First announced at the Tokyo Game Show, Microsoft has just released the details of their first-ever Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Championship. In short, beginning next Wednesday, April 25th, the Xbox Live Arcade Pac-Man leaderboards will be erased to provide a clean slate for the tournament. On that date, at 12:01am GMT gamers can visit www.xboxlivetournament.com to register and review rules before they start playing. The top nine players will be flown to New York City for the finals on June 5, with the winner being crowned the Xbox 360 Pac-Man World Champion by series creator, Toru Iwatani. (We suspect they've already got a crown pre-sized for Billy Mitchell.)
During a phone briefing with Microsoft's Jeff Bell, corporate vice president of Global Marketing, we asked about the Xbox 360's oft-maligned D-pad. Repeatedly. While Mr. Bell didn't seem to be as acutely aware of the D-pad's tragic shortcomings as many of us are, he did make it clear that, regardless of what controller you use to make it to the championship (MadCatz XBLA stick, perhaps), once there you'll be required to use the Xbox 360 gamepad. If you don't have the gaming chops -- or if that D-pad precludes any you may have had -- don't worry. There's one last chance for you to make it to the finals in New York City: the Pac-Man FANatic contest.