Pac-Man World Championship: the tournament and the game

The tournament itself was…interesting. Basically, I got to wander around and watch people play Pac-Man. Nick Chester was just oozing with jealousy at that. Actually, the event was rather quiet for most of the time that the players were showing off their skills, up until the last round. By that time, most of the press was there to hear Microsoft’s history-making announcement.

So, how do you even decide who is the world champion of Pac-Man? It’s actually not that difficult. You can find that, along with some of my impressions, after the jump.

As Nick mentioned earlier, there were a bunch of new modes on hand at the event. The tournament players all went through Championship mode, which was specifically designed for the competition. What made this so special was the fact that Iwatani-san, the game’s original creator, personally designed these new stages for Pac-Man.

The other modes were made available for everyone to play once the tournament was over. I liked Challenge Mode 2, the Darkness Course — it was inventive for the map and added quite a bit of challenge. The Extra Mode 3, which mashes all the other modes together, was interesting as well. I think that the redesign of the levels and the new modes add enough of a change that makes you have to rethink the fundamentals of how you play Pac-Man. Is it worth the 800 MS points? I think so.

So, now to the competition. What happened was everyone played 2 games of Competition mode, and then the judges added the scores together, giving the player their final score for the round. Then the two players with the lowest score were eliminated. This went on until the final round, where the two players competed head to head in a single round. So, who was eliminated?

Round One
Huang Wei Hua (Taiwan) – 173,640
Reuben Anderson (New Zealand) – 197,030
Jason Gahler (USA) – 258,100
Billy Mitchell (USA) – 258,670
Kitayatsu Hiroaki (Japan) – 260,450
Timothy Balderramos (USA) – 329,810
Robert Glashuettner (Austria) – 345,100
Dwyane Richard (Canada) – 360,150
James Rodgers (UK) – 376,380
Carlos Romero (Mexico) – 414,670

Round Two
Billy Mitchell (USA) – 241,680
Kitayatsu Hiroaki (Japan) – 276,950
Jason Gahler (USA) – 300,000
Robert Glashuettner (Austria) – 314,210
James Rodgers (UK) – 354,540
Timothy Balderramos (USA) – 365,000
Dwyane Richard (Canada) – 415,290
Carlos Romero (Mexico) – 438,590

Round Three
James Rodgers (UK) – 193,000
Timothy Balderramos (USA) – 339,390
Dwyane Richard (Canada) – 341,450
Robert Glashuettner (Austria) – 343,250
Jason Gahler (USA) – 387,800
Carlos Romero (Mexico) – 449,300

Round Four
Jason Gahler (USA) – 306,610
Dwyane Richard (Canada) – 324,320
Robert Glashuettner (Austria) – 331,630
Carlos Romero (Mexico) – 459,330

Round Five
Robert Glashuettner (Austria) – 177,730
Carlos Romero (Mexico) – 222,160

Now, what did Carlos win? He got a one of a kind Pac-Man themed Xbox 360. When Iwatani-san presented him with the system, Iwatani said, “please don’t utilize eBay. Then, you’ll have all of Microsoft as your enemy.” He also got 100,000 MS points and 26 years of free subs from Quiznos. Second place Glashuettner got 60,000 MS points, and third place winner Dwayne Richard got 20,000 MS points.

So please, check out the gallery of the awards ceremony, competition shots, and everything else.