Arcade 1Up is bringing one of the most popular arcade games of all time to people’s homes. The home arcade cabinet company announced Thursday that it plans to release a Ms. Pac-Man machine this holiday season.
The game, which Arcade1Up says has been the most sought-after by its customer base for years, is one of four releases coming in 2020. Big Buck Hunter Pro (its first light-gun-based shooting game), X-Men vs. Street Fighter, and Marvel Pinball are all due later this year.
As is typical with Arcade1Up systems, the premiere games will be bundled with other titles. In addition to Ms. Pac-Man, buyers will also get Galaxian, Pac-Mania, and Pac-Man Plus. The Big Buck Hunter Pro device (with two rifles) will also include Big Buck World, Big Buck Hunter Open Season, and Big Buck: Safari Outback, while X-Men vs. Street Fighter will come with X-Men: Children of the Atom, X-Men: Mutant Apocalypse, and Marvel vs. Capcom: Clash of Super Heroes.
While there are plenty of digital versions of Ms. Pac-Man, this is the first arcade cabinet version to be made since 1981, according to Arcade 1Up. The game was a huge hit upon its release, and many considered it to be a better game than the iconic original, adding new mazes, new characters, and new A.I. for the ghosts.
Ironically, the game was first designed as a knockoff of the original Pac-Man and was named Crazy Otto. Fearing a copyright suit, the creators decided to first seek approval from Pac-Man’s U.S. distributor Bally Midway. Officials at the game giant were so impressed that they bought Crazy Otto, replaced the characters with licensed ones, and added in a few charming cut scenes. And the sequel was born.
While Ms. Pac-Man certainly is the most well-known game of the announcement, modders might be more excited about Big Buck World and X-Men vs. Street Fighter. Arcade1Up machines are especially popular with enthusiasts who like to hack the systems and use the machines to play many more arcade games than are initially included, using ROMs they download online.
The light guns of Big Buck World open several arcade shooters up to resourceful modders. And the multiple buttons and two-player configuration of X-Men vs. Street Fighter make it a natural for one-on-one games.