#776 Pac-Man Championship Edition

Posted: 20th September 2021 by Jeroen in Games
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1000th played so far

Genre: Maze
Platform: Xbox 360
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Namco Bandai Games
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games

We’ve reached quadruple digits! We’re in a great group of landmarks for the list now, where this and the next one will feel monumental but we’ve got another twenty to go after that. To mark the occasion, it felt appropriate for me to look back and go back to Pac-Man and see what its modern interpretation of this game is like.


The maze genre, as listed in the book, is really to separate series that are connected only by superficially featuring mazes. One is the Pac-Man series, where you travel around a preset maze that you move around. It’s a good game, but perfected with the original in a case where I don’t think the later sequels work well – adding stuff subtracts from the end result.

On the other side there are the games like Boulder Dash, which has you dig through a maze to reach an endpoint or defeat enemies, focused around strategic puzzles rather than focusing on your reflexes. They are the more interesting ones where the puzzle elements add to the games feeling different. It makes sense to create new games and play with the formula.

With hindsight, we probably should have looked at combining these with other genres, but it’s where we’re at. It means that I get to stick a Pac-Man game in here, which feels deserved as a reference to the older games.

Our Thoughts

While this game looks like Pac-Man, once you get past needing to collect dots it starts playing fairly differently. First of all, there are several different mazes available that you play through. That’s not too offensive as the idea of playing through different mazes feels quite natural and it expands neatly to give you more of them as you go on. I’m sure the classic maze is in there as well, although I didn’t end up seeing it. You get several different graphic looks as well, which can apply to any maze – it goes a bit beyond changing colour, but you’re still just skinning the mazes without any gameplay differences.

It’s that gameplay difference that makes me feel this is the inferior game. Rather than clearing a maze, then moving to the next level, you clear a group of dots on the maze, after which a new set comes in (usually on the other side of the maze). You keep chasing new sets of dots while you try to hold out for as long as you can, based on the game mode. Every set of dots also adds a ghost to the ones chasing you, but because you’re following a single path they all tend to follow you in a long chain of ghosts. It becomes an inferior version of Snake where you have to manage your trail, but not quite a nicely. You get recurring power pellets to get rid of them, which means that they don’t become as much of a problem, and because all ghosts follow the same logic (rather than the differences of the original game) the single chain stays rather boring.

Final Thoughts

While Pac-Man Championship Edition‘s different mode of playing is interesting from its competitive element, I feel the infinite repetition removes the simplicity of Pac-Man‘s simple rules leading to complex situations.  Rather than working out your path and dealing with ghost situations, you’re just following the path each set of puzzles lays out, occasionally pausing to deal with the ghosts when they become too much. It misses the point of the game and gets boring sooner than a game like this should be.