Namco Museum: 50th Anniversary Arcade Collection
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this repackaging of classic arcade games offers little to object to. The limited violence is cartoonish: Dig-Dug pumps air into his enemies, causing them to explode, for example, and Galaga is a button-mashing shooter. None of this is as realistic as today's games.
What's it about?
NAMCO MUSEUM: 50TH ANNIVERSARY ARCADE COLLECTION spans about a decade of the company's classic video game titles. It repackages 16 arcade classics from the '70s and '80s, targeting gamers who grew up in that era. Gamers of all ages will recognize the most popular games in the collection: Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man, Pole Position, Galaga, and Dig-Dug.
Ms. Pac-Man still impresses with her speedy trips through brightly colored labyrinths. Galaga virtually invented the concept of button-mashing and scratches an itch for a straightforward arcade shooter. And watching fire-breathing dragons explode after Dig-Dug pumps them full of air is a singular treat.
Is it any good?
The best of these games all benefit from a whimsy and innocence missing from most games on the market today. But as memorable and influential as these primitive titles are, they are technology products that age and become obsolete -- more beta and eight-track tape than Hitchcock and Shakespeare. As a result, they compare unfavorably to the impressive graphics, complex storytelling, and responsive control of contemporary games.
Kids -- who can play more advanced games on their cell phones -- may be unimpressed by the archaic graphics and simple, repetitive gameplay. Second-tier games like Rolling Thunder, Sky Kid and Rally-X do nothing to inspire awe for the past. This game does create an opportunity for parents to connect with their kids over a night of gaming, regaling them with stories of high scores past. But this nostalgia trip is bound to be a pretty short one, as their isn't enough to hold either kids' or parents' attention for very long.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about what constitutes a classic. Can a video game be judged like an old movie -- an excellent, fun experience wrapped in an obviously dated package? Or do games become obsolete like other technology, leaving only a once-noteworthy artifact on culture's scrapheap? Is there an innocent appeal to these games or do they prevent parents from understanding the depth (and complexity) of today's gaming content?