Ponderance

(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Sunday, May 02, 2004
Pac-Manhattan: Coolest. Game. Ever.


In film adaptations, tv shows, novels and bizzare dreams, the idea of getting a videogame out of a computer has fascinated a lot of people. Now New York University graduate students are experimenting with real-world Pac-Man in the Manhattan streets. Their blurb:
Pac-Manhattan is a large-scale urban game that utilizes the New York City grid to recreate the 1980's video game sensation Pac-Man. This analog version of Pac-man is being developed in NYU's Interactive Telecommunications graduate program, in order to explore what happens when games are removed from their "little world" of tabletops, televisions and computers and placed in the larger "real world" of street corners, and cities. A player dressed as Pac-man will run around the Washington square park area of Manhattan while attempting to collect all of the virtual "dots" that run the length of the streets. Four players dressed as the ghosts Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde will attempt to catch Pac-man before all of the dots are collected. Using Global Positioning, WIFI internet connections, cell phones and custom software designed by the Pac-Manhattan team, Pac-man and the ghosts will be tracked from a central location and their progress will be broadcast over the internet for viewers from around the world.
Half of my reaction to this is a genuine interest in the theories behind videogames taking to the more material streets of the world. Indeed, I suspect after my PhD, the emerging field of ludology (computer game study which doesn't take narrative as its core) will be on my list of projects to explore. However, my strongest reaction is a deep desire to get on a plane and go play Pac-Manhattan realtime! This is *so kewl*! :)

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