Pac-Man is celebrating turning 41, and the NBA and Bandai Namco are teaming up for a special event in the PAC-MAN mobile game, featuring new levels.
The old school arcade mascot Pac-Man is celebrating his 41st birthday by teaming up with the NBA in an all-new special event for mobile phones. Bandai Namco and the National Basketball Association (NBA) are collaborating for this momentous occasion in celebration of the Japanese arcade title’s anniversary on May 22.
Pac-Man is synonymous with video game culture, having been one of the most successful arcade games of the 1980s. The original maze action arcade cabinet featured the yellow puck eating dots inside a top-down maze, along with fruit and large dots for extra points, all while being chased by four coloured ghosts named Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde. While the game is fairly simple, Pac-Man was a widespread critical and commercial success that has outlasted many of the arcade classics of the same era. As of 2016 the franchise had generated more than $14 billion in revenue and sold over 43 million in sales combined. It’s no wonder that now, just over 40 years since release, the yellow puck is still at the forefront of the gaming industry.
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In honor of the icon’s anniversary, a celebration is being hosted in the PAC-MAN phone game. The collaboration was announced on both the NBA‘s official Twitter account and by Bandai Namco on Twitter. Fans who log into the mobile app can take part in a special NBA-themed anniversary event, featuring 20 new levels themed after the teams in the NBA playoffs and Play-In tournament. In addition to the crossover content, Bandai Namco is offering Pac-Man themed merchandise for 30% off its usual price. This includes t-shirts, pop figures, puzzles and a mystery box from the 40th celebration anniversary event making a return. There is even a quarter size arcade cabinet that plays the original PAC-MAN arcade edition from 1980.
This is not the only recognition the beloved video game icon has received recently. Last month, Nintendo announced a brand new Pac-Man title in the form of Pac-Man 99, a peculiar battle royale game for the Nintendo Switch. This title follows what’s becoming a proud tradition of unconventional battle royales based on vintage video games appearing on the platform; Tetris 99 and the timed availability of Super Mario 35 set the stage for icons of gaming past seeing new life on the Switch in a large-scale multiplayer arena.
It’s hard to believe that Pac-Man is 41 years old. Games have come a long way since the arcade cabinets of old, but legends such as Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Donkey Kong and Street Fighter still live on to this day. Nostalgia is a powerful force in the video game industry, and as old as games like this get, it’s unlikely that the developers of today will ever forget their humble roots.
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