Major Xbox announcement revealed: Pac-Man Championship Edition XBLA

To everyone who e-mailed us about the “major” Xbox 360 announcement: thanks. We know. It’s not a price drop, it’s not a new hardware SKU, and no, Halo 3 Mini-Tales is not coming out on the Zune.

Today At the Pac-Man World Championships in New York City, Microsoft and Namco Bandai have “made video game history” by revealing Pac-Man Championship Edition for Xbox Live Arcade. This version of Pac-Man will include all of the playable boss characters like Vega, M. Bison, and … wait, sorry. I confused this with 1992.

Actually it’s 1980, because Pac-Man Championship Edition is an updated version of the original Pac-Man classic arcade updated with new features including: new mazes designed by Pac-Man’s daddy, Toru Iwatani; six new timed game modes, a new soundtrack, and high definition graphics.

The game will be available tomorrow morning (9AM EST) for 800 MS points, and will only be available on the Xbox 360. Who needs a price drop now?

Our very own Dick McVengeance was on-hand at the Pac-Man World Championships event, so expect pictures from the event later today (nude photos of Ms. Pac-Man not promised).

Hit the jump for the full skinny on Pac-Man Championship Edition.

[Update: Photo of new stage design. Be prepared for a ton more photos and content later tonight! – DMV]

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™.

The “Pac-Man Championship Edition” is the same beloved “Pac-Man” game played in 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 for 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 0900 BST on Wednesday, June 6, 2007

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.”

Nick Chester