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Pac-Man themed restaurant coming to Chicago

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Namco Entertainment will open a Pac-Man themed restaurant near Chicago's Woodfield Mall. In January, the 40,000 square foot facility, named Level 257 in reference to the famous final "killscreen" level in the original Pac-Man game, will open in a former warehouse space owned by Sears.

The website for Level 257 cheekily reads "Noming soon... to Chicagoland early 2015." The site lists a Facebook as well as a Tumblr account and a mailing list. They are now hiring.

"Level 257 seeks to explore Pac-Man’s impact upon our society and pop culture," reads the Tumblr, "reminding us all of the importance of play in our lives, while facilitating our desire to relive those times when beating the next level was the most important thing in our world. All while indulging that which we love now — great food and drink with our friends and family."

The restaurant, first announced in 2013, is described as "high-end" with 180 seats, bars, lounges and "giant red leather booths and a separate sports bar... 16 retro-styled bowling lanes... table tennis, pinball machines and our Lost & Found games parlor with original arcades alongside exciting new titles, plus custom-built game tables and free-to-play board games."

Chicago has recently seen a small boom in video game themed "barcades." Among them are The Emporium, Headquarters Beercade with two locations and the more broadly themed Geek Bar Chicago.

The next level of puzzles.

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