Pac-man Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Pac-man RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Plus Coming to Switch in February Tue, 26 Dec 2017 16:16:06 -0500 Lee Forgione

Bandai Namco has released a trailer for PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Plus for the Nintendo Switch.

Originally released on PS4 and Xbox One, this new port contains all of the same content, including Adventure Mode and Score Attack, while adding a new co-op mode called "PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 PLUS 2P," in which you and a friend can grab a Joy-Con and work together to clear mazes and rack up the highest possible score. 

The big ghost boss fights have also been revamped. One player can attack the boss while the other eats up the ghosts which break off.

PAC-MAN Championship Edition 2 Plus will be released on February 22, 2018. No word yet on whether a multi-platform release is planned.


Retro Review: Pac-Man World Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:00:02 -0500 DannyPTP

I'm pretty sure everyone who's a gamer has at least heard of Pac-Man in some regard. From his arcade days in the 1980s to the many games released on various consoles over the years, there's been at least one Pac-Man game released on almost every console out there.

To coincide with Pac-Man's 20th anniversary, Namco released Pac-Man World in 1999, the yellow gobbler's first 3D adventure and first game for the PlayStation, which kept the original flair of the arcade classic while adding new features. So how does it play?

Pac-Man World's Story


It's Pac-Man's birthday and everyone is looking forward to celebrating! From Ms. Pac-Man to Professor Pac and even Pooka, (Dig Dug), they can't wait to see Pac-Man and wish him many happy returns.

But someone doesn't want to celebrate and instead causes chaos by kidnapping Pac-Man's friends. That someone is Toc-Man, a robot impersonator who wants to steal Pac-Man's identity. So, it's up to Pac-Man to travel to Ghost Island, rescue his friends, and stop Toc-Man.

Pac-Man World's Gameplay

From the main menu, you have a few options:

  • Quest, which is story-centric
  • Maze, which allows you to play mazes you unlock through Quest
  • Marathon Mode, where you play each maze one after the other
  • Classic, which allows you to play the original game from 1980.

Pac-Man World plays similar to your average 3D platformer, offering an open world display on (or through) which Pac-Man can free roam. Along the way, you'll encounter maze structures littered with pellets, including power pellets, which make ghosts vulnerable and easier to eat.

Fruit also makes a return, but instead of just being a collectible item for additional points, fruit is used to unlock doors that allow you to find bonus items, extra mazes or other pathways necessary to progress through the level.

Buccanear Beach

Additionally, to help combat ghosts and various other enemies, Pac-Man has a variety of moves at his disposal, including the butt bounce, which can be used to destroy most enemies from above and activate switches. You can also shoot power pellets, which can be charged to deliver explosive results. And you have the rev roll, a move reminiscent of Sonic The Hedgehog's spindash, that can be used to activate fan platforms, allowing Pac-Man to reach higher areas and cross gigantic chasms.

Pac-Man World's Level Design

Ghost Island serves as the main hub in Pac-Man World, with each section of the island having a various sub-levels, such as pirate beaches, clown fun houses, and even space itself. Somewhere in each of these levels hides a key that can be collected to free a friend. And every last level of a section pits you against a boss, each with a unique way of being defeated.

Occasionally, the level design can be a little confusing, making you miss a few items and having you backtrack in order to proceed through the level. This type of thing can certainly be annoying, but isn't game-breaking.

Pac-Man World's Sound Design

Pac-Man World has some excellent sound and music, from the iconic effects of the original Pac-Man to the even more cartoony sounds associated with the franchise.

Musically, each piece works well with the aesthetics of each level, from the swashbuckling tunes heard in "Crazy Cannonade" to the feeling that you've stepped into a circus tent and are ready to have fun in "Clowning Around." Each track is catchy in its own right and you will find some repeating in your head.

Pac-Man World's Graphics

Graphically, the game is stellar, showing bright and colorful imagery all around, especially in the funhouse levels. The graphics give each level an identity, easily allowing the player to recognize what the area is based on, as soon as they set foot inside. The transition to 3D works well here, if you're a fan of the classics, you'll easily recognise each character as you play through the game.

While not as graphically impressive as, say, Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back, the game still boasts vibrancy, allowing players to marvel at the details.

Final Verdict:

While not the best game on the PlayStation, Pac-Man World is still a worthy addition to your collection. Yes, the game has a few nit picky moments here and there, but no game is perfect. Pac-Man World, despite its flaws, still has a lot of fun and charm and will delight players with its references and familiarity -- even today.  

The Best Pac-Man Mobile Games Tue, 04 Oct 2016 06:00:02 -0400 Autumn Fish

Do you ever get that itch? You know, the itch to play a game that brings us back to our roots? We commonly refer to this phenomenon as nostalgia. There is no shame in reliving the past, especially when it happens to remain one of the most well-known video games to date.

Pac-Man has spent nearly 36 years abroad, snarfing power pellets and chomping ghosts all over the world. Over time, he's grown and evolved. Now there's just as many ways to play Pac-Man as there are stars in the sky. Thanks to Bandai Namco's acquisition of this legendary IP, we can enjoy the IP anywhere we please on our mobile devices.

So take a break from catching 'em all and kick back with some of the best Pac-Man mobile games available.

Pac-Man Bandai Namco Mobile GamePAC-MAN

Android: Play Store

iOS: App Store

Classic Pac-Man gameplay. This app includes a classic mode unlocked from the start in case you just want to get down with the yellow dot you knew him as in the 1980's.

Of course, if you're looking for a little more, this app offers that too. There's a Tournament mode to compete for the high-score against Pac-Man mobile champions across the globe.

There are even custom mazes available to play, but those are locked behind your traditional wait- or pay-to-play sort of setup. Otherwise, the game is free to download and try on Android and iOS.


Android: Play Store

iOS: App Store

Pac-Man 256 is like a clever blend of Pac-Man and the popular sci-fi rogue-like, FTL. This is an endless maze filled to the brim with power pellets, ghosts, and even power-ups. There is a catch, however: you must always move forward. The level is slowly being eaten away by a 1980's data corruption glitch and you must avoid being corrupted with it.

Pac-Man 256 Endless Maze Bandai Namco

Did I mention power-ups? You've a sharp eye. The more you play Pac-Man 256, the more Power-Ups you'll unlock. You can use the coins earned by playing to upgrade existing power-ups and become and unstoppable chomping machine.

In a recent 2.0 update, Pac-Man 256 removed the traditional mobile pay-to-play elements and is now completely free. Why are you still reading? Go forth and enjoy this brilliant rogue-like reimagining of Pac-Man until your fingers fall off.

PAC-MAN Championship Edition DX

Android: Play Store

iOS: App Store

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is yet another solid game. This time, you'll be maneuvering Pac-Man around a level that continuously restocks pellets and rearranges ghost spawns.

Championship Edition DX doesn't stray from the traditional Pac-Man gameplay like 256 does. Rather, it switches up the win conditions. Instead of a continuous game of Pac-Man where you head on to the next level after eating all the pellets, the pellets on the left and right sides of the map will respawn after you snarf them all down. The goal is to get a high score before the timer runs out.

