KHftCEA 1997-12.3 December

"I think I love you, Ms. Pac-Man. 2005.03.14 pac-man fever. it's driving me, driving me, driving me crazy.

pac-man fever. it's driving me, driving me, driving me crazy. 2007.06.26 pac-man and the bailiff of the chiltern hundreds

pac-man and the bailiff of the chiltern hundreds 2007.11.13 pac-manners

pac-manners 2011.08.29 pac-man revenge

pac-man revenge


children. For instance, if Pac-man affected kids born


<a href="">in praise of Pac-Man</a>. I always thought that the overall look and sound of that game have held up really well over the years, not to mention the gameplay (I think the secret is the surprisingly complex behavior of the ghosts). The image to the left is a tiling Pac-Man wallpaper <a href="">I made at tilemachine</a>, one of a series of classic-game-themed can right click and set it as your wallpaper if you're feeling masochistic.


experience it as the Pac-Man does, and increase the resolution to allow us

to read as much into each pixel as the Pac-Man must, we would not see the

Pac-Man a very specific and distinct joy or sorrow. The dots all rack up


<a href="">gallery at tilemachine</a> (each is a 3x3 version of the thing I actually made.) The last two are video games, Pac-Man and Zaxxon, respectively.


<IMG SRC="/journal.aux/2003.10.27.pacman.gif" width="36" height="30" align="left"><a href="">The Sound of Eating</a> is a guide to the Pac-Man universe. Well, mostly just the arcade games (not the cartoon and all of that.) The <a href="">Ghost Psychology</a> page was one of the more interesting ones; amazing how much thought went into the personalities of those ghosts. I wonder how much that aided the popularity of the game, I've played some clones that I'm pretty sure had less complex ghost psychology and I don't think I notice a difference while playing.

The <a href="">First Church of Pac-Man</a> may also be worth a browse through, seems to all be on one page for easy scrollability.

If you're really intereted in this stuff, you can always see some <a href="/scripts/searchblog.cgi?search=pac-man">previous Pac entries</a> here on kisrael.


Ms. Pac-Man. <br>

Anyway, I ment Ms. Pac-Man at that paper store


<li><IMG SRC="/journal.aux/2004.01.05.ghostpac.jpg" width="250" height="199" align="right">That's a painting from <a href="">Jim Davies: Pac-Man Art</a> page. You should click and read to find out the philisophical depth of it. (Reminds me a bit of the passage I quoted in <a href="">this review of the book "Lucky Wander Boy"</a>.)


<a href="">Pac-Mondrian</a>...a very clever mashup, I didn't realize the whole Pac-thing would be quite so robust, though it's not quite as playable as normal Pac-Man.


Toru Iwatari, inventor of Pac-Man

I didn't spend very long on it, but I guess it shows why I'm a developer and not a designer. Of course, at NECG, we emphasize Pac-Man's fondness of drink over that of food...<A href="">this is the original version</a>, and of course mine was meant as a replacement for (and borrowed from) <a href="">this version</a>...maybe I should've spent more time duplicating the shading...shading is one thing I've never been good at, but that one looks like it has a style that would be easy to emulate.


Pac-Man Vs<br>


<a href="">Atari CX40 joystick</a>, headphones, and 2 buttons (one "illusion" the other "elusion"). The TVs switch between Pitfall!, Frogger, Pac-Man, and this old black and white video from the 50s or something. The "illusion" button seems to act as a reset for the game, and the "elusion" seems to switch to the video, and also sometimes the TVs seem to switch of their own accord. The reception was really terrible on some of the TVs, it wasn't clear if this was on purpose or not.

So, that was pretty much it. I suppose people's reaction to the work will have hinge on how they feel about modern and interactive art in general. (I generally like interactive art just so long as the viewer can actually tell that the work is responding to them and not just noodling along on its own.) Personally, I think "Art is what you can get away with", and this was reasonably interesting and visually pleasing, so I thought it was pretty good over all. On the other hand, it wasn't engrossing for that long...and of course some of the appeal was just playing a bit of Pitfall and Pac-Man, which I hadn't for a while. (And I probably have much more recently than most of the intended audience.) I suppose that ties into the theme of "technological tourism", the simple nostalgic pleasure of these old games. I think the whole 2D iconic representation of the games is a rich territory that Kirk Jalbert downplays in favor of the "it's just nostalgia" vibe. Also, the title "illusion/elusion" is pretentious as all hell...


