Namco Museum Arcade Pac

Game review by
Paul Semel, Common Sense Media
Namco Museum Arcade Pac Game Poster Image
Collection of classic, mostly fun arcade games.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

With most of these games, it's not just about luck, skill but also practice, perseverance.

Positive Role Models & Representations

"Hero" of Splatterhouse is trying to rescue his girlfriend (though with gruesome violence), heroes in Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder 2 are trying to save world (by shooting lots of people), hero in Sky Kid is trying to end World War I (by shooting planes, dropping bombs on people).

Ease of Play

Controls are simple, but some games aren't easy.

Violence

Some games have you using guns to shoot people, while others have you using your fist, feet, weapons. But while there's some blood, gore in Splatterhouse, its old-school graphics make all of them look rather cartoony.

Sex

Image for Rolling Thunder 2 shows a woman in a really tight dress.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Namco Museum Arcade Pac is available for the Nintendo Switch, and presents nearly a dozen classic old school games, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga. But while those games are mostly benign, there are some that have questionable content. Rolling Thunder, Rolling Thunder 2, Tank Force, Sky Kid, and both Galaga and its sequel Galaga '88 are all shooting games, though their old-school visuals largely mitigate the violence. The same can't be said for Splatterhouse, an action game inspired by slasher movies that's full of pixelated blood and gore. While they're also mostly free of curse words, sex, drugs, or drinking, the static image seen when you play Rolling Thunder 2 does feature a bosomy woman in a tight dress.

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What's it about?

As a collection of old school games, NAMCO MUSEUM doesn't have a story. Or even a framing device. That said, some of the games do have loose narratives. In Splatterhouse, for instance, a guy is trying to rescue his girlfriend from the monsters in a spooky house; Rolling Thunder and Rolling Thunder 2 are shooters with James Bond-esque stories.

Is it any good?

With nearly a dozen games perfectly replicated, this collection of classic titles will entertain both old school gamers and those too young to remember arcades, or quarters. Like other versions of this compilation, Namco Museum Arcade Pac includes such iconic games as Pac-ManDig Dug, Galaga, its sequel Galaga '88, and others. It also has the relatively newer multiplayer game Pac-Man Vs., where one player controls the titular binge eater while four others control the ghosts. What's more, this new collection includes Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus with its exclusive Switch 2 Plus 2P mode, letting two players take on ghosts in mazes at the same time.

But while this collection presents these games with all of their classic graphics, sounds, and gameplay intact, some of them hold up better than others. Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and the two Galaga games, for instance, are timeless classics, while the side-scrolling shooters Rolling Thunder and Rolling Thunder 2 have a certain old school charm. What's more, if you haven't played Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 Plus before, you owe it to yourself to leap into that game; it really turns the ghost chomping maze action on its head. But the horror movie-inspired hack-and-slash game Splatterhouse is more silly than scary these days, while such top-down games as the shooter Tank Force and the hack-and-slash maze adventure The Tower of Druaga haven't aged well. Still, even if you only play Pac-ManPac-Man Vs., Pac-Man Championship Edition 2 PlusDig Dug, Galaga, and Galaga '88, getting six cool games for the price of one more than makes Namco Museum Arcade Pac for the Switch a collection worth its weight in quarters.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about good sportsmanship. Since Pac-Man Vs lets you play with, and against, other people, why is it important to be both a good loser and a good winner when playing this game?

  • What can we learn about modern games from playing these older ones? Can you see how Galaga led to Call of Duty?

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