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX Bandai Namco Entertainment

Championship Edition DX's coolest feature, however, has to be the dynamic speed of the game. When you're on a role, raking up points, snarfing down ghosts, pellets, and fruits alike, the game accelerates to heart-pounding rates. That is, until you lose a life, where the speed resets to give you a chance to catch your bearings.

If you're considering getting the Championship Edition, stop right there. This version is riddled with ads, which is frankly insulting when you're asked to pay for a game. Save yourself the hassle and get Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. It's worth the $5. Or if you're on Android, simply try it out for free with Pac-Man Championship Edition Lite (Play Store).

What's your favorite way to play Pac-Man on your mobile phone? Sound off in the comments below!

New Pac-Man inspired fitness app being unveiled at CES Mon, 04 Jan 2016 19:30:01 -0500 QuintLyn

Game developer BANDAI NAMCO has teamed up with the creator of the Moff wearable band for kids to create an all new gamified fitness app titled Pac-Man Powered by Moff. The new app will be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, NV this week.

The app features the classic Pac-Man game combined with motion-based control. Users will direct Pac-Man by moving their arms up, down, left, or right, guiding him through the maze and getting a workout at the same time. A smart-device (phone or tablet) is required to use the app. Whether the app will be made available for both iOS and Android has not been stated at this time, but as the device does work with both platforms we expect the app will as well.

Pac-Man Powered by Moff is the first collaborative project between the two companies following BANDAI NAMCO's investment in Moff in September. It will be unveiled Wednesday, January 6 -- with a preview / demo being made available during the rest of CES.

Unfamiliar with the Moff band?

The Moff band is a wearable "smart toy" designed with kids in mind. Originally funded on Kickstarter, the device is a cloud-based motion sensor in the form of a slap bracelet. In addition to a variety of apps, the Moff band boasts a library of sound effects that kids can select and use while playing. The sounds are selected from a library on their smart devices and generated when they move their arms.

It's important to note that while the Moff band is technically designed with kids aged 3 to 12 in mind, the company doesn't exactly discourage it being used by adults. That said. You might want to keep it turned off while in meetings.

Pacapong is Pac-Man, Pong, and Space-Invaders in one Sun, 16 Aug 2015 19:19:22 -0400 Andrea Koenig

Many gamers have a soft spot for retro arcade games, so what could be better than playing Pac-Man, Pong, or Space Invaders? How about a video game that combines all three into one? That's what you'll be getting from Indie game developer Dick Poelen's Pacapong.

The game's primary feature is that you control two special paddles, just like in Pong. They can shoot Pac-Man pellets up the screen at invader enemies, and the paddles also have the ability to move in all directions, not just up and down. The paddles also catch and shoot the ball back and forth, except the ball is actually Pac-Man, and instead of blank space, the middle of the screen holds the Pac-Man maze, complete with ghosts and pellets. 

If the game doesn't seem like it could get any cooler, then hold on. Not only is it free, but you can play 1-2 players with local multiplayer, and it supports gamepad, WASD, and ZQSD control options. The game is also available in 1080p, 60fps. Oh, yeah, and Donkey Kong shoots throws barrels in your way sometimes. 

This Frankenstein's mash-up of a game is available for download on PC, Mac, and Linux. 

Smashers Beware! Pac-Man is God Tier Wed, 24 Jun 2015 20:17:53 -0400 KungFro

YouTuber StylesX2 has come across a certain glitch that shipped with the latest Super Smash Bros. patch. The unexpected consequence of said glitch is Pac-Man having ascended to the top of every tier list known to Smash.

What exactly does this glitch do?

Well, the trampoline summoned by Pac-Man's recovery move now has instant kill potential. Technically it always did, because of its ability to put an enemy into the helpless state mid-air, but that was easily telegraphed and avoided.

This however... not so much.

As seen in the video above, if Pac-Man reuses his recovery when an opponent comes into contact with a red trampoline, he can drop them through the stage. Over on the Smashboards, this glitch has been fittingly dubbed the "trampoline stage drop." I personally feel like it's a missed opportunity for a trap door spider reference.

As you can imagine, players everywhere are questioning how such a game breaking glitch managed to ship undetected. It is, however, unquestionable that Pac-Man is currently omnipotent. Hide your glory, players.

Bandai Namco announces 'Pac-Man 256', a new Pac-Man game Fri, 29 May 2015 20:38:55 -0400 Ford James

In celebration of Pac-Man’s 35th anniversary, Bandai Namco have announced another entry to the franchise; Pac-Man 256.

Based off the ‘Map 256’ glitch in the original Pac-Man, plus Ms. and Jr. Pac-Man, the glitch occurs when the player completes 255 levels. As the game was built around an 8-bit integer, the maximum level count is 255. Therefore, 256 appears like the image below.

Original Map 256 glitch

Map 256 glitch in the original Pac-Man

Gameplay for the upcoming Pac-Man 256 stays true to the original; navigate the arena while eating Pac-Dots and avoiding the four infamous ghosts (Pinky, Blinky, Inky and Clyde). It’ll also introduce additional power ups to expand upon the original mechanics, although finer details are yet to be announced.

It’s being developed by Hipster Whale of recent Crossy Road fame. It’s expected to release this summer around the same time as the upcoming film Pixels which will feature our lovable yellow protagonist gnawing his way through city skyscrapers.

Bandai Namco Allowing Developers to use Pac-Man and other 80's Franchises. Fri, 03 Apr 2015 19:44:54 -0400 amaadify

April 2015 will see the launch of Bandai Namco Games' new licensing program that allows developers to freely use 16 of the company's franchises in their own games . Don't start making the next Pac-Man just yet, however. This offer is currently only available to Japanese game developers, and companies must submit applications in order to use the material legally. 

If approved, developers will be allowed to use the characters, music, and stories from the following properties:

  • Pac-Man
  • Xevious
  • Galaxian
  • The Tower of Druaga
  • Tower of Babel
  • Dragon Buster
  • Wonder Momo
  • Galaga
  • Battle City
  • Valkyrie no Bōken (The Adventure of Valkyrie)
  • Yōkai Dōchūki (Shadow Land)
  • Wagan Land
  • Dig Dug
  • Star Luster
  • Sky Kid
  • Genpei Tōma Den

Namco Bandai has stated that the application process is simply a method of filtering out any obscene or offensive content, and that they expect to approve most applicants. 

The company wasn't shy about their intentions either. They have stated outright that this program is a tactic to revive interest in otherwise diminishing properties.That said, Bandai Namco isn't just in it for the publicity. As per the agreement, participating developers who create paid games must fork over a percentage of the profits, while those creating free games will have to include advertisements, with Bandai Namco taking a cut of the revenue.

Are you not a Japanese developer, but still want to use these properties? You're in luck! Bandai Namco is currently considering offering applications to foreign and indie developers as well. Let's hope we get a new Dig Dug in the near future, or some sort of redemption from Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.

Answers to All 15 Location Clues For Pac-Man on Goole Maps Wed, 01 Apr 2015 06:42:08 -0400 Kate Reynolds

Yesterday the world was astounded when people discovered that you could play Pac-Man using Google Maps on your desktop. Today, on April Fool's proper, Google Maps has gone a step further, giving out clues as to where people can play Pac-Man using the Google Maps app. 

If riddles aren't your thing (they're certainly not mine) then have no fear! Here's a list of all fifteen locations, clue and answer. 

