Japanese designer Toru Iwatani, father of the original Pac-Man, surprised the world with his first new mazes in 26 years in a farewell bid to a US$30 billion game industry. The new game, "Pac Man Championship Edition", is the second and final version Iwatani personally designed, and was created for the final round of the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship.
Parts of Microsoft‘s official press release:
Original “Pac-Man” Creator Surprises World With First New Mazes in 26 Years — Only on Xbox 360
New “Pac-Man Championship Edition” unveiled and played for the first time in the world at the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship, presented by Quiznos.
The year was 1981: Big hair, high-waisted jeans and popped-up collars were popular fashions, “Bette Davis Eyes” topped the charts, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” hit theaters, and everyone was saving up quarters to play the latest video games. Also that year, a new video game by game designer Toru Iwatani at NAMCO LTD. (currently NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.) hit arcades around the world and would soon become a pop- culture phenomenon and one of the most beloved games of all time. That game was “Pac-Man®,” and today Microsoft Corp. and NAMCO BANDAI Games made video game history by unveiling the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” — featuring the first new Pac-Man mazes in more than 26 years — available only on the Xbox 360™. This brand new game was introduced today in New York City at the first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship, presented by Quiznos. As a special surprise from Iwatani and NAMCO BANDAI Games, the 10 tournament competitors became the first in the world to play and compete on the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” before its launch at 9 a.m. GMT (5 a.m. EDT) on June 6, 2007, only on Xbox LIVE® Arcade on the Xbox 360.
The “Pac-Man Championship Edition” is the same beloved “Pac-Man” game played in pizza parlors and arcades of the ’80s but is updated with new features that former “Pac-Man” fanatics and new generations of fans alike will love. It includes new mazes that dynamically change shape during gameplay, six new timed game modes, new soundtracks and high-definition (HD) graphics. Details include the following:
- Classic 2-D “Pac-Man” presentation with a new, modern look in HD
- Six new, timed game modes:
- The Championship Mode. This is the main game mode designed by NAMCO BANDAI Games and Iwatani specifically for the championship round of the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship. This mode — as well as all others within the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” — features redesigned mazes with wide maze walls and a widescreen configuration to better enable high-speed game play. Timed limit of five minutes.
- Challenge Mode 1 (Patience and Reward Course). This mode is an evolution of the Championship Mode. Patience mazes strategically offer fewer Power Pellets, and Reward mazes provide a large number of Power Pellets —providing unique challenges and rewards for the player. Timed limit of 10 minutes.
- Challenge Mode 2 (The Darkness Course). In this mode, only the area directly around Pac-Man and the ghosts is visible and the maze walls are completely hidden. Timed limit of 10 minutes.
- Extra Mode 1 (The Freeway Course). An extremely high-speed mode for advanced players, this mode features warp-speed Pac-Man and ghosts and plenty of tunnels. Timed limit of five minutes.
- Extra Mode 2 (The Manhattan Course). A mode inspired by the streets of Manhattan — the home of the first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship. Timed limit of five minutes.
- Extra Mode 3 (The Overall Course). A mix of all other modes resulting in extreme mazes for the most devout Pac-Man fans. Timed limit of 10 minutes.
- Xbox LIVE leaderboards, Achievements and Gamerscore
- Rated E for Everyone by the Entertainment Software Rating Board
- Costs 800 Microsoft® Points
- Available for download only on Xbox LIVE Arcade on the Xbox 360 starting at 9 a.m. GMT (5 a.m. EDT) on Wednesday, June 6, 2007
“Pac-Man Championship Edition” made its official debut during today’s New York City finals for the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship, presented by Quiznos. The 10 participants from four continents and eight countries around the world — Austria, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan, the United Kingdom and the U.S. — competed at The Supper Club in New York City’s Times Square. To advance to the championship finals, each participant had to earn the highest “Pac-Man” score in their respective home country during the qualifying rounds that took place from May 4 through May 10, 2007. In an exciting finale, these top players competed on the new “Pac-Man Championship Edition” several hours before its upcoming launch on Xbox LIVE Arcade — the online games service exclusively for the Xbox 360 that today offers more than 60 downloadable game titles, including well-known arcade classics, card and puzzle games, and innovative original titles. The event was capped off with Iwatani crowning the first Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Champion — Carlos Daniel Borrego, a 27-year-old man from Pachuca, Mexico.
