Flex those chomping muscles, retro gamers: the Pac-Man World Championship goes down starting next week on Xbox Live Arcade.
On April 25, contenders willing to drop 400 Microsoft Points ($7 in real money) can sign up, then spend the next two weeks chomping the power pellets in an effort to become a finalist in their region (those would be Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Europe and the United States). Then the finalists are flown to New York in June for the final throwdown, with the winner receiving 26 years of free Quiznos subs (the sandwich company is also behind this), 100,000 Microsoft points, and a Pac-Man themed Xbox 360 console.
Oh, and the victor will also be crowned the Pac-Man World Champion by the game's creator, Toru Iwatani. I get geeky goose pimples just thinking about it.
I do have to quibble about the title, though: "Pac-Man World Champion?" Maybe I'm too much of a purist, but so far as I'm concerned if you're not playing a coin-op, you're not playing the real Pac-Man. The controllers are different -- just ask the battered muscles in my wrist -- and there's a world of difference between a marathon game standing or on a stool and one in a chair. I'd like to see what would happen if the finalists had to play on arcade machines instead of Xboxes. But hey, that's just me.