In the 1890s, a slot machine was probably the coolest entertainment device anyone had ever seen. In 2017, despite many advances in slot machine technology, those flashy one-armed bandits just don’t attract “the young” who all have access to both. Candy Crush Saga and internet porn on a magical device in their pocket.
To try and fight back, casino owners are turning to purely skill-based video games for their betting floors, and the trend is getting a big name boost in Pac-Man Battle Casinoa newly announced machine from Namco and Gamblit Gaming that will reach casinos next year.
the multiplayer Battle Casino bears a striking resemblance to the arcade game from 2011 Pac-Man Battle Royale and was co-developed by the same Japanese team. In the incredibly fun arcade version, two to four players chew pellets and dodge ghosts on the same ever-changing playing field, racing for power pellets that make the player bigger and give them the ability to eat opponents.
Based on screenshots provided by Gamblit, gameplay in Battle Casino looks largely identical to the arcade version, only players now compete for real money instead of virtual points. The exact prize pool for each match is determined by a random wheel, and the winnings will often be less than the combined total bet of the competitors, so the casino gets its share.
Gamblit and other publishers already have a host of other skill-based gambling titles available to casinos, including some based on popular franchises such as Jetpack Joyride, Doodle Jumpand The living Dead. However, most of them are single-player competitions against an unforgiving machine. Pac-Man Battle Casino adds the potential for a classic gaming medic to lure unsuspecting rubes with false humility before unleashing their skills on a big bet. Hey, if dedicated and skilled players can already make money selling prizes they win at Dave & Busters, maybe my dream to become a pro Pac-Man shark isn’t that far-fetched?
With Namco now joining the skill-based gambling act, we can’t help but think about what other classic arcade franchises might see renewed interest from casinos. Cash contests have been an integral (albeit unofficial) part of the fighting game scene for decades, so an official way to wager money on a Street Fighter II match could certainly attract nostalgic casino visitors. Or how about competitive light-gun or racing games, where only the most accurate shooter or fastest driver wins the money? Sounds more interesting than staring at a slot machine, that’s for sure.
Pac-Man Battle Casino will be unveiled at the Global Gaming Expo next week ahead of its launch in select casinos in 2018.