Games are among the widely consumed forms of entertainment. Mainly, computer games and consoles have populated the gaming ream, to the extent that almost everyone is familiar with at least one digital game. The gaming world has changed rapidly over time due to technological evolution. Some changes include the interface and intelligence of games. While some old games such as Deathchase (1983)and Aliens (1986) lost popularity amid the evolution, Pac Man (1980) has maintained a significant fandom throughout the world. From research and hands-on play on Pac Man (1980), one appreciates that the game uses simple resources to maintains a player’s psyche on playing, which is a typical fashion for social success.
Software engineers developed Pac Man (1980) at a Japanese based firm, Namco. It was a project of a 24-year-old employee who worked on it for one year before he got help from eight other colleagues. Then, the game was called packman, but the name changed to Puc Man to suit global sales (Kent 142). The success of the game led to the development of other sequels such as Ms. Pac Man, Pac Man plus, Super Pac Man, Baby PacPam, and others. Besides, other companies developed clones of Pac-Man increasing number of puzzle arcade competitors. Such include Famicom Devil World (1984)and the Tari 8-bit family Jawbreaker (1993). However, Pac-Man recorded the highest revenue in sales of arcades summing up to $2.5 billion.
The Gaming Experience
Upon starting the game, a player finds a melancholy, dark, crisis sorts of chams from the game design and theme. Also, the game has a piece of ready-to-play music that sets the mood for an exciting game. The game is based on a single screen with the smart design of a maze, which is populated by 240 dots, and some fruits. Hence, the game is categorically under the maze genre. Pac Man, a yellow three-quarter circular avatar is the main character, who simulates a player. He is positioned at the lower part of the center screen. Besides, there are four ghosts, “Blinky (red), Inky (light blue), Pinky (pink), and Clyde (orange)” that pop from a ghost generator positioned at the lower center screen (Rosenberg 9). The goal is to move Pac Man throughout the maze, gobbling up all the dots, while avoiding attacks from the ghosts (Rosenberg 8). Pac Man may eat a ghost after swallowing power pellets.
However, if a ghost touches Pac Man, a life is lost, and losing all lives marks it a game over. There are exciting sounds made each time Pac Man munches, swallows a dot, easts a ghost, makes an extra earning, undergoes and intermission, or dies. A player moves Pac Man using the arrow keys of a keyboard or a game console joystick. Successful gobbling of all dots without devour by the ghosts marks completion of the game level. Next levels come on the initial screen and maze, but ghost speed and ability of Pac Man to swallow dots, fruits and eat ghosts keep changing, marking a difference in level difficulties. Cohen notes that the game a player keeps playing through various levels of difficulty up to the last level 225, which is called a perfect game (par. 13). Players gather points by gobbling the dots, and gain bonuses for chomping fruits and eating ghosts (Rosenberg 8). For a perfect game, total points earned sum up to 3, 333, 360 (Ramsey 2). The arcade nature of the game limit competition between more than one player, since Pac Man game players assume the role of the Pac Man, to challenge the ghosts.
Playing Pac Man is both fun and intense. Notably, the game entails two sets of activities; swallowing the dots, fruits, and ghosts, and avoiding loss of life to the ghosts chasing the Pac Man. Hence, during the game, a player’s heat races, palms sweat, and eyes twitch with immense foci on the game elements. However, the music in the game tends to ease the tension balancing the adrenaline and oxytocin hormones in the brain (Hébert et al. n.p). Unlike other games, Pac Man absorbs all of the player’s attention by demanding their attention; hence, players do not get bored. In that light, and with comparison by other maze arcade games such as Devil World, Pac-Man is the best of its kind. However, the unchanging maze layout is not attractive, and little tweaks could have made it better.
The Game In A Social Context
Pac Man players find themselves within a capitalist environment, where they must survive or die. Inarguably, the game feature struggles that are relatable to everyone on almost all walks of their life. As a recap, Pac Man is designed to be efficient, moving smoothly through the maze as well as purposeful, to garner as many points as possible (Rosenberg 8). The goal of a player is to critically identify the path that allows the gobbling of many dots and fruits and has minimal threats from the ghosts. As such, the human nature in a capitalist environment is such that they consume resources, make revenue, but ensuring minimal potential threats. The insatiable hunger for the dots emulates human nature in search of meaning or after goals. In other words, the desire for success. Pac Man spends his whole through a routine, within one maze. With time, the speed to collect points and resilience against ghosts also improves.
As mentioned above, such a scenario is analogous to human life, and Pac-Man is a typical fashion for social success such as in career and organization. That is, to earn garner success in career, business, leadership or other areas of life, one has to work continuously. Besides, it is crucial to proceed with diligence, critically reviewing possible paths to go through. That will ensure maximum collection of revenue, minimal use of resources and adversities.
The game communicates the success mantra clearly, though through passive training of the players’ minds. That is, one would have to critique their experience of playing the game and analyze it against living theory accounts, as has been done by researchers in the past. Besides, it is suitable in the maze genre, which is simple to play by diverse demography. In other words, it is simple to play by virtually everyone, yet fashioning their minds with resilience, focus, and thirst to gain more by expending less. That alone is a guarantee of social success (d’Andria et al. 11). Hence, it is appropriate to say that Pac Man communicates the possibility and nature of social success through the emulation of a person within a capitalist regime.
Cohen, D. S. “Why ‘Pac-Man’ The Most Important Video Game Of All Time”. Lifewire, 2019, https://www.lifewire.com/pac-man-video-game-729560. Internet Source
d’Andria, Aude et al. “Resilience And Effectuation For A Successful Business Takeover”. International Journal Of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research, vol 24, no. 7, 2018, pp. 1200-1221. Emerald, doi:10.1108/ijebr-11-2016-0367. Internet Source
Hébert, Sylvie et al. “Physiological Stress Response To Video-Game Playing: The Contribution Of Built-In Music”. Life Sciences, vol 76, no. 20, 2005, pp. 2371-2380. Elsevier BV, doi:10.1016/j.lfs.2004.11.011. Accessed 6 Dec 2019. Internet Source
Kent, Steve L. The Ultimate History Of Video Games. Prima, 2001. Print
Ramsey, David. “Oxford American.Com”. Web.Archive.Org, 2006, https://web.archive.org/web/20080229043301/http://www.oxfordamericanmag.com/content.cfm?ArticleID=58&Entry=Home. Internet Source
Rosenberg, Jennifer. “The Story Behind Pac-Man, A Super Popular Video Game Of The ’80S”. Thoughtco, 2019, https://www.thoughtco.com/pac-man-game-1779412. Internet Source
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