1.) Clue: Don't drop the ball on the eve of your victory!

This could be none other than Times Square. Who hasn't waited up some New Year's Eve waiting to watch the ball drop? 


2.) Clue: Triumph is délicieux.

The key to this clue was realizing that délicieux is French. After that, it becomes clear this could be none other than the Arc de Triomphe


3.) Clue: Does a Galaxian bonus await at the top of those 272 steps?

There's not a Galaxian bonus, but you can play Pac-Man at the top of Batu Cave's 272 steps. 


4.) Clue: Chomp your way to independence down seven lanes of July.

The Plaza de la Republica in Buenos Aires looks like a traffic jam waiting to happen. 


5.) Clue: PAC-MAN and Ms. PAC-MAN can't agree on which side is prettier: the American or the Canadian. Which side do you fall on, eh?

Luckily for me, my husband took us to Niagra Falls on a recent wedding anniversary. Both the American and Canadian sides are lovely. 


6.) Clue: After a chat with the Sphinx, PAC-MAN sounds more like "Dokki Dokki".

Ad Doqi, Egypt is where you'll want to head after you've answered the Sphinx's riddles. 


7.) Clue: Pause game play to admire Chagall's stained glass windows and have a bit of chocolate.

You can enjoy chocolate and stained glass windows in Fraumunster Church, Zurich. 


8.) Clue: Can you score 10^(10^100) points?

You had to know that the Googleplex in California was going to be an answer to one of the clues. 


9.) Clue: Whether they're flashing blue or sporting their natural colors, Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde are always kakkoii. Even Vogue agrees they're living in the trendiest of neighborhoods.

I didn't realize that Hanover Square, London was a trendy neighborhood, but if Vogue says so....


10.) Clue: Previous PAC-MAN lives don't get to rest in a white marble mausoleum.

If you played much yesterday, the Taj Mahal is a location Google Maps kept sending me to when I tried my luck. 


11.) Clue: Head to the valley of the sun and earn your grade in the art of the game.

Who knew that Phoenix, Arizona would make the list with the Metropolitan Art Institute? 


12.) Clue: How well can you navigate the radiating streets of the distrito federal?

It looks fairly hard to navigate the web that is Plaza Del Ejecutivo, Mexico City. 


13.) Clue: Victory is like gothic glockenspiel musik to our ears.

Whether you google "Neues Rathaus, Munich" or "New Town Hall, Munich" you'll get to the right place. 


14.) Clue: Pay special attention to Blinky - he might blend in with the dreaming red kangaroos!

There aren't red kangaroos in many places in the world, but Victoria Square, Adelaide is one of them. 


15.) Clue: You'll find the Beach PAC-MAN World Cup here before long.

So far, no one has been able to solve this clue. It was briefly thought that Praia de Baia in Portugal, the host of the 2015 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup might be the location. However, this reporter has yet to see the Pac-Man symbol in Portugal. 

The Google Maps Pac-Man FAQ mentions that it might be releasing more clues and locations throughout the day, and we will keep updating as more information comes in. 

10 Ways to Gamify Your Room Sun, 23 Nov 2014 19:57:11 -0500 Sara Ventura


Fighting Stickmen Bookends


Price: $19.99


Buy it: Think Geek


These bookends are great for the fighting game lover, from Divekick to Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat to Soulcaliber. With books sandwiched in between, it looks like they're kicking the books upright.


Minecraft Light-Up Torch


Price: $24.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Don't want to take the trip to the bathroom in the dark? Grab your handy Minecraft torch and light the way to your porcelain throne, all while keeping the monsters away. It's made out of ABS plastic and can be carried, hung on a wall, or placed on a table.


Portal 2 Plush Turret with Sound


Price: $24.99


Buy it: Think Geek


This cuddly death machine spouts 11 phrases like: "target acquired," "critical error," or "I don't hate you." It stands 14.5" high and its eye glows. Consider pairing it with a Companion Cube lunch box.


Retro Video Game Pillow Set


Price: $24.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Though these aren't based on real games, the throwback style of the NES cartridge is a perfect addition to your couch or bed. It's much better than cuddling up with the small, plastic versions, even if the Legend of Zelda is alluringly shiny.


Rubik's Cube Refrigerator


Price: $149.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Sure, a Rubik's Cube isn't your typical "game" but you can't deny it might be just as hard as Mike Tyson in Punch Out if you don't know how to solve it. Instead of worrying about it, go play with your Tetris lights and instead keep your soda in this one.


Tetris Stackable LED Desk Lamp


Price: $39.99


Buy it: Think Geek


This stackable Tetris lamp is perfect for your desk or night stand. When you add one of the seven pieces to the bigger part, it lights up automatically. Imagine buying several of these and conjoining them... the possibilities!


Sci-Fi Decals


Price: $64.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Want to make it look like the door into your room in a zombie or alien decontamination center? What about making the inside door of your closet a weapons arsenal? These 80"x32" vinyl decals are perfect for sci-fi enthusiasts or FPS players.


Nintendo Wall Decals


Price: $10.99


Buy it: Amazon


Don't want a poster? Instead, do you want to stick Yoshi's tongue out at Bowser or hop over a Bullet Bill? This vinyl sticker set comes with 35 decals featuring popular characters from the Marioverse. 


Pac-Man Fleece Blanket


Price: $24.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Get ready for the winter with this wocka wocka fleece blanket complete with all of the ghosties. Unfortunately, the screen capture printed says "Game Over." Looks like you need to show them who's boss and beat it yourself.


Nintendo Wall Art


Price: $39.99


Buy it: Think Geek


Nothing screams throwback like a retro Nintendo poster featuring Mario. These 2x5 posters are made of firm stretched canvas so can withstand you throwing your Mountain Dew in a fit of rage at the wall when you miss that jump.


Is your apartment or dorm room feeling a little bare? There's a ton of ways you can spice up your room, whether it be wall decals, stuffed plushies, or even a Minecraft light torch. Here are 10 ways to show everyone your favorite games without them checking the 50+ hours you've tracked on Steam.

Mobile Pac Man Games Receiving Breast Cancer Themed Content This October Wed, 01 Oct 2014 19:28:01 -0400 Brian Crimmins

October has just started and so has Bandai Namco's campaign against breast cancer. The Pac-Man company is teaming up with the National Breast Cancer Foundation to raise awareness for breast cancer. The company is notably calling this movement the Ms. Pac-Man Pink Ribbon campaign, named for both organizations' logos.

During the month of October, Bandai Namco will sell a breast-cancer themed maze for all their mobile Pac-Man titles. The maze has the word "hope" written at the top of the level, to raise breast cancer awareness. It will cost $.99, and all proceeds go toward supporting the National Breast Cancer Foundation. Also worth noting is the pink ribbon-themed user interface Bandai Namco will add to these games.

Breast Cancer and Video Games

Surprisingly, this isn't the first time breast cancer and video games have teamed up. Earlier this year, British researchers released an iPhone app called Play to Cure: Genes in Space.

The game has proved immensely helpful to cancer researchers. Although it sells itself as a space shooter, players' actions in Genes in Space helps decode genetic data pertaining to breast cancer. Crowdsourced research is itself a growing trend in video games, and represents the social good our medium can bring.

