If you’ve played a video game in the past 40 years, odds are you’ve heard of Tokyo-based BANDAI NAMCO Entertainment. Home of the iconic Pac-Man, Tekken, Soulcalibur, and Dragon Ball Z video game franchises, BANDAI NAMCO isn’t just the third-largest game company in Japan, they are also one of the most globally trusted brands in gaming.
Recently, these early video game arcade and console-era pioneers announced plans to partner with Panasonic to bring ten of their fan-favorite retro video game titles, including Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga to airline in-flight entertainment (IFE) systems worldwide.
Veteran BANDAI NAMCO video game producer Hidetoshi Sato sat down with Panasonic Avionics to share his thoughts on the partnership, BANDAI’s long-standing mission to supply “more fun for everyone,” and the timeless appeal of retro video games in the internet era.
Panasonic Avionics: Over the years, BANDAI NAMCO has earned a reputation as one of the most innovative video game brands in the industry. You’ve been with the company for 16 years now. What do you think it is that sets you guys apart from the pack?
Hidetoshi Sato: I think what sets us apart from other video game publishers is the diversity of games we offer. Over the years we have published many games, ranging from retro arcade games to our very own in-house intellectual property (IP) fighting, racing, and role-playing games (RPG). We also publish a wide variety of games using licensed IP from popular anime and manga.
Panasonic Avionics: Talk to us about BANDAI NAMCO’s mission statement: “more fun for everyone.” What does that mean to you, and how does it inform your work?
Hidetoshi Sato: We believe that video games are not simply sources of entertainment, but rather experiences that enrich our daily lives. At BANDAI NAMCO we are constantly striving to find new ways to provide our fans with these experiences. Regardless of who they are or where they live, our games are meant to be fun for everyone.
Panasonic Avionics: There seems to be an enduring affection for games from the so-called “golden age of arcade and console video games” — particularly titles like Pac-Man, and the Mario and Zelda franchises. Their aesthetic also influences music, movies, TV, and fashion. Why do you think retro gaming still resonates with fans all these years later?
Hidetoshi Sato: I believe that the popularity of retro games exists to this day because, unlike today where we can find a wide variety of ways to entertain ourselves, there weren’t as many options back in the day. Video games were new and exciting and the experience of playing video games for the first time really lingers in the memories of fans as an unforgettable experience.
Aside from nostalgia, I think the simple yet charming design of retro games is another thing that makes them so timeless and appealing.
Panasonic Avionics: Talk to us about the demographics a bit. Retro video games continue to be hugely popular with Gen X gamers, but how do your classic titles perform across other demographics?
Hidetoshi Sato: Our retro video game titles have proven to be popular with gamers of all ages, from older fans who have fond memories of playing the games as kids to younger audiences who enjoy the fun, simple, user-friendly design of the older games.
Panasonic Avionics: Video games have been offered in-flight for years, but this is the first time an entire suite of A-list retro titles like Pac-Man, Dig Dug, and Galaga will be found in one place. Why did you pursue this partnership, and how will it help airlines differentiate their brands?
Hidetoshi Sato: We provide video games and content on a wide variety of platforms but in-flight entertainment was uncharted territory for us. So, we decided to partner with the leading platformer in the industry, which is Panasonic Avionics.
Because retro video games are so quick, simple, and enjoyable to play, they also seemed like a great way to pass the time on a long-haul flight and a perfect match for IFE. We also believe that the experience of being able to choose and play from a wide selection of classic retro video games, and share that experience with family and friends, will greatly enrich the in-flight experience for everyone.
Panasonic Avionics: In other words, more fun for everyone, even on an airplane?
Hidetoshi Sato: Exactly!
For more information on Panasonic Avionics’ recently-launched partnership with BANDAI NAMCO, please click here.