The yellow controller is designed to look like the iconic, ghost-gobbling hero with clever and convenient touches. It’s simple to use with a large, orange joystick, white A and B buttons, and a white on/off switch that doubles as Pac-Man’s eye. The set-up is simple; players put four AA batteries into the controller, hook up the two attached cables to the TV for audio and visuals, and switch to the TV’s AV setting.
Once they’re in the virtual arcade, players can choose from 12 classic ‘80s games, including Pac-Man, Pac & Pal, Pac-Man Plus, Super Pac-Man, New Rally-X, Galaga, Galaxian, Xevious, Bosconian, Mappy, and Dig Dug. Each features its own memorable, pixelated graphics and game sounds. Either play a quick game for one or two players or compete with the preset high scores from the original arcade games to become a video game master.
Navigation through the game is also simple, especially since the instructions on how to start the game and choose the number of players pop up on the screen. Players who want to exit a game and start a new one press and hold both A and B simultaneously and choose “Yes.” (Because I’m bad at reading, that took me some time to figure out, but that’s just a me problem.)
As a bonus, players can also take on the coveted Pac-Level 256. They’ll start at the Pac-Man’s level 255 to practice before heading into the difficult and — seemingly — never-ending final level. Just keep the fact that it’s a separate game under wraps to your friends and pretend you’re a Pac-Man pro.
When it’s game over, players can easily remove the back cover and tuck the AV cables into the compartment for convenient storage.
The controller brought me back to the times my dad and I would spend hours at the arcade before Dave & Buster’s was a thing. And, I don’t mean stinky-feet-scented Chuck E. Cheese; I mean the real, dark arcade packed with a range of ’80s and contemporary staples, including the three Dance Dance Revolutions that either never worked or were too difficult to play.
Having these 12 classic games all packed into one controller with an attached cable and storage at the price point of $19.99 is a steal. Tell Dave & Buster’s to take notes.
Long-time fans will love how the new virtual arcade stays true to the original video games. Meanwhile, first-time players can quickly become new fans by reading the synopses and basic instructions for each game in the instruction manual.
With Pac-Man Connect & Play, you’ll have all the tools to become a Pac-Man champion.