Pac-Man At 35,000 Feet? Retro Gaming Is Coming To IFE

A new partnership with Panasonic and entertainment giant BANDAI NAMCO is bringing the best of ‘80s gaming to a seatback screen near you. Announced this week, the tie-up will see titles such as Pac-Man and Dig Dug arriving on inflight entertainment systems of some of the world’s top airlines.

panasonic retro gaming IFE
Get your game on with BANDAI NAMCO. Photo: Panasonic Avionics

Get your game on in-flight

We’re all dying to be flying again, and what could make that first post-pandemic trip a little bit better? Why, a dash of retro gaming, of course! If you spent far too much time as a young-un enjoying the ‘wakka wakka wakka’ of Pac-Man or the nail-biting alien busting fun of Galaga, you could soon be getting your game on at 35,000 feet!

In partnership with Panasonic Avionics, iconic Japanese games giant BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment will be bringing the best of its 20th-century gaming to a seatback screen near you. Announced this week, the partnership will enable airlines to offer a genuine retro gaming experience right at their seat.

Naoki Katashima, Managing Director of BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment, said,

“The COVID-19 pandemic that struck the world has greatly affected and changed our way of life. As the world comes together in overcoming the pandemic, BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment has partnered with Panasonic Avionics to provide our universally acclaimed game content to be enjoyed in-flight, with hope of the day to come when travelers are free to enjoy the skies again.”

panasonic retro gaming IFE
Popular retro titles will be included in the update. Photo: Panasonic Avionics

While the full catalog of games to be ported to the IFE remains under wraps, Panasonic has confirmed that we can expect to see Pac-Man, Galaga and Dig Dug within the offerings. No launch customer has been identified yet, but we’d expect this to be a popular addition to Panasonic’s suite of inflight entertainment.

Retro games are making a comeback

The ‘80s and ‘90s played host to a wealth of video games that have aged ever-so gracefully. From Donkey Kong to the Legend of Zelda, we’ve seen remake after remake of the most popular titles. Pokémon’s resurgence in the 2010s has brought a whole new generation of monster hunters into the fold, but for most of us, there’s nothing quite like the original retro experience.

Most IFE today contains an element of gaming fun. Sometimes hidden away in the ‘kids’ section (who says it’s just for kids?), popular titles twiddled for IFE include Solitaire, Bejeweled and Sudoku. But now, with BANDAI NAMCO on the scene, a genuine 1980’s gaming experience is just a flight away.

panasonic retro gaming IFE
Wakka wakka wakka… Photo: Panasonic Avionics

Ken Sain, Chief Executive Officer of Panasonic Avionics Corporation, commented on the tie-up, stating,

“The gaming industry is one of the few that have seen significant growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This demonstrates the value global consumers place on games and their unique ability to take players on digital adventures and provide connections to different communities.”

More than 300 airlines fly with Panasonic’s solution onboard. In normal times, more than 500 million passengers will fly on a Panasonic-equipped aircraft in any given year. Airline customers include leading long-haul operators such as Singapore Airlines, Turkish, Cathay Pacific and Delta. Let us know if you find Pac-Man on your next flight!