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Pac-Man: The Red Bull Addition

By Ashley Alvarez

Bandai Namco Entertainment collaborated with Red Bull to deliver Red Bull drink cans decorated by a Pac-Man design alongside a revamped version of the 80’s Pac-Man arcade game. In celebration of their collaboration, Red Bull has organized a mass online Pac-Man tournament open to the public. In promotion for the collaboration, UCI junior Daniela Romero, a Red Bull student brand manager hosted a Pac-Man tournament in Arroyo Vista’s community center Friday, Nov. 16.

“I put on this event because the game brings back this nostalgia. It’s just so nice to see everyone gather in a space to play this classic game,” said Romero. “The old Pac-Man game is really nostalgic, and it’s really cool to see that old comradery paired with this new limited edition Red Bull drink created just for this game.”

For the event, single-use laptops were positioned around an oval-shaped conference table on either side of a main laptop and joystick, which were connected to the room’s projector. Students had the option to play before an audience or more privately on the provided computers.

This version of the Pac-Man game differed from the classic game in that, as Romero explains, “It comes with new features. So, in this game, a Red Bull can pops up and if your Pac-Man eats the can it enhances its speed. Not only do you go faster, but there are also more opportunities to eat the other characters. The focus of the game is to rack up as many points as you can before dying.”

The event was inclusive of gamers and viewers alike. Students from the UCI campus were invited to drop-in, hang out, eat, drink, watch and/or play.  Participants weren’t required to remain present for the whole event, they could come to play, log in their scores, leave, and monitor the progress of the game through the mobile Pac-Man app. If a player’s online score was surpassed, players were invited to log in online through any computer and defend their title. Scores from around the nation are recorded on the official online scoreboard. Following the conclusion of the tournament, the top 48 high scorers will be invited to play at a championship game scheduled to take place on Dec. 29 in San Diego.  

Incentivized by the night’s grand prize of a 2001 Gameboy advanced gaming system, and the tournament grand prize of Red Bull themed Pac-Man arcade machine, an estimated fifty players attended the UCI Pac-Man tournament. The first half of the night was dominated by second-year Chinenye Ogbuchiekwe, who lead with a score of 80,840 which was later topped by third-year Julian Davila who concluded the event undefeated with a score of 137,397.

The online tournament is an open invite to all. Anyone interested in playing need only purchase a limited edition Pac-Man Red Bull can, note the code listed on the can, and enter it in the Pac-Man app. Players are then redirected to the official online Pac-Man arena, where a player can play the game and build their high score.

According to Romero, Red Bull excels in promoting their products in fun and interactive ways. “In terms of future Red Bull events, Red Bull is looking to host an escape room challenge here at UC Irvine,” she says. “Participants will be able to register in groups of four. This event will take place around Dec. 7.”