“It feels great to be the first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Champion,” said Borrego, who has been playing “Pac-Man” since 1985 and achieved a score of 222,160 on the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” during the final match. “It is a thrill to hold the title and to have won it by playing on the new game. This is amazing, and I want to dedicate it to my family and Mexico!”
Along with the distinction of being the first in the world to play the “Pac-Man Championship Edition” and the international acclaim for being the first Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Champion, Borrego was awarded other great prizes, including 26 years of free Quiznos toasted subs (one sandwich a week for 26 years, a $13,520 [U.S.] value); 100,000 Microsoft Points for games, movies and other fun content available on Xbox LIVE; and a one-of-a-kind Xbox 360 signed by Iwatani and featuring a special design inspired by “Pac-Man.”
“I’m deeply honored that people view ‘Pac-Man’ as my lasting legacy and am so excited to come full circle by releasing the ‘Pac-Man Championship Edition’ with its exciting new mazes and modes on Xbox LIVE Arcade on the Xbox 360,” said Iwatani, creator of “Pac-Man” and currently a professor at Tokyo Polytechnic University. “It gives me great joy to know that my final contributions in my corporate career were to crown the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Champion and to leave the world with an amazing new ‘Pac-Man’ game for generations to enjoy.”
Since launching in 1980 in Japan and in 1981 around the world, “Pac-Man,” its host of ghosts and its famous “wakka wakka wakka” sound have become global pop-culture icons. This arcade game played an instrumental role in establishing the video game industry in the 1980s, while the launch of Xbox LIVE in 2002 was a key factor behind the rapid growth in popularity of online gaming. Today, Xbox LIVE Arcade is the premier online destination for digitally distributed HD games offering fans around the globe a great opportunity to connect, compete, and enjoy the fun.
“‘Pac-Man’ was the game that ignited the world’s passion for video games, with every member of the family hooked on avoiding Clyde and eating up all the Power Pellets,” said Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing for the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “It is a tremendous honor that NAMCO BANDAI and Toru Iwatani are going to use the power of the Xbox 360 and Xbox LIVE Arcade platform to deliver the next evolution of ‘Pac-Man’ to the world.”
“We would like to tip our hats to the players who traveled from far and wide to display their ‘Pac-Man’ talent to the world and to congratulate Carlos from Mexico on his victory,” said Steve Provost, executive vice president and chief marketing executive for Quiznos. “There couldn’t have been a better way to celebrate the 26-year anniversary of Quiznos’ chef-inspired toasted sandwiches than to help make the first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship into a reality.”
As the story goes, one day in 1979, Namco developer Toru Iwatani removed a single slice of pizza and, after looking down upon the rest of the pie, saw what was to become one of the most popular characters in gaming history. The release of Pac-Man to arcades a year later (1980) lead to the beginning of “Pac-Mania,” in which over the next few years would yield everything from character-based board games and breakfast cereal to a top 40 song and popular Saturday-morning cartoon. Namco Bandai Games estimates that the original Pac-Man arcade title has been played more than ten billion times in its 27-year history.
About Toru Iwatani
Born in Tokyo, Japan, in 1955, Toru Iwatani joined Namco in 1977. As a game designer, he created “Pac-Man” in 1980. Among its many achievements, “Pac-Man” was recognized in “Guinness World Records 2005.” As of April 2007, Iwatani serves as a professor of a game course in the Faculty of Arts at the Tokyo Polytechnic University. Iwatani also acts as a fellow (special advisor) for NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc.