BANDAI NAMCO Holdings Inc. (JP), Hakuhodo Inc. (JP), Ars Electronica Futurelab (AT)
Pacathon is an open innovation lab for discussing future play and future society through prototypes exploring new utilizations of PAC-MAN for people. PAC-MAN is a video game algorithm that was released by BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc. (formerly NAMCO) in 1980.
It became a mega-hit not only in its birthplace Japan but across the world and is loved still today by many people. PAC-MAN attracted not only the traditional game fans but also a new wave audience of young and old alike who were captivated by the game’s simple rules, profound game system, colorful and cute characters design, rhythmical BGM and unique SE and the comical intermission sequences between each level. In many ways, PAC-MAN was the first avatar to create a communication bridge between a coded, virtual world and the people. As the hype grew, approximately 400 different types of merchandise were released one after another and PAC-MAN became a social phenomenon embedded in the human psyche as a symbolic icon representing game culture and the social impact.
And now, if we regard PAC-MAN as a reflection of human social instinct and release it from the game screen into the actual world, what kind of and characteristics will it feature and what will PAC-MAN‘s new role be in the future?
Pacathon is an open innovation process that was born out of a research project: an adventure to explore what a next generation of PAC-MAN could look like. Through the collective minds of the BANDAI NAMCO group, Ars Electronica and Hakuhodo, these three collaborators have been carrying out research and workshops since May 2017 to understand the essence of future playing and to unearth the social value of PAC-MAN in order to prototype PAC-MAN’s future. This project aims to explore the potential of innovative gamification with the Ars Electronica Festival participants through Pacathon.
Text: Hideaki Ogawa (Ars Electronica Futurelab), Rena Tanaka (Hakuhodo Inc.)
PAC-MANTM&©BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment Inc.