I had the chance to catch a preview of IAAPA 2021 – in person – this afternoon, where our next big piece of arcade news comes once again from Bandai Namco Amusements. While the previous news was about Maximum Tune 5DX+, this one is about Namco’s beloved IP, Pac-Man. Specifically a sequel to a popular game released 10 years ago, Pac-Man Battle Royale. The new game carries the PMBR name while adding Chompionship to it, and makes for a new evolution in the realm of competitive Pac-Man.
Chompionship takes the core idea of Pac-Man Battle Royale – play as a Pac-Man who must be the last Pac-Man standing – and beefs it up with a variety of power-ups, a score & leaderboard and it supports up to eight players at once. Yes – eight players on two cabinets, or on a single projected screen.
UPDATE: Here’s footage of the game in action:
I need to explain both of these a little more. First, the cabinet. This will be available in both a dedicated and conversion kit form. Various options will be available for the kit, although I need to verify if I can get into detail on them here (can’t remember in all the conversations I had – I really need to write more stuff down 🙂 ) The new design is very nice, using LED lighting under each joystick panel+LED T-molding to catch the eye better than before. The marquee is only needed on one unit in this instance, so a metal cover is included to patch up the hole.
On both games, but particularly the projection version, Bandai Namco has taken a very interesting step – there is no 8-player control panel here. Instead, a WiFi signal is broadcast from the game and players can control a Pac-Man with their smartphones. Not seen in the picture above is a simple Pac-Man pedestal with QR codes on it; Scan it with your phone and gain access to the game (with credits inserted, of course). Operators don’t even need this panel, just the QR codes, allowing a variety of venues like restaurants to offer the game without needing to setup a panel – just QR codes. I didn’t get a chance to play it yet, but I’m certainly curious to see how it plays with a joystick vs. a phone.
As mentioned there above, this game also has a variety of power-ups. This banner lists them all out, although right as I showed up, they had installed a software update which apparently added one more, although I wasn’t able to find out what it did.
Stay tuned for more, including video as I can get it! 🙂