With their current generation models already five years old, speculation is mounting that 2019 will see the release – or at least greater details about – a new Xbox and PlayStation.
Accordingly, games players are getting excited about the prospect of even greater processing power and ever more realistic graphics, but at the same time as we speculate about the future of video games, there’s a healthy and growing market in ‘retro’ games and devices.
The Arrival of Mini Arcades
In the past few months, there’s been a flurry of news on the subject. First came the arrival of a new range of mini arcade games from My Arcade, which was followed by news of the AtGames range of Blast! plug & play HDMI dongles – which include up to 20 classic titles each. Then, just two weeks ago, AtGames also announced their latest deal which will see a host of classic Star Wars and Disney titles re-released on full-sized arcade machines, plus micro and portable consoles.
Each of these devices boasts at least one major headline title, but there’s one which always seems to be at the top of most people’s list –Pac-Man. First released by Namco in 1980, the simple but highly addictive game – in which the player must guide the titular character around a maze, eating the dots and power pellets while avoiding being eaten by ghosts Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde – captured the public’s imagination.
Pac-Man rapidly became the must-play game in any arcade and spawned a range of merchandise, including the very first video game tie-in TV series. It ended up becoming one of the true icons of the decade – a status celebrated by Pac-Man’s appearance in Director Chris Columbus’ 2015 film, Pixels.
Pixels Official Trailer – Sony Pictures Entertainment
The guys at Retromash have put together an in-depth history of the full Pac-Man evolution, including the move into platform games, online casino and slots. But if you’re looking for information on how to play the original game, we have you covered.
For those feeling especially flush, the original 1980s Pac-Man cabinets come up for sale periodically from various specialist sellers. However, with prices in the £3-4k range, these may not be a viable choice for everyone.
Luckily, there are several other wallet-friendly alternatives available. The 1/4 scale Pac-Man Replica Arcade Cabinet from Numskull costs £150 and features a wooden case, 5-inch screen and replicas of the original artwork. As you’d expect from an officially licensed product, it runs the original arcade game’s software ensuring you get the most authentic experience possible.
Pacman 1/4 Scale Arcade Machine
Also boasting the original ROM is My Arcade’s Micro Player which we reviewed back in October and were seriously impressed by.
Made from plastic, the Micro Player stands just 16cm tall and features a 2.75” full-colour screen as well as surprisingly impressive speakers. The sub-£30 price tag means it’s an affordable option for anyone looking to treat themselves or buy a gift for a gaming fan.
While the Micro Player is both desk-friendly and portable, those planning to regularly play on the move will probably want to take a look at its stablemate, the My Arcade Pac-Man Pocket Player.
Costing around £35, this is a 16-bit handheld console featuring a full-colour screen and ergonomic design. It includes not just the the original game but also 1993’s Genesis and Super NES console title Pac-Panic (Pac-Attack outside Europe) plus Pac-Mania – a 3D variant of the original.
Pac-Man Connect and Play
An older option which is still available through Amazon and some other retailers is Pac-Man Connect and Play.
This is a snazzy Pac-Man shaped controller which, as the name implies, connects to your TV and lets you play 12 classic video games – including Pac-Man, Pac-Man 256 and Pac-Man Plus.
And then there are apps for mobile.
The original Pac-Man is available as an app for both Apple’s iOS devices and Android-powered smartphones. It currently enjoys a near-perfect and rare 4.8 out of 5 star rating in the AppStore, and it also happens to be free!
PAC-MAN featuring Sonic the Hedgehog Trailer
Alternatively, there are plenty of casino apps also available for free where you can play the Pac-Man slot machine.
While these smartphone apps might lack the authentic decals and joystick play of the options listed above, on the plus side you already own the device itself and carry it around with you all the time.
All of which makes it the fastest way to relive one of the most iconic and important video games ever made, so what are you waiting for?