…but we have to go to the Japanese game media (or here) to find that out(EDIT: Since I initially posted this, a number of sites have picked up on it and covered the arcade game, see below). You may recall that we reported at the beginning of May that Namco was going to hold a special press event at E3 to celebrate Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary. That event took place last night and while I expected to see some coverage of the event along with some talk about Pac-Man Battle Royale, the only sites I have come across so far to show that in detail are some game sites located in Japan. At least one American media site, Joystiq mentioned the event but they only discuss the upcoming release of Pac-Man Championship Edition on the PS3 and PSP. Several other sites don’t mention the event at all at the time of writing (IGN, Gamespot, Edge Online, Kotaku, Destructoid, Siliconera) although who knows, maybe they’ll get around to it eventually or writers from these sites weren’t invited (which seems unlikely). Several sites are discussing the new Pac-Man Championship Edition DX or the new Pac-Man Party game for the Wii (the DX news is exciting at least, Party looks terrible). Japanese sites talking about the event (along with PMBR) already include: Dengeki Online, 4Gamer.net, and Game Watch.
The reason why I point this all out is because I think this serves as a great example to show what we are up against in getting press coverage for the arcade industry, where some sites who claim to be the best in game coverage can’t even bother to cover new arcade releases at a press event they are invited to (perhaps if Namco gave them free PMBR cabinets then they would talk as that’s how things work for console gaming).
UPDATE: Glad to be proven wrong on some level, Sam points to three links in the comments where some other game sites have covered the game. Game Revolution ; TouchGen ; Gamer Limit Kudos to these sites for covering an arcade, TouchGen says that it will be coming to the iPad/iPhone however(which is incorrect as far as I can find out) and Gamer Limit strangely states that they were told that PMBR was “only a prototype with no plans for release.” (at Amusement Expo Namco stated the game was on track for a September release, seems rather odd for them to bring a game like this to an event only to say that it won’t be released so we’ll stick with it still coming in September unless there is an official statement stating otherwise)
Here’s a video from Touch Gen showing the latest software in action, looks like the same thing they had at Amusement ExpoUPDATE #2: shertz from the KLOV forums has posted a photo album frmo the event focusing primarily on the arcade side of it. The marquee they were using there is slightly different than the one above. The cabinet has also lost it’s wood grain design. You can see the pics here. Also it appears from the pics in this album, the Pac-Man iPhone/iPad game is not Battle Royale but something unique in and of itself. He also has a near five minute video of the latest build where they have added some things since Amusement Expo including a colored line that goes from the players stick to their Pac-Man. Losers can also paint the winner at the end of the round, you’ll see what I mean in the videoUPDATE#3: Sam has posted more links that have popped up. Still nothing from those sources I cited above in the beginning but with pages on Ars Technica, Gamer Crave and even Howstuffworks, the game has ended up getting better coverage than we initially saw, which is a very good thing and I am happy to see it. Some on Twitter are even declaring it to be the best game at E3! We also have a number of videos popping up on Youtube from the event. Second look at bringing more arcades to E3 perhaps?
UPDATE #4: Wasn’t sure if I should keep updating this as it unfolds but among the original sites I mentioned who hadn’t covered the game but might, the blog Joystiq has just posted their impressions on the game as has another game blog The Tanooki. One good thing about all this, no matter when the coverage came is that it’s all been positive from what I have seen. There are plenty of lamentations out there in the coverage about the lack of an announced console version from what I have seen but with so many different Pac-Man games out there for every console, is there a good reason why the arcade can’t have an exclusive Pac-Man game of it’s own? There are now two Pac-Man CE versions which this is based on so you would think that console gamers should be satisfied, even though the home versions lack the deathmatch aspect here.
Worth requoting however from The Tanooki: “Regardless of whether or not an at-home version will release, I think Battle Royale could very well be the game to save arcades in America. Quote me, it’s that fun.”