With major gaming characters’ anniversaries come all sorts of merchandise. Pac-Man is turning 40 in 2020, for example, and it has meant a ramping up of items corresponding to him. Some only reference the character, such as the Pac-Man Tamagotchi exclusive to North America. In the case of the Tiny Arcade line of cabinets, the Pac-Man adaptations are more about capturing a pint-size aesthetic that is playable, but probably not easily playable.
To begin, the Pac-Man Tiny Arcade cabinets actually aren’t entirely new for the 40th anniversary, but they’re something that might be more noticeable given the year. (Both showed up in 2019.) Each one of these Super Impulse items gives people a small replica of a different kind of arcade staple. The Pac-Man cabinet is about four inches tall, the height of a Nendoroid. Meanwhile the tabletop is about four inches long and two inches high.
The notable part is that these are each fully functional. Both have the most rudimentary versions of Pac-Man running on their tiny screens. While small, the visuals are all bright enough to see. The music and sound effects are all true to life. There are still the little animated segments between certain stages as you hit milestones. The cabinet even has a light-up marquee. Some elements are sacrificed, such as any screen with tiny text, which is more noticeable on the cabinet with its vertical perspective. In each case, you have extraordinarily teeny joysticks which, well, become more unusable the older you are/bigger your fingers are.
Which means that with each of these, it is more about the notion of having working little replicas. The Pac-Man Tiny Arcade cabinet in particular has a keychain built into it for those who might want to display it on the go. (I worry about whether it would remain pristine and durable if someone did, though.) It seems more like they’d be good to have on a desk.
Or, even more ideally, how they might work with other items people might own. Remember how, earlier on, I specifically mentioned the Pac-Man Tiny Arcade cabinet was Nendoroid-sized? Well, it is the perfect height for that sort of small figure, be they that or a similar sized toy. (If you have one of the Japan-exclusive Splatoon 2 mini-figures, they’re an even better size.) The tabletop unit’s dimensions are actually a bit too large for a Nendroid-sized figure, but it does work with a larger figure along the lines of a Figma or one of the Kotobukiya Frame Arms Girls or Megami Device characters. Granted, you will have to arrange the character so they are kneeling, but it works for photoshoot purposes.
Both of the Pac-Man Tiny Arcade toys work. While not always easy or comfortable to play, someone absolutely can. But more importantly, they’re a novelty that helps bring a nostalgic element into people’s lives. Especially if they also happen to have appropriately-sized figures to pair with them.
The Pac-Man Tiny Arcade cabinet and tabletop replicas are immediately available. The cabinet is $19.99, while the tabletop is $21.99.