As a Nintendo fanboy, my Xbox 360 seems to sit around just in order to gather dust. I finally gave it some attention by spending some time with Pac-Man Championship Edition, the much-acclaimed Xbox Live Arcade release (later ported to many other platforms). I played it via a nice, cheap option, which is the Xbox Live Arcade compilation disc, although apparently it's available in several other compilations as well such as one called Pac-Man Museum and Namco Museum Virtual Arcade

Anyway, according to Wikipedia I wasn't the only person who was motivated to get a 360 just to play this game, as apparently it spurred sales of the console in Japan when it was announced. It had been a while since I'd played a Pac-Man game, but it was easy to get back into the groove. The game turns out to be pretty fun, and a fresh, modern (well, at the time of its release in 2007, ten years ago) take on the beloved Pac-Man formula. The game features a neon and techno aesthetic, and has you bouncing back and forth between the left and right sides of the board as they refresh with new layouts every time you complete the opposite side (and grab the fruit). It's a great twist, and there's some amount of strategy in deciding which side to complete as some sides end up having a lot of power pellets and others none.

All the modes are timed score attack modes (5 minutes or 10 minutes), which keeps things short and sweet. The alternate modes for the most part just change the layouts, although there is one mode where you can only see the board in your near vicinity. This mode is novel, but ends up being annoying, as it slows down the speed of the gameplay, although I suppose some people will enjoy memorizing the various board layouts. Also, can I just say how annoying the Xbox 360's controller is? Its D-pad is awful, and I can't believe it was designed this way on purpose. I ended up using the analog stick, which wasn't suited to this game at all. Ugh!

Aside from the controller issues, overall I enjoyed my time with Pac-Man C.E., and I didn't mind that unlocking all twelve achievements is pretty easy. The biggest drawback is that all the modes are pretty much the same, but it's a very arcade-y type of game, so it's geared towards people who are into chasing the highest possible score (and want to see their name on the online leaderboards). I actually already have its follow-up, Pac-Man Championship Edition DX+, which looks like more of an update than its name would imply. Not sure when I'll get around to it, but it looks like it may be even better than its predecessor.

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