What the Puck, man?!
PAC-MAN Museum+ gathers a bunch of PAC-MAN titles in one collection to celebrate the character’s 42nd anniversary. There’s a lot of PAC-MAN love and history here, but unfortunately for diehard fans, some of it is revisionist history.
Just a few weeks back, we got a taste of things to come with Ms. Pac-Man being removed and replaced with Pac-Mom in Arcade Archives: Pac-Land. In PAC-MAN Museum+, Pac-Mom is gone once again, which isn’t too surprising. The thing is, the rest of her family has been yanked as well.
We now know that PAC-MAN Museum+ has replaced Pac-Jr. with Pac-Boy, Pac-Baby with Pac-Sis, and Chomp Chomp with Pac-Buddy. Professor Pac is the only one who has survived the culling in this collection.
It very much seems these characters were replaced due to licensing and ownership issues. We learned of this with the original arcade release of Ms Pac-Man, which was a modded version of a game called Crazy Otto. That game was created by General Computer Corporation (GCC) in the US. Through a deal with Midway and GCC, Ms. Pac-Man was birthed. The thing is, GCC still retains some rights to Ms. Pac-Man, whereas Bandai Namco holds all the other Pac-Man rights.
We don’t know the specifics of who owns the other characters mentioned above, but it’s clear there’s some sort of rights issues that Bandai Namco just wanted to avoid.