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Namco Mobile Gaming Preview & Overview

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Written by DM on Thursday, October 19 2006

Namco is launching a brand new mobile gaming department for their older classic titles. This new “Namco Mobile” division is set to take cell phone providers by storm. Classics like Pac-Man and DigDug are now available on most cell phones, and with a minimal charge, they may just provide the link that Namco needs to get casual gamers hooked on their titles.

Most carriers now provide some of the Namco Mobile games; some carriers provide more than others. Let’s talk about the games themselves though. Namco’s most famous game is, of course, Pac-Man, and they have faithfully ported the game to the cell phone platform. The game uses the directional control pad that most cell phones have as the game’s main control system. There are a few options to set as well, such as the amount of continues and a level select (you can only choose the mazes you have beaten already). Since Pac-Man is not a game which requires much in the way of graphic power, the title is reproduced with arcade perfection, even on the small screen and low powered processor of most cell phones. For an old school gamer like myself, being able to play Pac-Man while waiting on line at the movie theatre or sitting in the doctor’s lobby is a real treat.

I also got the chance to check out Super Pac-Man. For those of you who remember the game, it is a variant on Pac-Man. You must navigate your way around the standard Pac-Man style maze, but in this game you will be collecting keys to unlock different gates so that you can get at the pellets inside. You can still eat the ghosts and you can still snack on digital fruit. The reason I mention this game is because it was demoed for me and it looked fantastic on a cell phone. It was just as great as I remember it, although I do remember those days with a fair bit of nostalgic awe.

The rest of the standard Namco Mobile arcade games such as Mr. Driller, Dig Dug, Galaga, Xevious, Mini Galaxian, Pac-Man, Pac-Man Pinball, Pac-Mac Casino, Pac-Man Puzzle, Pac Match, and Super Pac-Man are all available now on most mobile carriers. Great news, for sure, but believe it or not, this is not the most exciting mobile news that Namco had to offer.

Namco is now planning to launch a set of mobile games that are network enabled. In other words, you can actually play against a live person on your cell phone. It’s like having a n-Gage, well sort of. The main network enabled game that caught my eye was Scene It.

For those of you who are not familiar with the game, Scene It is a movie trivia board game where players watch cinema clips and solve movie related pictographs in order to prevail. Well, Namco has brought the fun of this game to the mobile world. The game will be full of the same trivia, clips, movie stars, and on-screen media that is featured in the board game, and you can play against real people across the network at any time. Both movie edition and TV edition will be available in 2007 on most mobile carriers. Along with Scene It, games like Pool Pro (billiards), Snoopy and the Red Baron, Dilbert Cubicle Chaos, and Pac-Man’s Arcade Corner will be added to the network enabled roster. Even a game as simple as Ms. Pac-Man will have network capabilities added in order to provide a setting where the highest scorer each week will win a prize.

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