Categories: Video Games

PAC-MAN Museum + review. 42 years of arcade history.

Can not be done. You simply cannot do a review on PAC-MAN. Because PAC-MAN is not just a video game but one of those phenomena that helped define the concept of video games same. After 42 years, we all already know PAC-MAN and, of course, we have all played it at least once. PAC-MAN Museum +, which we see in this review it is not a video game but a container that tells us a story. The story of a videogame classic born in 1980.

The PAC-MAN Museum + review

PAC-MAN Museum +, which is a extension of the PAC-MAN Museum released in 2014, is, in fact, a container within which we find the faithful simulations of 14 editions of PAC-MAN. Let’s start from first PAC-MAN of Toru Iwatani released in 1980 up to PAC-MAN 256, from 2015.

This game reminds us of a very important thing: PAC-MAN it’s not just a gameplay of balls and mazes. In its various incarnations it was also a platformer, such as PAC-LAND and PAC-IN-TIME. In others it has also incorporated elements of strategy, such as PAC-ATTACK and PAC-MAN 256. In many cases, however, it has been faithfully at its origins but enriching the gameplay of the first PAC-MAN with new elementsas in the case of ARRANGEMENT and CHAMPIOSHIP EDITION.

However, it should be noted that, in reality, the versions of PAC-MAN never produced are more than the 14 that are proposed to us. Among the illustrious absentees, while limiting ourselves to arcade only, there are for example Ms. PAC-MAN and Jr. PAC-MAN. So, in our opinion, there is also room for a Museum ++ in the coming years.

However, they are games of other times

1980: PAC-MAN

1982: SUPER PAC-MAN

1983: PAC & PAL

1984: PAC-LAND

1987: PAC-MANIA

1995: PAC-IN-TIME

1996: PAC-MAN ARRANGEMENT

2005: PAC-MAN ARRANGEMENT

2007: PAC-MAN CHAMPIONSHIP EDITION

2007: PAC’N ROLL

2015: PAC-MAN 256

Someone younger, born in the shadow of GTA and with a ready-made 64-bit console at home, might start saying these 14 games are bad. In reality, they are not ugly, they are vintage. And, as such, they had to contend with hardware and computing capabilities that today would not be acceptable even for our coffee maker.

At the time, there was no concept of a graphics card, much less that of a GPU. There was only one thing called Video Memory, where the value of each individual memory location changed to the color of a pixel on the screen. The programmer was responsible for turning every single pixel on and off to design the game. Furthermore, to reinforce the idea, we also remind you that the original arcade could only count on 6 KB (Kilo Byte) of memory.

Perhaps we are letting ourselves be carried away a little by nostalgia, but with this perspective each of these PAC-MAN becomes a small work of art.

The only problem is not the games, but ours

With all the extenuating circumstances of the case and suppressing our historical passion, there is only one thing in this review that we didn’t like about PAC-MAN Museum +: the controls. But honestly, we can’t even say it’s all the game’s fault. Playing with a gamepad or keyboard isn’t the best, in the sense that you hear the game respond badly. On the other hand, these are games designed to be used with a joystick; not just any one, but one of the cabin cruisers that must be used with energy. If you are already a fan, you certainly have one at home. If you are not, PAC-MAN Museum + could be the right excuse to get one.

The metaphor of the playroom

Older people remember them very well. She entered with a few coins in her pocket and we spent hours jumping from one cabin to another. Everything, to leave your initials in a ranking in full view. However, it was already known that this ranking was destined to disappear that same evening when the lights went out. In spite of everything, being in first position made us return home happy.

This emotion remains in the memories of those who now begin to have white hair, but PAC-MAN Museum + does its best to recreate it in digital form. In practice, the main game hub is a room where the player can move the PAC-MAN character to move between the various cabinets. In each cabinet there is a different simulation.

The appearance of the coins / tokens has also been recreated. Indeed it starts with 500 tokens available. This is a little smiley, as none of us have ever walked into an arcade with so much money. However, on the other hand, it is no less unrealistic than a room floating above an infinite labyrinth.

The tokens must, of course, be spent on the cabinets in order to play. However, no alarms, they are not recharged with microtransactions. To earn tokens we can carry out missions to the cabinets or play using a free station. In fact, within each simulator there will be a sequence of objectives that, if achieved, will reward us with new tokens and unlocking items with which to customize the room.

The hall can be personalized by adding furnishing elements and changing the aesthetics using the tokens with the distributors that we find next to the cabinets. We can add furniture, wallpaper and even soundtracks. Obviously, all the elements already present, including the cabinets, can be moved to make the environment truly ours.

Regarding the room, if we are to be honest, it is perhaps a little small to put everything we can buy into it. Also, we recommend that you go into the settings right away and put the ambient music to a minimum which we found a little too loud and insistent.

The PAC-MAN Museum + review at a glance

As we said at the beginning, you can’t do a review on a 42-year-old game that is now an icon. We did the review of the container where it was placed in 14 simulated versions: PAC-MAN Museum +. The container it works, it’s captivating, and does its best to inspire us to play simulated arcades. As if it were needed.

Unfortunately, the controls with the gamepad are not the best, even if the games in the end remain usable.

It is a title that may not thrill the youngest but certainly that it will bring out a lot of memories for those who are a few years older. PAC-MAN Museum+ è disponibile su Steam, PlayStation, XBox e Nintendo Switch.

PRO

  • Simulation done very well
  • It includes titles that are a bit difficult to find elsewhere

VERSUS

  • Uncomfortable to play with a gamepad
  • Background music a little too insistent

Published by
Marco Dellapina

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