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The newly released Pac-Man Museum+ is a great collection of Pac-Man titles

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Pac-Man is one of the oldest video games that you’ve probably played. It was released in May of 1980, developed by a team at Namco led by a man named Toru Iwatani. He was disappointed that all of the popular arcade games of the time were either inspired by war, like Space Invaders, or by sports, like Pong. He wanted to create a colorful game with broader appeal. He succeeded, with the game becoming hugely popular with women compared to previous arcade hits.

Subsequent games featuring Pac-Man have generally also been maze-chase games, but not exclusively: 1984’s Pac-Land was a sidescrolling adventure game, releasing a whole year before Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.

Namco has just released a great, if not comprehensive, collection of Pac-Man titles called Pac-Man Museum Plus. It includes some games in the series that I hadn’t played before, like Pac & Pal, that never got a commercial arcade release here in the United States. It also has the excellent multiplayer arcade game Pac-Man Battle Royale, which is a 4-player match where you are simultaneously trying to eat power pellets and fruit, just like a normal Pac-Man game, but you’re also trying to eat the three other Pac-Men your friends are playing as. It’s simple, but is as frenetic as it is fun. I’m glad I can play it now without dumping pocketful after pocketful of quarters on it.

Strangely missing is perhaps the most popular Pac-Man title, Ms. Pac-Man. Unfortunately, thanks to a licensing fiasco and ongoing litigation, it might be a long time until we see the Mrs. again.

Samuel McConnell is a games enthusiast who has been playing games in one form or another since 1991. He was born in northern Maine but quickly transplanted to Wichita.