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Check Out this Gameplay Footage of ‘PAC-MAN 256’

While everyone else is busy just making Crossy Road (Free) (JEEZ!), the actual Crossy Road developers have been hard at work on what might be the best version of Pac-Man yet. We got a real brief look at a (then) super-secret version of Pac-Man 265 at GDC, and it’s amazing. It’s sort of crazy too, as Namco has been busy relentlessly trying to reinvent the wheel doing all sorts of real dumb things with the Pac-Man IP, while Hipster Whale comes in from out of left field with a modern Pac-Man game that… Actually makes sense.

Check it out:

If it isn’t obvious from the video, Pac-Man 256 is endless Pac-Man. The “256" comes in from the fact that you’re running from the kill screen of the game:

The level counter in the original Pac-Man is stored as an 8-bit integer, meaning the highest value it can hold is 255. However, a bug in the game’s programming causes the level counter to “roll-over" to 256, resulting in an integer overflow and causing the game to attempt to draw 256 fruit to the screen. The result is the garbled mess on the right side of the maze.

You collect power-ups along the way as you race for survival, eat ghosts for high scores, and just generally play a new iteration of Pac-Man in a way that makes sense. It’s a gloriously welcome change from things like the now defunct Pac’N Jump. The game is due to be released soon, and hopefully it’s a wild success. I’d love for other guardians of beloved retro IP to take note and realize that passionate indie developers with life-long nostalgic ties to the IP they’re hoarding can do amazing things with it if you just let them.

I’m looking at you, Sega.