Shigeru Miyamoto’s Only Non-Nintendo Contribution

After last nights breaking news about video game legend Shigeru Miyamoto taking a step down from his current duties hit the web. I think the gaming community collectively felt like it had a huge weight in it’s stomach. Like your awesome grandpa who loves to ride roller coasters and would take you to the amusement park all the time finally said ‘I’m getting a too old for this’. It’s a hard pill to swallow but thankfully Miyamoto isn’t completely out of the game yet and since he’ll be focusing more on his own smaller designs now, I wanted to point out one of his crazier ideas that actually starred Namco’s main ‘man’, Pac-Man.

Pac Man Vs., while only available on Nintendo systems, is the only time Miyamoto has ever been the lead game designer for a game that had a licensed character. Thankfully this didn’t stop him from changing the entire game while honoring it’s roots. The game originally came with the Player’s Choice copy of Pac Man World 2 for GameCube and was on a separate disc. As you might can tell by the header image, it required not only a GameCube but also a Game Boy Advance and a GC to GBA connection cable. Thanks to my obsession with Animal Crossing, I already had all the equipment needed when the game released.

Pac Man Vs. wasn’t a great game because of it’s equipment. What was great was that it made Pac-Man a multiplayer slug-fest that was an amazing party game to drink and play with buddies. One player controls Pac-Man with the GBA, which displays the entire maze, while the other players control each of the Ghosts with the Gamecube Controller. The game cannot be played as a one-player game. So someone has got to be a Ghost and another Pac-Man.

It was a kind of elaborate game of tag. If a Ghost catches Pac-Man both players have to switch controllers and switch roles. Being Pac-Man gave you the advantage of earning more points through fruit, pellets, eating ghost and just being Pac-Man even gave you an extra 1600 points (if you could finish the game with him). Ghost on the other hand had one goal, Catch Pac-Man. You could eat fruit but the only advantage it had would to increase your visibility to find Pac-Man. Once you found caught him, it was time to earn points. The game would be finished once all the pellets on the map had been eaten or if a player had hit a predetermined score of 7,000, 10,000, or 15,000.

For the longest time I didn’t even realize this was a Miyamoto game but if this is the kind of experimentation and development we can expect from him by doing smaller games. Then I’m all for it. Thankfully we know Miyamoto is going to be around at least a little while longer. So he won’t have to end his legacy on Wii Music.

Bryan Belcher

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