kottke.org posts about Pac-Man

Pac-Man 256Aug 24 2015

From the developer of Crossy Road (aka Infinite Frogger) comes Pac-Man 256, a Pac-Man game with an infinite board that gets eaten from below by the kill screen glitch from the 256th level of the original game. I love riffs on old school video games like this, and the infinite board is a particularly clever one.1 Here's what the gameplay looks like:

I'm sure everyone is used to this by now (which is sad) but be warned that Pac-Man 256 is one of those games that encourages you to watch ads to level up more quickly or to continue when you're out of credits...and then to buy more credits as an IAP when you're out of ads to watch. There's an option to buy unlimited credits for $7.99, but still. I understand the economics of the situation and why they do it this way, but it just feels so hostile to the player. I want to wholeheartedly recommend this game because the gameplay is so fun, but it feels like you're constantly wading through a little bit of raw sewage to play it. Which, apparently I don't mind doing, wading through sewage. :(

Update: Echoing several similar comments on Twitter, John Gruber writes:

Unlike Kottke, I think the option to buy unlimited "credits" with a one-time $7.99 in-app purchase is a fair deal. Think of it as an $8 game that you can optionally play for free if you're willing to watch ads. That's a good price for a great game.

$8 is a more than fair price. But the option to buy unlimited credits is difficult to find in the game (you need to run out of credits first and then click the "Play" button anyway) and it doesn't tell you exactly what you're getting for your $8. What I want is never to see an ad ever in the game, but I don't actually think that's what it is. Paying full price for a game shouldn't involve hide n' seek.

But the bigger issue for me is how the game, and many many others in the App Store, feels: icky. Like used car salesman icky. Drug dealer icky. Depressing casino icky. The way the game presents itself, the developers seemingly want one thing: your money. Do they want me to have a good time playing the game? Eh, maybe? I don't know, it just seems really cynical to me, like a game built by a bank instead of people that love gaming or Pac-Man.

I really *really* wish the App Store had a trial period option available for apps. 20 minutes into Pac-Man 256 and I would have ponied up $8-10, no problem. I suspect App Store users would love this feature but game developers would hate it because using ads and casino tactics to upsell in your app makes a lot more money than straight sales.

  1. Hey Nintendo, can you make an infinite version of Mario Kart? Pretty please? It would be like Mad Max: Crossy Road or something.

Play Pac-Man in Google MapsMar 31 2015

Ok, April Fools' is still idiotic, but this is pretty cool: you can play Pac-Man in any neighborhood on Google Maps.

Pac-Man Google Maps

NYC's West Village is a fun place to play. See also Pac-Manhattan, a real-life game of Pac-Man played on the streets of Manhattan in 2004 by a group of ITP students, including Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley.

Pac-Man hiding spotMar 24 2012

Did you know there's a place on Pac-Man where you can hide for a bit and the ghosts won't touch you? I guess I haven't been playing too much Pac-Man lately, but I'd never heard about this. Look, if you've heard about it, keep it to yourself, thank you very much. It's Saturday night, why are you arguing with a blog post about Pac-Man? Lay off.

There are also patterns you can use on each level to easily achieve victory (check out that link for an example of Geocities chic).

(via Interesting)

World's largest game of Pac-ManApr 14 2011

This is kind of amazing: a nearly neverending Pac-Man maze constructed by the players.

Big Pac Man

You pick a starting maze and instead of the exits taking you to the opposite site of the current maze, it takes you to an adjacent maze. (via @davidfg)

The metaphysics of Pac-ManSep 10 2010

This profile of Billy Mitchell and other classic video game record holders starts off as most do, with descriptions of Mitchell's hair, the dizzying scores, the rivalries, and Mitchell's perfect game of Pac-Man:

Another player named Rick Fothergill had almost beaten Billy to the mark, but he fell short by nine dots, or 90 points. Fothergill is Canadian, and his challenge made Billy redouble his efforts, because Billy thinks of his Pac-Man prowess as a patriotic symbol, a matter of national pride not unlike like the space race. Billy was so determined to beat Canada that he forgot to eat for several days. He had set out on his quest July 1 -- Canada Day -- and eventually executed 30,000 precisely calculated turns for a perfect run just in time to celebrate America's own Day of Independence on July 4. "It's like Neil Armstrong walking on the moon," he told reporters afterward. "No matter how many people accomplish the feat, it will always be Armstrong who will be remembered for doing it first. And, best of all, it was an American." To emphasize the point, Billy began using a new set of high-score initials: U S A.

But then, it starts to get deep. This is a great piece and not just for gamers. (thx, @asimone)

Original Pac-Man sketchesJun 23 2010

Toru Iwatani recently showed his original sketches for Pac-Man at a Dutch gaming festival.

Pac-Man sketches

Tags related to Pac-Man:
video games

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