One of the earliest games I played was a version of Pac-Man on an arcade table. Since those days, I've played it in VR and played the worlds biggest Pac-Man. However, a new celebration of the ghost munching gaming icon will bring it to a new world - Augmented reality.
The Ars Electronica festival in Linz is welcoming the Bandai Namco character for a special PAC-A-THON, with the aim of educating younger visitors to the history of the 37-year-old game and its place in the gaming and computing industries. There will also be the EduCreation Lab, which will enable the titular character to be experienced in new and exciting ways.
Using the Microsoft Hololens, teams have created special versions of Pac-Man using AR, including Pac in Town, which recreates Pac-Man in a real-life scale and the Pac-Connect game which returns the game to tables and will allow multiple games to interact with each other. A new Pac-Man experience has also been made for the Deep Space 8K theatre using emojis, called Funguage. There are lots that Pac-Man is turning his hand to at the festival.
"History has changed so much in nearly forty years and there is an incredible story and world-records that are associated with the character," said UK marketing and PR director (and Chief Pac-Man Officer for the EU), Lee Kirton. "So as an entertainment company we are thinking much broader, as well as how our famous character can support education, social interaction and help the future with new technologies and experiences. We have great games, a great character and a rich history and it’s a great opportunity for us to explore new prototypes to support a positive future.”