Pac-Man Museum Available for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Windows PC Fri, 28 Feb 2014 12:17:32 -0500 Game Oracle

Nanco Bandai Games Europe recently released Pac-Man Museum for European and Australian Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC gamers to download through Steam, XBLA and PSN. You can check out this new video game here and the different games included.  

A new compilation of old Pac-Man titles, Pac-Man Museum is your chance to relive memories of days-gone-by. This new video game challenges gamers to make their way through mazes, while skillfully dodging and avoiding ghosts, and eating all the dots and power pellets on the screen.

Nanco Bandai indicates Pac-Man Museum has classic titles of your favorite video game, along with a few new arcade style games. Pac-Man gamers can play video games from the humble beginnings of the 1980s, all the way to 2010’s popular arcade style title, Pac-Man Battle Royale.

Pac-Man is one of the most popular video game characters in the history of interactive entertainment. I am sure this new video game will be a hit with fans and new gamers to this legendary franchise. Check it out, you could find yourself experiencing déjà vu, as you relive unforgettable Pac-Man moments. You’ll start to remember why playing this video game is addictive. 

MCM London Comic Con - Namco Bandai Is No Longer A Brand For Good Quality Games Thu, 31 Oct 2013 18:02:05 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Namco Bandai had a large presence at MCM London Comic Con this October, although it would have been surprising if they didn't as they're one of the most established and recognisable video game brands around. In 2005, Japanese video game company Namco merged with Japanese video game and toy/model manufacturers to create the large company that it is today. With that, both companies brought a wealth of ownership and distribution rights for classic games like Pac-Man and games/brands like Dragon Ball Z and Digimon.

With an area showcasing all their upcoming games, and an exclusive and much hyped presentation and Q&A session with executives flown in fresh from Japan, it has become clear that Namco Bandai is no longer the reassuring brand of quality that it used to be.

The Good

Truth be told, there are some excellent titles coming up soon from the company, namely Dark Souls II, JoJo's Bizzare Adventure: All-Star Battle, and Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z. Each of these look and play fantastic.


  • Dark Souls II - Still insanely difficult, but manages to look even better whilst maintaining  its incredibly absorbing gameplay. A great follow-up from the first two games (Dark Souls and Demon's Souls), with a brand new hero.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle - Covering the first eight story arcs of the manga, this classic fighter-style game captures the high-octane mania and colour of the original series. Fast-paced, dazzling, and a lot of fun.
  • Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z - Looks just as visually stunning as JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle, and introduces new 4v4 and 4vE gameplay.

The presentation and Q&A with representatives of the games showed that the company can put a lot of thought into development when it wants to. Kunio Hashimoto, for Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Z, not only burst on to the stage in full cosplay and screaming "Lend me your energy!" but was also incredibly responsive about the game. When asked why players weren't allowed to transform mid-battle and stick with the only one of each character's transformation in a team, he took the time explain that this was to ensure balance, especially when it came to 4v4, giving an in-depth answer and more than satisfactory response.

There's also other great recent games to their title, such as the sumptuous Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch, wich saw the company team up with famed anime studioStudio Ghibli, to produce something exquisite.

When Namco Bandai want to make a good game, they can make a bloody brilliant one.

The Bad

But there was also a collection of games that really failed to raise any enthusiasm, or outright bored us, showing that there are times when Namco Bandai couldn't care less, resulting in forgettable games.


  • Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers - a generic fighter with cheap graphics, no flair, and no complexity
  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures - a lack lustre and lazy generic 3D platformer that's as easy as it is dull (read our full review)

These two games shows not just the worst side of the company, but also the games industry as a whole. Here, Namco Bandai are purely trading-in the rights they have to certain brands as a way to make a quick buck rather than a good game. Sure, sometimes they're sturdy and the gameplay is solid, but they're devoid of imagination and ingenuity, which in our opinion is worse than making a bad game.

When compared against the games in "The Good" list above, the graphics and animations are noticeably less polished, and then the gameplay is bog-standard; at best, the developers were rushed to finish the game, and at worse, they just didn't bother. Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures goes as far as almost ripping off Super Mario 64, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers adds nothing to the genre since Street Fighter broke ground.

Ryo Mito, in his presentation for Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers, even said that if you didn't want to try for more complex combos and moves, you could simply just "mash the buttons" and still win--hardly a glowing endorsement for the game. To add insult to injury, the demonstrator failed four times in a row to show off the super-special-awesome move that was billed as one of the game's selling points. They eventually gave up and the crowd were told to try and successfully initiate it themselves at the game's demo booth.

Recently, there was also the hideously embarrassing and buggy Star Trek game, which even had film director J.J. Abrams weigh in with outright disappointment for the game.

YouTube game-breakers, BirgirPall, didn't need to do much with the woeful Namco Bandai title, Star Trek.

The Fallout

It's sad that these days, anything from Namco Bandai must be judged on its own merits, as the quality of games from the company sway wildly from the brilliant to the banal, and even to awful. It's not exactly a great position for any company to be in, as if your brand and products can't assure a standard of quality; what faith are your investors going to have in the company's future, let alone gamers who will potentially buy your product?

Yes, admittedly some of the titles mentioned above have been developed by third-party developers and then published by the company. But as publishers they still have a responsibility of quality control. Furthermore, engaging with a third-party developer needn't result in a bad game either; Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch being a prime example where working with developers Level 5 worked wonders for Namco Bandai.

But hasn't it always been like this? A quick look over the list of games that the separate and joint companies have released show a gaggle of obscure and forgotten titles alongside universally praised ones.

Also, to pick Namco Bandai out as an example is possibly a little unfair as there are other large game developers and publishers who make similarly cheap decisions. But if you're going to make a big song and dance about your products at one of Europe's biggest expositions, then at least ensure some level of quality across everything you're presenting or risk as goading such as this one.

"Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get."

The worst part of it all, though, is that Star Trek, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, and Saint Seiya: Brave Soldiers exist purely to exploit and extort these respective fanbases; a pretty dastardly and cynical motivation, and one that sullies the video games industry.

But for all there is to say about Namco Bandai, no more will the company's brand pique the interest of gamers just because its name is slapped on a title, despite it's long and illustrious history. Namco Bandai has become the Forest Gump of the games industry: you never know what you're going to get.

For more information about Namco Bandai's upcoming releases, visit

Review: Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures Tue, 29 Oct 2013 11:28:17 -0400 Destrolyn.Bechgeddig

Bandai Namco, owners of the instantly recognisable arcade classic, Pac-Man, have put a lot of effort into rebranding and relaunching the hungry yellow circle for a younger generation. Having already launched a cartoon series of Disney XD, today sees the release of the tie-in video game, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.

Munch Ado About Nothing

Of course, the screams of despair from purists and hardcore gamers was always going to expected at this brash rehash of a classic. But the least Bandai Namco could do was release a decent game to tie-in with what many would have seen as a bastardisation of the Pac-Man image with a cheesy cartoon series. Unfortunately, this game is a prime example of the video game industry at its laziest.

Your 'too cool for high-school' superhero wanders through a 3D platforming world that, whilst colourful, is devoid of imagination. You jump, dodge, and eat invading ghosts with a variety of power-ups. The controls are as simple as the levels, and there just isn't enough fun or variety to stop you from getting bored within the first few stages.

