Who's the best Pac-Man player of all time? That would almost certainly be Billy Mitchell, who in 1999 played the world's first perfect game of Pac-Man, eating every fruit, all four ghosts with every power pellet and beating all 256 levels of the game without losing a life.
While Mitchell has essentially secured his status as "best ever," the title of "Best Pac-Man player on the Xbox 360 Live Arcade" is not so undisputed. To determine who can lay claim to that title, Microsoft and Namco Bandai have announced the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship (presented by Quiznos). The best-scoring players from seven regions around the world (as well as one particularly rabid Pac-fan) will be flown to New York City for a final showdown, with the eventual champion to be crowned by Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani.
Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Japan, and Mexico will each get to send its top-scoring player to the event, as determined by the Xbox Live leaderboards (existing leaderboard scores will be deleted before the contest begins "to provide a clean and fair slate for all gamers"). Europe and the US will each get to send two finalists. A dearth of talent can be partly made up by an abundance of heart, as the winner of a contest challenging residents of the US and Canada to submit videos showing why they're the biggest Pac-Man fan of all will round out the field as the 10th finalist.
Microsoft is looking to fuel the Pac-Mania by releasing episodes of the early 1980s Pac-Man cartoon on the Xbox Live Video Marketplace. In addition to giving Pac-Man arms, legs, and a fedora, the TV show also served as the visual inspiration for the Pac-Land arcade game. Each episode will cost 160 Microsoft points ($2).
The Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship leaderboard competition starts April 25 and runs through May 9. The finals in New York will take place June 5. The winner will receive one free Quiznos sandwich a week for 26 years, 100,000 Microsoft Points, and a one-of-a-kind Xbox 360 designed with a Pac-Man theme. To compete, players must register on the official Xbox Live tournament Web site starting April 24 at 5 p.m. PDT.