Pac Man which was one of the first real hot video games to sell in Australia on the Atari platform is set to make a return on Microsoft’s Xbox360.
Pac Man will be reborn on Microsoft’s Xbox Live online service as a final tribute for designer Toru Iwatani, who is retiring from the $30 billion games industry he helped ignite. In Australia Pac Man was a massive hit with stores like Grace Bros, Myer and David Jones turning the software into an overnight success for Melbourne based distributor Futertronics. Harvey Norman and JB Hi Fi were not even in the market at the time.
The new version of the iconic arcade game is a faithful interpretation of the addictive 27-year-old original, where players wrenched joystick controllers to race a character – resembling a yellow pizza missing a slice – around a digital maze to chomp white pellets and chase multicolored “ghosts.”
The new game, “Pac Man Championship Edition,” is the second and final version Iwatani personally designed, and was created for the final round of the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship in New York, when nine finalists played it for the first time.
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Iwatani, 52, an employee of Japan’s Namco Bandai Holdings, said in an interview he will retire from active duty at Namco and spend more time teaching the next generation of game designers at Tokyo Polytechnic University.
He said there were no immediate plans for another version of Pac Man, but that he could work with Namco in a supervisory position or work on a new version with his students.
The new game, which pulses to dance music and has mazes that change shapes, marks Iwatani’s swan song from electronic interactive entertainment, an industry with annual revenue that now tops U.S. box office movie sales.
But Iwatani said the future of the games industry, where development budgets now rival those of some feature-length movies, lies not with professional creators, but outsiders.