Not to mention, the game smacks so shamelessly of Nintendo's phenomenon Super Mario 64, right down to a flame-throwing power-up, thus compounding the feeling that this is less than original.

Even the graphics are lack lustre. Yes, the game is also porting onto the Wii U as well as the PlayStation 3 and XBox 360, which means the graphics can't be too high spec, but they even look shoddy by the original Wii's standards; with little attempt at anti-aliasing and rendering making it look even more cheap than some indie-games. For a big company like Bandai Namco, there's really no excuse, especially when other games they're releasing cross-platform in the coming months include the crazily stunning JoJo's Bizzare Adventures and the lavish Dragon Balls Z: Battle of the Z.


Pac-Man has never needed an insufferably irritating personality, a gaggle of superfluous power-ups, and a 3D environment to be addictive and timeless. This game more than proves that by being utterly forgettable.
It's as if Bandai Namco know that the sales of the game will almost purely be off any success the television serial has; so why bother making a good game? But in saying that, it's not a bad game. The mechanics are stable and the gameplay is solid, and even if the graphics aren't amazing, they're not hideous.
It's just that sometimes, the most sturdy, but unoriginal, games are worse than the terrible, because rather than trying hard and failing, Bandai Namco haven't tried at all. Being boring means being unremarkable; at least if this was buggy and broken there'd be something to talk about.

Pac-Man has never needed an insufferably irritating personality, a gaggle of superfluous power-ups, and a 3D environment to be addictive and timeless. This game more than proves that by being utterly forgettable.

Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures is now on sale for PlayStation 3, XBox 360, Wii U, and PC. For more information about the game, visit

Releasing on Steam Tomorrow - Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ Tue, 24 Sep 2013 21:44:31 -0400 MyNameIsProjekt

Fans of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX might be interested to know that a new update will be released on September 25, 2013.  The update will release on Steam and will contain new features and content to improve the original Pac-Man Championship Edition DX. 

The original Pac-Man Championship Edition DX was similar in some ways to the original Pac-Man that was released in 1980, but was redesigned for the 21st Century with better graphics and new mazes.  One of the coolest features of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX is that, as you progress further in each maze, the game speed increases and it helps to increase the difficulty of that maze.

New or Improved Features

Pac-Man Championship Edition DX has a leaderboard function that helps each player to know how they stack up against other players, and DX+ is going to improve on the leaderboard's capabilities.  The new update will now also allow players to challenge their friends and will now allow players to achieve "medals" to show off their skills.  Having played a little of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, it will be interesting to see what DX+ brings to the table in these areas.

New Downloadable Content

No update is complete without some added downloadable content and DX+ is no exception.  DX+ will feature four new courses, (Big Eater, Championship III, Highway II and Mountain) as well as three new skins for the game that are based off of Dig Dig, Rally-X and Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures.  The new courses will give each player new mazes to complete while the skins help to change the overall look of the game.  

The Rally-X skin is a throwback to another popular Namco game released in 1980.

The update will also include two new background music tracks to the game (Pac-Steps and Re-Entrance).  It is good to note that all of this downloadable content was made available in the "All You Can Eat Add-On Pack" DLC bundle.

Having never played the full version of Pac-Man Championship Edition DX, I might have to look into purchasing DX+ when it releases on Steam tomorrow.  The update will act as a rebrand for Pac-Man Championship Edition DX and will cost $9.99 when it releases.  Overall, not a bad price for a game that has received critical acclaim from several reviewers.

Will you be checking out Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+ when it releases tomorrow (September 25, 2013)?  The game looks incredibly addicting so I might be checking it out tomorrow, and if I do I might write a follow-up article for anyone interested in hearing more about it.

An Amazing Pac-Man Remake! Fri, 20 Sep 2013 12:02:04 -0400 CaptainBaams

The 2010 Pac-Man remake Pac-Man championship Edition DX+ come out September 25 for Windows 8, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network.

I loved and hated Pac-Man as a child, but this remake seems like it will be able to keep my attention with, hopefully, very little frustration. Pac-Man CE DX+ is a game I know my family would love to play.

Whats Different About This Pac-Man?

Last month the update was leaked on the games Steam Page showing the games light enhancements, challenges and leaderboard support. This update will add three reskins, four new maps and two pieces of background music.

In this new version of Pac-Man the game does not start out with dots all over the place but they appear as you eat them. You have new abilities, like putting ghosts asleep, that make the remake really cool.

This Pac-Man game is something I am sure will bring me joy and frustration, since I have never been very good at Pac-Man, but I will be buying it with all the other Pac-Man fans!

Own Your Own Arcade Cabinet—Here's How! Wed, 14 Aug 2013 09:20:15 -0400 Alexa Serrano

Seth and Timothy Peterson, two San Franciscan Bay Area Brothers, have started a new monthly subscription service for retro video games (eg., Ms. Pacman, Donkey Kong, and Tron); however, they do also offer some contemporary games like Street Fighter 2

How They Started

The brothers set out to purchase bargain vintage cabinet games to refurbish them. They typically searched through Web sites like Craigslist and Ebay, because the cabinets are usually cheaper and in better condition there. Through their rental service All You Can Arcade, you can rent out arcade games for $75 a month, in addition to a refundable $75 deposit. The arcade cabinets are all set to "free," which means you don't have to worry about spending any of your loose change while playing!

As of now, All You Can Arcade operates throughout the California area; however, they are hoping to expand to the East Coast this year! Those who are California residents can go ahead and enter their zip code on the site to find out which games are available in their area. 

7 Game Heroes you Could Probably Take in a Fight Sun, 04 Aug 2013 13:00:33 -0400 Eli "The Mad Man" Shayotovich

Game heroes are usually big, bad, and downright brutal. But not always. Let's take a look at seven of these less than macho "heroes" to see exactly why you could probably take them in a fight without breaking a sweat. 

Gordon Freeman

As much as we all love the protagonist from the Half-Life series, Gordon Freeman is not your prototypical game hero. Basically, he's a big nerd. In fact... is that white tape holding his glasses together?

Strengths:  Gordon graduated from MIT with a Ph.D. degree in Theoretical Physics and likes to work on experiments that open interdimensional portals which bring aliens to our world, so his big brain is his biggest asset. The Hazardous Environment (HEV) suit he wears is pretty nifty, but beyond that... 

Weaknesses:  He's a freakin' theoretical physicist! Do you think he spent a lot of time in the gym or at the Black Mesa gun range?  Plus, his "weapon" of choice is a crowbar! Well, until he gets his mitts on the gravity gun in Half-Life 2.  Although Gordon has a Ph.D. we don't actually see him do a lot of smarty pants type stuff. In fact, Barney (the security guard) cracks on Gordon for only being able to flip switches and plug things in. And as much as we may like that stoic "no talking" schtick of his, not saying a single word is actually a big red flag. Everyone knows that in order to be a good hero you must be able to drop witty one-liners. Just look at Duke Nukem (who you could not take in a fight)... and virtually anyone in The Expendables movies. Wait, scratch that last comparison.

How You Can Take Him:  There are a few ways you can go about this. Gordon, being the nerd that he is, never really knows what to do with Alyx Vance. So try bringing a pretty woman to the fight and watch him get all twitchy and nervous. Or, ask him to explain Albert Einstein's (one of his heroes) theory of relativity to you. As he's writing out lengthy quantum physics equations on the chalkboard, knock him over the head... with a crowbar. 

