Following brick-built versions of the original NES game console and the iconic Atari 2600, Lego has now recreated one of the most popular arcade games of all time with its new 2,650-piece 1980 Pac-Man arcade cabinet set. Thanks to some clever engineering, this set even finds Pac-Man getting chased around the screen by Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Clyde.
Although 2022’s Lego Atari 2600 was mostly a collectible display piece that focused on the console, a handful of game cartridges, and a few hidden Easter eggs, Lego’s Nintendo Entertainment System went above and beyond the call of duty with the inclusion of a buildable TV on which the first level of Super Mario Bros. could scroll by. For its Pac-Man arcade machine, Lego is delivering the same level of detail and interactivity, which will undoubtedly have you making that “waka waka waka” sound effect every time you play with it.
A Pac-Man Lego set for your desk
Although they rarely reflected the gameplay and graphics of the actual game, the cabinets that filled arcades in the ‘80s were adorned with eye-catching artwork in an attempt to convince patrons to pump them full of quarters. Lego’s Pac-Man Arcade Machine arrives at a much smaller scale than the cabinets that invaded America in 1980 (and it’s also missing its bottom half), but it features the same classic artwork on the sides and the marquee. Let’s just hope those are pre-printed and not stickers.
Inside the Lego Pac-Man Arcade Machine
Although Lego hasn’t gone into much detail about how the Pac-Man Arcade Machine actually works, a removable panel on the back provides a peek inside. The set appears to be a fun mix of both classic brick building and more complex Technic engineering, and while out of the box it’s powered using a hand crank on the side, the mechanism can probably be easily adapted to work with a Lego electric motor and a battery pack.
How the Pac-Man Lego set trades pixels for studs
Unlike Lego’s buildable Nintendo Entertainment System console from a few years ago, which used a clever rolling treadmill system to recreate the side-scrolling action of the game on a small TV, a closer look at the Pac-Man Arcade Machine’s “screen” reveals Pac-Man, Inky, Pinky, and Blinky moving around the maze using a Lego chain drive that snakes its way along a twisting path. And although Clyde appears to remain safe in the middle of the screen, we’re assuming the positions of all the characters can be easily changed.
Super-sized Pac-Man, Blinky, and Clyde
Lego’s included a few fun accessories with this set, including a display base with larger 3D versions of Pac-Man, Blinky, and Clyde. It can be mounted atop the arcade machine, but doesn’t interface with its mechanisms at all. Instead, turning a small dial on the back of this diorama spins all three characters around so that Pac-Man chases blue ghost versions of his pursuers.
A glowing coin slot, but the game’s free to play
Pressing the ‘Start Game’ button turns on a battery-powered Lego light brick that illuminates a glowing coin slot on the front Pac-Man Arcade Machine, but it doesn’t actually accept any coins. You can play again and again and again without ever having to ask your parents for their pocket change.
Do you know what this Pac-Man score means?
A geared wheel allows the current score to be set to a handful of different numbers, but the machine’s high score remains permanently locked to 16,440: a number you’ll find on countless pieces of Pac-Man merchandise. Does anyone know the significance? (The perfect score for stage one of the game is 14,800.)
A Pac-Man Lego set hidden inside
Hidden inside the Pac-Man Arcade Machine, and revealed by removing its back panel, is a buildable vignette featuring a Lego minifigure playing an even smaller Pac-Man cabinet in a retro arcade setting. It’s removable, however, so you can display it outside the Pac-Man machine if you’d rather it not remain a hidden secret.
The 2,650-piece Lego Pac-Man Arcade Machine Set will officially be available later this week. It will cost $399.99
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