These should allow for some unique and distinctive gameplay forms, ones that might have an appeal to a huge swath of gamers. Nintendo is fighting against the "elitism" of games (described by Raph Koster in his "Theory of Fun" book) where game designers start catering to their hardcore fan-base 'til finally the barriers to entry are surprisingly high. Anyone could step-up to Pac-Man or Space Invaders and start interacting, but not so much for, say, Halo or Mario Sunshine. It's a gamble, but it's refreshing--especially since Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3 seem geared around "more of the same, but prettier."


--Speaking of animated GIFs, I've always admired <a href="">Nick B's LJ</a> avatar, that he assembled himself from the game <a href="">Pac-Mania</a>.


<img src="/journal.aux/2007.06.26.pacskull.jpg" width="187" height="250" align="left">Pac-Man skeleton, conceived by

Evil B. has taken a strong liking to a new Pac-Man variant, Pac-Man Championship Edition, currently only available as a download on Xbox 360's Live service. Pac

<a href="">Penny Arcade</a> had high praise for it, as did <a href="">dessgeega</a>. Pac-Man creator Toru Iwatani was on the team for it, and it shows.

At first blush it looks like a slightly sexed-up version of good old Pac-Man, but widescreen (heh, sort of reminds me of the terrible 2600 version's layout.) There are some cool subtle lighting effects and a good soundtrack. The gameplay is still eating dots, but rather than having to clear a full board, you clear a small set and eat an item, and then more dots appear on the other side of the maze. The action never lets up... even when Pac-Man dies, he re-appears in the same location in a few moments, but the whole game is capped to be a five minute experience.

It didn't really grab me by the hindbrain, but it got Evil B, with his superior old school Pac-Man mojo and desire to tackle specific challenges. (They allow you to chain powerpellets, so that you get incresed multipliers for 8, 12, or 16 ghosts, rather than than just the 4 in the original.) It took me a while to realize that entire halves of the board were being redrawn, not just repopulated with pellets. (Some of the extra modes really throw in some interesting explorations what you can do with a Pac-Man maze, from something like a grid to long straight lines like subway tunnels.)


"So are you going to play some <a href="">Pac-Man CE</a>?"


Not the most legible, but hey. Kind of looks like the old Pac-Man font.


--"If Pac-Man Were Real", a larger, animated GIF I <a href="">saw at AtariAge</a>


I always like behind-the-scenes type sketches like these. The first is showing how the image of Pac-Man evolved from the Japanese word for mouth (along with the old "he took a slice from a pizza, and there was Pac-man" story,) the second is why they didn't add eyes to Pac-Man (then they'd want to add glasses, maybe a mustache, etc -- though some bootleggers did just that with the game that became Ms.Pac-Man) as well as how friendly the ghost monsters are, relatively speaking,


A few days ago I posted some <a href="/2007/11/13/">Pac-Man sketch banners</a> that I put together for Gamers Quarter... here are some I made a while back, from an Atari catalog, some Atari Force comic books, and the manual for <i>Centipede</i>. The cropping was really kind of difficult, but fun. (Click for full size.)


<br>Retro videogame store. I enjoyed the Pac-Man ghost wearing Mario's hat.


the pac-man: (<a href="">atariage</a>)


<a href="">katwinx</a> no direct link alas but <a href=""></a> - click on green pac-man box and then "the dancer". That's all I see with these guys.


<font>Pac-Man Ends</font>

So don't take it as "Get a life!" when I say there's nothing special about the games themselves. Like books, they only have the power we give them. Pac-Man has a bug. It's not even an Easter Egg. There's nothing to unlock. The kill screen is not in the realm of the meant. If you spend years mastering Pac-Man and prefer it to Ms. Pac-Man because it's totally deterministic, why get mystical about the way it crashes at the end? This is real life, not <i>Lucky Wander Boy.</i>

(also for people who might not know Lucky Wander Boy, I quoted a bit from the Pac-Man meditation here: <a href=""></a> )

The Pac-Man kill screen feels like... I dunno, like coming to the edge of the Matrix, of sailing to the place on the map where "There Be Dragons".

"The kill screen is not in the realm of the meant." - absolutely! You seem to be conflating found, interpreted meaning with authorial intent. The microcosm collapsing because of programmer oversight, as the natural product of code that otherwise seems fine, sturdy, and lovely, seems to have a potential for profundity that, say, a reward intermission screen showing Pac-Man winging off to the beyond, would never have. (Or for that matter, a patch either locking in level 255 forever, or looping back to cherries.)

Heck, even the patterns that let these players get to that point are in some ways transcendent... I've read about the surprising depth of personality used for the Pac-Man monsters, and it's a byproduct of that determinism that allows for this almost meta-game of perfect score plotting... have you ever seen a perfect play video? It's all about waiting in certain spots 'til the ghost waves finally coalesce and then pouncing... not very fun to watch or do, except in a meta-sense, and certainly not what was "meant" by the programmers.


