Namco Museum

There were few highlights at Nintendo's 2003 conference - its lasting contribution to the annals of history is perhaps how it provided the dour set-up to the popular gaijin 4koma meme - but there were some flashes of inspiration. One of the more interesting announcements was Pac-Man Vs, Nintendo EAD's own take on Namco's long-running series that embraced the tangle of wires that was the system link, whereby Game Boy Advances could be tethered to a GameCube for a new kind of multiplayer.

Namco Museum DS

Namco Museum DS

And here it is again.

Approaching what amounts to the gaming equivalent of a mid-life crisis, I recently went and paid the talented Retro Chris to make me a bespoke arcade cabinet. It's amazing. Illuminated buttons, coin door, three control panels to take into account vertical and horizontally oriented games, and finished with a Donkey Kong overlay for that special touch. One man's childhood dreams made real, and no, not at all unnecessary and geeky. How dare you. And yes I have seen King of Kong.

But anyway, the point of this increasingly rambling anecdote is that my 26-month-old son is fascinated by it. He eats his breakfast off it, and enjoys Pac-Man [called 'Nack-Nang' by him] so much he hilariously mimics the 'Wacka-Wacka' noises whenever he sees the little yellow blobhead. So when Namco Museum DS arrived for review, he took one look at the box art, held it up to me, giggled and started making more 'Wacka-Wacka' sounds, while informing me of the colours of the ghosts on the back. Needless to say, he enjoys Pac-Man on the DS just as much, mainly to watch the pill-popping fiend get eaten. Repeatedly.

Released on every platform know to man since about 1994 (man, that's retro in itself), the latest Namco Museum is another unapologetic slice of retro bundling which pulls together the usual suspects for yet another outing. Pac-Man, of course, is present and correct, as is Galaga, Galaxian, Mappy, and Xevious, along with some rather less stellar candidates: Dig Dug II, The Tower of Druaga. Two 'secret' games also form part of the package - Super Xevious and the rather pointless Dig Dug II - Old Version), which you can unlock by meeting certain conditions.

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