Bandai Namco is working with another company called Hipster Whale to re-create a 35th anniversary of the game that is known as Pac-Man 256. Yes, it is difficult to believe that Pac-man is that old, and the game that consisted of a...Pac-Man gobbling dots and being chased by ghosts really shook the world back in the early eighties, helping to establish the arcade business that eventually became the huge video game industry today.
The reason why the anniversary game is called Pac-Man 256 is a reference to the famed Map 256 glitch. If you are not familiar with that, Pac-man Wikia describes it as the "kill screen" or "split-screen level". This happens when you reach level (or map) 256 in the game, and a very noticeable glitch occurs. The enter right hand side of the screen turns into a jumbled mess of numbers and letters, while the left side remains normal. A similar effect happens in the spin-off games of Ms. Pac-Man and Jr. Pac-Man.
The reason for the famed Map 256 glitch has to do with the level counter in the original Pac-man game that was stored as an 8-bit integer, which meant that the highest value it could hold was 255. A bug in the game's programming caused it to "roll-over" to 256, and the game attempted to draw 256 fruit (a bonus element in the game) on the screen at once.
The thing about the Map 256 glitch is that it is impossible to beat. Assuming that you could go through and eat all the dots on the level, you would never advance to the next one, as the game isn't programmed to advance you that way. Instead, the game advances the player after he or she eats 244 Pac-dots, the usual amount in the maze. On map 256, there are only 131 dots, 122 on the left side and a mere 9 on the right.
The Pac-Man 256 game celebrates the glitch and makes it into its own Pac-Man game. From what it looks like, Bandai/Namco and Hipster Whale have essentially designed it to be this endless maze running game which can be played for as long as the user can stand it, gobbling up as many dots as possible.
Hipster Whale, the collaborator for this game, is probably a familiar name to those who love mobile games. They are the ones that designed the popular game Crossy Road. In that game, the player has to guide their animal character across a busy road by tapping and swiping on the touchscreen.
No doubt Hipster Whale (as well as Bandai/Namco) are hoping to have another great game on their hands with Pac-Man 256. It should be available on smartphones and tablets this summer for a free-to-play price.