Pac Man

The dude - we'll we're assuming he's a dude since "Man" is in his name - is basically a sports ball with a mouth.  'Cept we really don't know what the frak he is... which makes him kinda creepy. 

Strengths:  Never-ending hunger for dots. If he downs a "power pellet" he can temporary eat his ghosty enemy things ( Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde). He also has the uncanny ability to move, despite...

Weaknesses:  Not having any arms or legs! Or eyes for that matter!  

How You Can Take Him:  When Blinky, Pinky, Inky or Clyde touch him... he dies. That should work for you too.  If not... stick your foot in his gigantic pie hole and kick him like a soccer ball into the nearest garbage can. He can't climb out because he has no appendages! Seriously, how did this "man" get so damn famous?

Sonic The Hedgehog

In real life, hedgehogs are smaller than cats. They have no offensive moves because their spines can't detach like porcupines. To defend itself the 'hog "heroically" rolls up into a tight ball causing the 6,000 or so spines on its body to point outwards like a Koosh ball made of needles. Oh, and they have incredibly poor vision (they're actually born blind). The hedgehog known as Sonic though... is a freakin' legend. Why? 

Strengths:  Apparently this little blue bastich is capable of running faster than the speed of sound, which is ironic since real hedgehogs move slower than a dinosaur through a tar pit (they have short little legs). Thus, Sonic must be a mutant along the lines of the X-Men's Beast.  Hmmm... they do have the same blueish hue.  Under no circumstance should you let him collect the seven Chaos Emeralds.  If he does... you are screwed. These shiny green stones turn him into "Super Sonic", which makes him faster, gives him the ability to fly, and turns him invulnerable.  Like we said... screwed.  

Weaknesses:  According to the folks at Sega, Sonic's only weakness is his inability to swim. But that's not his only weakness. Sonic is a daredevil who can't pass up showing off his mad skills. He also becomes incredibly impatient with things that are slow... like turtles, lines at the DMV, and load screens. 

How You Can Take Him:  He's not very big, so if you can sneak up on him and drop an Acme Corporation anvil on him you can turn him into a blue pancake.  Stepping on him will probably work too.  If you're not fond of up close and personal wet works like that, be sure you stage the fight near a large body of water, say Lake Erie. Set up a ramp at the edge of the water and dare him to jump to the other side. He's an adrenaline junkie... he won't say no.

Nathan Drake

Hey, we all love the guy, but for the most part, Nathan Drake from the Uncharted series is a bumbling fool who only manages to avoid getting killed (repeatedly) through sheer luck. It's like he has an enchanted, Tibetan rabbit's foot in his pocket or something. 

Strengths: Quick witted, athletic, fairly proficient with guns. Still seems like he'd shoot off his own toe as much as hit an enemy though.  He's also persistent, resilient, and tough as nails... kind of like the John McClane character from the Die Hard movies - always in the right (wrong) place at the wrong (right) time. 

Weaknesses:  The ladies. It's bad enough that he's running around ancient ruins in hostile jungle environments with bad guys chasing him, but he lets his lady friends - who he's obviously been romantically involved with - get him in all kinds of unwanted, extra trouble.  Nate doesn't know when to say when.  He's gotten so used to luck carrying him through certain death situations that he doesn't realize that he only has so many lives left... and someday those lives will run out (see what we did there?).   

How You Can Take Him:  All you have to do is stand in front of him... and wait. Probably not for very long either.  Something, or someone, is bound to try to kill him.  


Despite being one of the most iconic "heroes" in gamingdom, Mario is nothing more than a short, portly, plumber from the Bronx.  When's the last time this guy actually threw an effective punch in a game? 

Strengths:  He jumps.  A lot.  So he must have some pretty strong leg muscles. But when your only offensive weapon is jumping... really?  As with Sonic, collecting certain items (power-ups) gives ole Mario additional powers.  Don't let him collect them and you'll be fine. His power-up item of choice is the mushroom, which comes in all shapes and sizes. For instance...  the Super Mushroom makes Mario grow bigger; the Fire Flower lets him toss fireballs; the 1-Up Mushroom gives him an extra life; the Mega Mushroom allows him grow very large; while the Mini Mushroom shrinks the lil plumber.

Weaknesses:  He's two feet tall (or thereabouts).  He doesn't throw punches, and has a nasty addiction to shrooms. 

How You Can Take Him:  Since he's a fungus freak drop a few "magic mushrooms" (of the hallucinogenic kind) in front of him and tell him they're some new power-up.  Once he gobbles them up wait until the psychedelic effects kick in and bonk him on the cabeza.  If we're being honest here... there isn't a single "hero" in the Nintendo pantheon that you can't take out with a good pair of steel toed boots and a sturdy bat. Right? 

Max Payne

Max Payne has been through a lot of... pain (sorry, we had to) in his life, and we feel bad for putting him on this list, but just look at him.  Is that a Clint Eastwood scowl... or is he constipated? 

Strengths:  Since Max is a former NYPD cop and "renegade" DEA agent he's been extensively trained to handle firearms and knows hand-to-hand combat. He also possesses the superpower known as "Bullet Time", which he uses with great effectiveness.  Sounds like someone you simply don't want to mess with, right? 

Weaknesses:  He's addicted to alcohol and pain killers, and is still haunted by the ghosts from his past.  Max has been shot so many times there probably isn't a square inch of his body that hasn't been hit, so he's all kinds of mentally and physically beat to hell.  

How You Can Take Him: Give him a fifth of Jack Daniels and a bottle of Percocet. Sit him down in front of an episode of The Mentalist... and walk away.  He'll beat himself up for you. 


What can we say about this cute, mischievous "boy" made of sackcloth, fluff, and ice cream (yes, ice cream) that inhabits Little Big Planet?

Strengths: Sackboy is a chameleon, capable of changing his appearance at the drop of a hat... which he'd probably pick up and wear.  Since he has no bones you can't "break" him.   Don't worry about the version of Sackboy you see in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale either. He has a few good wrasslin' moves, but he'd rather slap you (literally) and dart around the ring with his jet pack than actually fight you.  

Weaknesses: He's an 8-centimeter tall puppet made from sackcloth. And ice cream. 

How You Can Take Him:  Pull out a BIC lighter and torch his ass. 

We thought about putting a few gals on here, but since we're gentleman gamers... we don't hit women. 

So, what do you think?  Agree with this?  What other "heroes" should be on this list?  Let us know!

The Top Ten Most Anticipated Characters in Smash Bros. 4 Tue, 16 Jul 2013 20:59:18 -0400 Raymond W

Without a doubt, the wait for each new Super Smash Bros. entry can be exhausting. The series, spearheaded by Masahiro Sakurai, features several all-star characters across Nintendo games (and a very select amount of third-party games) in each title, leaving fans speculating between games––and hoping beyond hope that this time, their favorite characters might be represented.

Although Sakurai is fairly notorious for his capriciousness, sometimes there is good reason to predict certain characters. And other times, you just have to throw caution to the wind and pray, fingers crossed, eyes shut tight, for Geno to finally be included. This list is an amalgam of both; it is a massive chunk of opinionated speculation, and should by no means be taken as a serious prediction list. So please don't send me death threats if I get your hopes up.

