The seminal side-scrolling platformer Pac-Land gained an Arcade Archives re-release today. Those with eagle eyes will have spotted that Ms. Pac-Man is looking a little different. Gone is her trademark red bow, replaced with a dashing pink bonnet and matching pink shoes.
This alteration is seemingly down to a long-running dispute between AtGames and Namco, in which AtGames â€“ manufacturers of mini-arcade games and plug â€˜n plays â€“ acquired the royalty rights to Ms. Pac-Man from General Computer Corporation (GCC) a few years ago. Â
GCC was responsible for Ms. Pac-Man back in â€˜80s, originally creating an enhancement kit for Pac-Man â€“ known as Crazy Otto â€“ which was then sold onto Midway. After a dispute with Namco â€“ which Polygon covered extensively in 2019 – AtGames retaliated by acquiring the royalty rights, meaning whenever Ms. Pac-Man is featured, they earn a sum of cash.
Clearly fed up with this arrangement, a workaround has been put in place. Enter Pac-Mom, a replacement for Ms. Pac-Man. This links into sightings of the new character in next monthâ€™s Pac-Man Museum+ where they can be seen â€“ sporting the same pink headwear â€“ as a background character and as a trophy.
We sincerely hope Namco is able to come to an agreement with AtGames in the future. Namco losing a piece of their history makes us feel oddly uncomfortable, and weâ€™re sure we arenâ€™t alone in feeling this way.