The photographic negative of <a href="">Boston's radar map</a> weather from <a href=""></a> looks a bit like Pac-Man about to eat Boston...


Did the guy who made the sideart for the original Pac-Man arcade game actually play the game? Maybe he assumed was too primitive for "legs"?


"In this modern age video games and TV get us to a trance state that used to be the domain of religion. That Pac-Man CE I played this morning was a prayer."


and How Pac-Man Reacts to Different Pepsi Logos:<br><br>


<a href=""></a> - news of the old, insects stepping in as the ghosts in Pac-Man


<a href=""></a> -Programmers at Work, continues, organically - original book is a gem, worth it for the <a href="/2007/11/13">Pac-Man inventor Toru Iwatani</a> alone!


Google's playable Happy-Birthday Pac-Man tribute today is brilliant.


Somehow the way "Super Pac-Man" transcends the maze a bit with the title character bigger than the tunnels still blows my mind.


<a href="">Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior</a> - I am humbled by the nuance of Pac-Man's AI (not to mention the A/V!)


Played "Pac-Man Party". Is it so hard for party game devs to get "Time watching boardgame BS to playing minigames" ratio right? <br>


-Miller's Google plus feed had this "Pac-Man The Movie [Fan Film]" perfect for the first day of Pax East!


SMBC has the <a href="">most amazing deconstruction of Pac-Man</a> I've ever seen.


Rob Fulco on Pac-Man and related games.


<a href=""></a> - Gruber on the simplicity of Pac-Man, the Early Mac, and iOS. A little long (I wish Vimeo had the same "1.5x speed" option Youtube sports) so: Pac-Man = iOS, Android = Mr. Do, and simplicity is awesome.


<li><a href="">DJ White Shadow vs. PacMan(tm)</a> (DJ White Shadow) The 90s called... and they were with their friend the 80s. Came from a Bud Light commercial. Pac-Man is in the air lately...


But there's also overwrought gameplay advice prose like this for Pac-Man:

Other shots had distinctive tells, like the wall-eyed enemies in its take on Pac-Man:<br>

Actually, Pac-Man is especially jolting because he (semi-charmingly) calls the <i>enemies</i> "The PacMen" and the player's character "The Lemon", or more specifically "the dot-munching Lemon that goes whackawhackawhackawhacka". (To be fair, there has long been some confusion if the enemies are "monsters", "ghosts" or "ghost monsters".)


Had a small shindig, an unbirthday-ish thing... Melissa bought Pac-Man cupcakes which Chasity + Karen's lil girl Cora seemed to dig very much<br>


On a whim I bought the MP3 "Froggy's Lament", the second track from Bucker + Garcia's infamous <a href="">"Pac-Man Fever" album</a> Haven't heard it much since I had the LP as a kid, but it stuck with me.<br>


<a href="">Pac-Man: The Untold Story of How We Really Played the Game</a> - intriguing description of how generations of right-hand Pac-Man players clutching the left side for leverage leaves its mark on the old upright cabinets (Thanks Nick B)

Interesting how Pac-Man, which like Q*bert was button free, was ambidextrous. Nintendo famously put the crosspad under the left thumb, which may have heralded a switch in games away from being focused on rough movement and towards precision timing. (Continued with the WASD/mouselook arrangement favored by PC gamers- something I've never quite gotten into my skin.)


<li><a style="color:red;" href="">Pac-Man Fever (Eat 'em Up) 2015 (feat. Jace Hall)</a> (Buckner & Garcia) I guess as a tie-in to Wreck-It-Ralph they remade this song, and added a guest rapper ghost which I like a LOT (especially when he's talking about "suckers get served like pork chop sammiches" while the overlay track has him going "nom nom nom nom nom nom")


Happy 40th Birthday Pac-Man! <br>


Jr. Pac-Man,

Ms. Pac-Man,


<li>Ms. Pac-Man


I learned my favorite Atari artist was Hiro Kimura. Probably the best find of the book's author was this unused art for Pac-Man- I just love the weight of the ghost monster concept.<br>


I did the Pac-Man and Simon game (the coworker is a gamer, and the baby's name is Simon...) the last one is our team logo


You know it's funny... I'd like to be a better blanket snob but I lack the vocabulary to describe what I like! Growing up I lazily used sleeping bags on my bed (I especially remember this <a href="">Pac-Man one I got as an 80s kid</a> - terrible fabric and a really bad smell out of the package, but man was it awesome) and later had pretty typical synthetic comforters. <br>


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