Runner-up: Pac-Man
First appearance: Pac-Man (1980)

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m not particularly excited about the prospect of Pac-Man in a Smash game. Sure, he’s a familiar face––practically a legend––from the days of arcade gaming, and he’s consistently been around for over three decades, but he just doesn’t seem... viable. Half the time, he’s missing arms and legs (lest ye forget the character design originated as an incomplete pizza), and the rest of the time I can’t begin to imagine what he needs those lanky arms for. Still, Pac-Man earns a spot as this list’s runner-up because he’s a shoe-in for third-party representation; although Sakurai explicitly announced that he wouldn’t be giving Namco Bandai any special treatment for their development partnership, it’s hard to imagine that the company’s most iconic character and franchise wouldn’t find his way into the game.

#10: Dixie Kong
First appearance: Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (1995)

I know, I know. It’s no secret that a large portion of the fanbase believes that if any Donkey Kong character should be in Smash Bros. 4, it's King K. Rool. Regardless, the addition of Dixie Kong as a main character in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, one of Nintendo’s biggest demonstrations at E3, leads me to believe that if a new Donkey Kong character is revealed for the next Smash, it’ll be Diddy’s blond-haired girlfriend (monkeyfriend?). Dixie has been a long-time staple of both the Donkey Kong and the Mario spin-off series, having starred in two games before Princess Peach had even one. With her absurdly powerful ponytail-based skills, which include gliding and picking up barrels (the same barrels that require the full attention of Donkey Kong’s back muscles), I have no doubt that Dixie Kong will find a suitable spot in the next Smash Bros. roster.

#9: Little Mac

First appearance: Punch-Out!! (1984)

When Sakurai announced that he would be doing his best to revive old franchises, the 4’8” boxer was immediately revisited by many a sleuthing fan. Little Mac, star of the Punch-Out!! franchise, is not only a relic from an older gaming generation––the first entry was released in 1984––but he’s also a great example of a recently resurrected protagonist. Punch-Out!! was re-released on the Wii in 2009, the first entry published in the series in over a decade. In addition to Little Mac’s inclusion as an Assist Trophy in Brawl, it’s clear that the series is being pushed out of the grave by some sort of agenda of Nintendo’s devising. As for Little Mac himself: the last boss in Punch-Out!! was none other than Mike Tyson, and provided the player had some skill, Little Mac came out on top. I suspect he’ll fit in just fine in Smash.

#8: Chrom

First appearance: Fire Emblem: Awakening (2012)

No surprises here, really. I'm predicting that they keep Marth as the ambassador of the first Fire Emblem and Ike as the ambassador of the first modern Fire Emblem game on a home console, and add Chrom to the list as the latest and greatest ambassador. I will note that Chrom’s game, Fire Emblem: Awakening, was intended to be a last-ditch effort to revive the series, and it did so with flying colors; for that reason alone, I’m sure Intelligent Systems probably values this protagonist a little bit more than some of its other ones. In my opinion, Sakurai would get the best mileage out of Chrom if he ended up being as unlike his predecessors as much as possible, and––dare I say it––used a lance. Though all of the Fire Emblem Lords are typically capable of using more than one weapon, they have categorically been represented in Smash with swords. I know it’d be silly to ask for a Falchion-less Chrom, but I definitely wouldn’t mind him pulling out some auxiliary weapons with his special moves.

I’d also like to note that I wouldn’t at all mind Chrom’s daughter Lucina as a second ambassador from Awakening either, but I doubt the likelihood of a fourth Fire Emblem character. Instead, I’m hoping against all odds that she might receive a cameo as one of Marth’s skins.

#7: Palutena
First appearance: Kid Icarus (1986)

This one’s a little more up in the air (no pun intended). Palutena, whose name is a sort of portmanteau of the Greek goddess Pallas Athena, is in-game the Goddess of Light, ruler of Angel Land, and the patron deity of Pit. In Kid Icarus: Uprising, the first entry in the series in roughly two decades, she takes on a complicated role: two parts mentor, one part comic relief, and one part damsel-in-distress; as such, although she is absolutely instrumental to the game as a whole, we never really get a chance to see her in action. Nevertheless, like Punch-Out!!, Kid Icarus is another example of a recently revived classic series, and by none other than Masahiro Sakurai himself. It stands to reason that in addition to Pit's new and improved moveset, the franchise might use another representative from the game, and who better to come into the spotlight this time than Pit’s previous Final Smash? A case might be made for Magnus, a sort of deuteragonist of the game, but I think I’m more eager for the goddess to make her combat début; in any event, if Smash Bros. is lacking in one thing, it’s female characters––Brawl had four including Nana, excluding Jigglypuff––and the staff-wielding Palutena would be a great move in the right direction.

#6: Paper Mario
First appearance: Paper Mario (2000)

Paper Mario definitely ranks among the least likely characters on this list, but since another character addition from the Mario franchise is all but inevitable, I’m staying optimistic. No worries about the character being a clone, like Dr. Mario was––Paper Mario’s been around long enough as a separate franchise, with four games over the course of a decade, that he’s developed more than enough of his own moves. He’s been using the totally unrepresented hammer in his moveset for even longer than Paper Mario itself (since Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars in 1997), and he has dozens of completely usable partners to throw, including a Bob-omb and a Koopa. Even the overlap between fanbases is fairly different––despite the two less traditional latter entries, the series has become popular as an RPG saga, and Paper Mario appeals to many gamers that regular Mario simply doesn’t. It sounds silly, but Paper Mario isn’t just a gimmicky skin; he’s his own character, and he’d be perfect for the next Smash.

#5: Mewtwo
First appearance: Pokémon Red and Blue (1996)

Between Super Smash Bros. Melee and Brawl, four characters were cut, but the most devastating loss for the fanbase was arguably Mewtwo. Dr. Mario was inherently similar to Mario, Roy to Marth, and Pichu to Pikachu, but Mewtwo was undeniably his own character. Since his removal, fans have been clamoring for the Psychic-type legendary Pokémon, and Smash 4 is the perfect opportunity for the prodigal son’s return. The game comes riding on the coattails of Pokémon X & Y’s release later this year, which features a new form of Mewtwo (Mewthree? Newtwo?). The latest form also recently appeared to steal the show of the most recent Pokémon movie, appropriately titled ExtremeSpeed Genesect: Mewtwo Awakens, which is as good an indicator as any that he’s at least one of this generation’s flagship Pokémon. Even Sakurai announced, when pressed about the character, that he's thinking about it. The time for Mewtwo’s homecoming is right; like he did in Melee, he’ll fit right in on Smash 4’s roster, equipped with a new and improved moveset––perhaps including the ability to change forms.

#4: Isaac
First appearance: Golden Sun (2001)

Here comes another stretch, but I promise this one’s within reason. Golden Sun, one of Nintendo’s newer and fresher IPs, has seen three games released in the past decade to critical acclaim and fantastic sales. And all on Nintendo handhelds, to boot––if ever there was a serious contender for a handheld ambassador to cater to the 3DS version of Smash 4, Golden Sun’s Isaac would be it. The sword-wielding silent protagonist is an ideal match for the all-star battle royale: in fact, he and the battlefield have already met, when he was an Assist Trophy in Brawl, and his sorcery-like Psynergy rocked the stage. With a huge assortment of physical and mental attacks in his games, Isaac could easily be one of the most creative entries to the next Smash, and I’m sure plenty of fans would have no trouble draining both their wallets and their tear ducts at his announcement.

