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Pac-Man chomps at 3D TV

Avi Arad shows trailer for new show at E3

Avi Arad wants to bring Pac-Man back to television — and he wants to do it in 3D.

Arad, former CEO of Marvel Studios and now executive adviser for Namco Bandai, showed a three-minute teaser of his vision for the new Pac-Man at an E3 event celebrating the pellet chomper’s 30th birthday.

Pac-Man was the star of a Saturday morning cartoon in the 1980s (in the thick of the nation’s obsession with the game). Arad, though, hopes to use computer animation and advances in stereoscopic 3D to create a show that speaks to teenagers and tells the story of a hero who doesn’t know his own strengths.

“We wanted to keep Pac-Man the same lovable guy he has always been, but (put him) in the 21st century,” Arad said. “We (also) wanted to talk about real stories and … see how they can relate to our lives, being in high school and being a teenager. At the end of the day, it’s the story of a reluctant hero.”

The plot centers around ghosts who are trying to overtake Pac-Man’s world. It’s up to Pac-Man, who’s a high school student, to save the world. In this mission, he’ll be assisted by his Pac-friends and four friendly ghosts — Pinky, Inky, Blinky and Clyde (who were the little guy’s archenemies in the original arcade game).Arad said he has not yet approached studios and distributors with the idea, since he and Namco wanted to unveil it at the celebratory event — and both parties wanted the 3D in the trailer to be done right before showing it to potential TV partners.

“We feel we have a unique opportunity to have an action adventure, human interest story,” Arad said. “As a filmmaker, it’s a unique opportunity to get to know the characters you play. … We don’t know what happened to Pac-Man’s parents. He’s the only yellow one in Pac-Land; what does that mean? Is it a social statement? We’ll find out.”

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