WMS to develop Pac-Man, Hollywood Squares slots

Jan 29, 2001 6:13 AM

It seems there’s no limit to the range of themes that can be applied to slot machines. WMS Gaming, which pioneered "arcade" style slot machines with its Monopoly series, announced it has secured the rights to produce two more games based on well-known icons.

The first is Pac Man, based on the wildly popular arcade game, which more or less set the standard in arcade games two decades ago.

"The addition of another phenomenally popular license with PAC-MAN further enhances WMS Gaming’s position as one of the top suppliers of popular participation games," said Brian R. Gamache, President and Chief Operating Officer of WMS Industries Inc. "PAC-MAN’s nostalgic appeal and status as a pop-culture icon advances our commitment to develop the most entertaining gaming products in the industry. Today’s 30-, 40- and 50-year-olds immediately recognize the familiar sights and sounds of PAC-MAN and we intend to embrace those nostalgic qualities that made the game a phenomenon and provide casino patrons with an entertaining and engaging gaming experience. All of WMS Gaming’s branded participation gaming machines are designed to create a higher level of player interaction which translates into longer time spent playing, and ultimately, greater revenues for casino operators."

PAC-MAN initially premiered in nightclubs and arcades in 1980, as a simple video game and subsequently exploded into a full-blown national past time. In the original arcade version of the game, players used controls on the game’s console to maneuver the yellow PAC-MAN character through a maze in an attempt to munch up all of the dots in his path while avoiding ghosts named Blinky, Pinky, Inky, and Clyde along the way. PAC-MAN is the best-selling coin-operated game in history. In the game’s debut year alone, over 100,000 PAC-MAN machines were made and sold around the world. Namco estimates the original PAC-MAN arcade title has been played more than 10 billion times in its 21-year history.

In order to re-create the full nostalgic appeal of PAC-MAN, WMS will develop games that are true to the original arcade versions.

WMS also announced last week that it has secured the rights to the "Hollywood Squares" TV game show, and will soon develop a machine based on it. The new machine will feature the likeness and voice of "center square" Whoopi Goldberg incorporated into the game design, and WMS anticipates submitting the game for regulatory approval within the next 12 months.

"The phenomenal popularity and branding of this blockbuster license further enhances WMS Gaming’s position as one of the top suppliers in the popular, growing participation market," Gamache said. "Hollywood Squares" extensive television presence and celebrity star power will translate into instant recognition by players and advances our commitment to develop the most entertaining gaming products in the industry."

Even the producers of the hit TV-game show was optimistic about the new match made in slot heaven.

"We have been impressed by the incredible innovation and expansion of gaming as an entertainment medium," said Ken Ross, Vice President and General Manager of CBS Consumer Products. "The product offerings have evolved to a new level from where they were just a few years ago. There’s so much more depth to today’s slots providing an excellent opportunity to further expand this renowned franchise and give players the experience of interacting with our brand.

"We are thrilled to have WMS Gaming create a version of our show in a slot machine."

We have seen what they’ve done for other franchises and are enthusiastic about the potential to reach fans both old and new of Hollywood Squares."