#3: Ridley
First appearance: Metroid (1986)

Let's face it: you knew Ridley was coming. The truth is, I can’t imagine a character prediction list for the next Smash game without the Metroid villain. First of all, and this is a strong first, he’s a dragon, an alien, a Space Pirate, and the reason behind Samus's Batman-like past. Seriously, what’s not to like? His moveset writes itself: general consensus dictates that if you have a fire-breathing pterodactyl monster with lethal talons and a spiked tail under your control, you’re off to a good start. Not to mention the plethora of options that come into existence once you throw Metroid Prime’s Meta Ridley into the mix. Both versions of Ridley, in fact, were featured in the Subspace Emissary of Brawl; and hacked data indicates that Ridley was planned to be in the game as an Assist Trophy. Finally, Samus has been alone as the sole Metroid representative since the very first Smash Bros., and while that fits into the soloistic nature of the franchise’s theme, it makes less sense given the all-star nature of the fighting game. If Kid Icarus is getting a second character, Samus deserves her archnemesis, and it's about time the alien dragon officially joined the fray.

#2: Shulk
First appearance: Xenoblade Chronicles (2010)

Cards on the table, this is the Holy Grail, the Hail Mary pass, the third-party character prediction for Smash Bros. 4. Shulk might not be as iconic as Pac-Man, but his eponymous sword was responsible for creating some legendary hype, complete with the creation of a massive localization effort called Operation Rainfall, dozens of awards, and successful sales internationally. Considering developer Monolith Soft’s storied partnership with Nintendo which includes, among other things, Super Smash Bros. Brawl, and the fact that the Wii exclusive’s sequel, X, is slated to be a huge Wii U console-seller, I think this character might just have the potential to make it all the way to Smash. It goes without saying that I’d gladly welcome any non-Riki character from the brilliant cast of Xenoblade Chronicles (can anyone say it’s Reyn time?), but Shulk’s got a lot going in his favor beyond simple main character magic. In addition to regular short-range sword skills, Shulk can activate the Xenoblade, called the Monado in-game, to unleash more than half a dozen longer-range sword skills and buffs. There are a lot of reasonable candidates for the limited and highly-contested third-party character slots, but if only for the sake of having a badass half-sword, half-lightsaber in the game, my vote’s riding on Shulk.

It has been brought to my intention that contrary to my hasty research and long-held beliefs about life, Xenoblade Chronicles is in fact a first-party Nintendo game, much in the same vein as Pokémon and Paper Mario. I apologize for the error, which I am keeping intact as a testament to my hubris.

#1: Mii
First appearance: Wii (2006)

…said no one ever.

The truth is, I can’t fathom why anybody would want the user caricatures in the mix as a battle competitor. We’ve already got the Animal Crossing Villager representing a user avatar, and the Wii Fit Trainer as a Wii ambassador––in both regards, the Mii is totally redundant. Sure, your Mii might be slightly more physically customizable, but how many unique animations will he get? And what moves can he even come out with that are cool? At the end of the day, that's what's missing: the Mii just doesn't seem as cool as the rest of the all-star roster. But Sakurai does what Sakurai wants, and in an interview with Kotaku, he may have hinted at the inclusion of a Mii: “You can have your own personalized character that you'll then be able to … play.” In addition, a “leak” that accurately predicted the Villager, Wii Fit Trainer, and Mega Man before their announcement at E3 also tipped off Gematsu with three other characters: Pac-Man, Little Mac, and your Mii. Speculation on the source’s legitimacy aside, it’s clear that the Mii is one of the more predicted characters for Smash 4’s roster, and personally, that gets me kind of down.

But that's not how I want to end this, so let’s try this again:

#1 (really): Ganon
First appearance: The Legend of Zelda (1986)

Ganondorf has been a constant member of the Smash Bros. franchise since his entrance in Melee over a decade ago. So why is a reprisal of one of the series mainstays my most desired new character for Smash 4? Simple: we need a better one. I know the character as we know it has fans that I’d hate to offend, but I think it’s time we all admit that Ganondorf as a slower, bulkier Captain Falcon clone just isn’t cutting it. Not only are clones basically the ultimate way to bog down a roster, but the character also hasn't been combat-ready––not everyone subscribes to tier lists, but the fact that Ganondorf has consistently been bottom-tier, typically dead last, in every single Brawl tier list that the Smash Boards community has compiled should indicate something. And remember, this isn’t any old trident-wielding, shapeshifting, pig-like embodiment of pure evil and hatred; he’s our trident-wielding, shapeshifting, pig-like embodiment of pure evil and hatred, having appeared in some form as the primary antagonist of no less than ten Zelda entries and ranked as one of the best villains in video game history several times by multiple publications. Honestly, the least that Sakurai could do to give Ganondorf the recognition he deserves is to provide him with a unique moveset, separate from the totally irrelevant Captain Falcon's. And who knows? Maybe this incarnation of Ganon might finally put that trident––and Triforce––to good use.

Disagree with anything in this list, or have a character to propose that I left out? Feel free to leave it in the comments!

Interview With an Almost Gamer Mom Sun, 14 Jul 2013 15:14:01 -0400 Cupcakecrisis

My mother grew up during a blossoming time in gaming. Arcades were just on the rise and home consoles were exciting but rare. I talk to her about that special time and what it meant to her.

Cupcakecrisis: “So did they have a lot of arcades when you were a kid?”

Mom: “They were just coming out when I was a child. There were about 2 around where I lived. We had pinball machines though, people loved those things. The first game or home system though was Atari. My brother had one, but we (the 3 other sisters) couldn’t play cause he was the boy.”

Cupcakecrisis: “Did you really want to play those games?”

Mom: “Yeah, kinda. They’d given me doll babies instead. I had her; it didn’t matter much to me anyways. It still wasn’t fair though.”

It’s times like that where I really appreciate the way my mom raised me. Games are not just a “boy” thing, and I glad that my mother gave me the freedom to express myself with the hobbies and games that I wanted to.

Cupcakecrisis: “So what was your favorite game to play when you got a chance?”

Mom: “I used to like Pac-Man and Donkey Kong, and Space Invaders, those were the games that were really fun and challenging.”  

Cupcakecrisis: “Were you really good at those games?”

Mom: “Not really, but I really loved to play them.”

I think she’s under estimating herself actually. Seeing her play those games is a wonder. She plays with equal parts great reflexes and practice, she’s amazing at them.

Cupcakecrisis: “What’s a game now that you really enjoy?”

Mom: “Temple Run. Cause it’s challenging, almost in the way that my favorite games were back then. “

My mom has what it takes to be an awesome gamer, but she was dissuaded from it at a young age. Now we’re at time where girls playing games is becoming less and less of a taboo, but we still need more acceptance.  If many would just encourage children’s endeavors, we’d have a lot more game designer, journalist and reviewers, instead of almost designers, journalist and reviewers.

After the interview is over, my mom heads to the living room, tablet in hand. She loads the menu screen to Temple Run, a smile on her face.