are myriad ways to play, which keeps the game fun and fresh for a damn sight longer than playing the exact same course over and over and over (albeit at increasing speeds).
|That’s right, I’m superior|
We played on most, if not all, of the different graphics options, which can be loaded separately from the mazes. This means you can have a totally different visual experience each time you play, which makes the aforementioned designer in me very happy. Some of the choices are better than others, however. I found it difficult to see my course clearly in some modes, which is a serious problem when you are being chased by 20 ghosts and another could appear in front of you at any time (yeah, you get chased by “sleeping” ghosts in this game, as well as avoid the traditional four – it’s fucking intense). Others, though, have a fun, colourful-yet-futuristic feel that I really liked. If you’re into the Tron aesthetic, you have some choices.
|Do not pick this one. This one is a bastard.|
And yes, the ghosts – there are ghosts “sleeping” in the maze that don’t move until you pass them, and which time they begin chasing you. When you get a power pellet, you can kill them, just like in the original. Unlike the original, some modes reward you for killing the most ghosts in one turn, and the goal is to get the highest combo. Either way, they are worth points, so it can be a smart strategy to get as many ghosts as possible chasing you before you eat the power pellet. Additionally, you have bombs that you can drop, sending the chasing ghosts away for a few seconds if you become trapped. In some modes the bombs and lives are unlimited. In others, you have to ration. As you kill ghosts your speed increases, until you are flying around the screen too fast to even know what’s happening. The bombs come in real handy right about then, as well as the bullet time feature that kicks in just before you hit a ghost.
|It’s also fucking trippy|
The bright colours, constantly flashing lights, high speed, and repetitiveness (let’s not play dumb – different modes are fun, but they are all the same at their core) actually make PAC-MAN® Championship Edition DX a pretty good party game. People can take turns, and the other guests can yell at the screen and shame the player for screwing up. I suppose they could also offer praise to good playing, if the need arose. All in all, I would call PAC-MAN® Championship Edition DX a fun way to pass an afternoon with your buddies, especially for you PlayStation Plus members who can download it for free.