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Microsoft, Namco Bandai Release HTML5  Pac-Man  With User-Created Levels

Microsoft, Namco Bandai Release HTML5 Pac-Man With User-Created Levels

April 13, 2011 | By Kyle Orland

Arcade classic Pac-Man received a decidedly modern update today with a new, free-to-play version that incorporates HTML5-based web play, Facebook account linking and user-created levels.

Australian web game specialists Soap Creative worked together with Microsoft and Namco Bandai to create The World's Biggest Pac-Man, unveiled today at Microsoft's MIX11 developer conference.

The title has already attracted 952 unique mazes created by Facebook users, which are linked together in a massive grid players can traverse using portals on each maze's edges. Those individual mazes have been played collectively over 100,000 times so far, though the fact that fewer than 5,000 of those mazes have been completed points to most players quickly growing bored and moving on.

Though the title was created as a promotion for Microsoft's hardware-accelerated Internet Explorer 9, it runs perfectly well in any browser that supports HTML5, the developing web standard that allows for highly interactive sites.

The new open format is seen as a challenger to plug-ins like Flash and Unity, which currently power most web-based games. Disney acquired HTML5 game engine maker Rocket Pack last month, and mobile game portal MocoSpace recently distributed $1 million to three HTML5 developers as part of a contest.

"We are giving the world one of its favorite video games through the browser, in a fun and engaging way that truly showcases how developers can deliver a new class of web experiences by taking advantage of modern web standards and hardware acceleration," Microsoft Australia developer evangelist Michael Kordahi said in a statement.

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