Google Turns its Maps into Pac-Man Game You Can Play

Best mash-up ever: Pac-Man invades Google Maps.

Don't go out into the street. A hungry yellow monster is roaming your neighborhood. If you look anything like a fat white dot (and spending eons behind your computer screen will do that to you), he'll eat you. Unless Inky, Blinky, Pinky or Clyde get to him first.


Yes, that's right: Pac-Man is running amuck in your hometown. Or in any town of your choosing. As long as you look it up on Google Maps. Just make sure to click on the Pac-Man button in the lower-left corner.

Pac-Man in Paris.

Without prior announcement, and for an unspecified period of time, Google Maps is offering a 'Pacmanised' version of any street grid on the planet.

The game works exactly like the 1980s arcade classic. Use the arrows to navigate the streets, eat dots and tasty extras, and stay ahead of the four ghosts. Unless you eat a big dot, in which case they turn blue and you can eat them. Clean the screen of dots to move up a level. Turn on the sound to get that nostalgic Wakka Wakka sound. Turn it off again when you see your boss approaching.

Choose your surroundings wisely: It could be impossible to escape the ghosts in single-street towns. On the other hand, complex grids might be good for hiding from the ghosts, but hard to clear of dots.

All pray, no play: The Vatican is off limits to Pac-Man.

It's not the first time Google has rendered homage to Pac-Man. In mid-May 2010, Google changed the Doodle on its search homepage into a playable version of the game, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of its release. The game reportedly caused the loss of 4.8 million hours of productivity. The loss has also been calculated as running at around $120 million.

There's no telling how long Google will keep the Pac-Man game available for Google Maps, but since these things are called Easter eggs, chances are you have until the upcoming high holiday to play.

Interestingly, Pac-Man for Google Maps doesn't seem to be working everywhere. Both the divided city of Nicosia and the Vatican generate a fail message. Too few streets for Pac-Man to chomp down on, apparently. But Paris? No problem. Even Raqqa, the unofficial capital of the Islamic State, is not safe from Pac-Man.

Wakka Wakka in Raqqa.

All maps sourced from Google Maps

_________________

Strange Maps #708

Related Articles

Scientists discover what caused the worst mass extinction ever

How a cataclysm worse than what killed the dinosaurs destroyed 90 percent of all life on Earth.

Credit: Ron Miller
Surprising Science

While the demise of the dinosaurs gets more attention as far as mass extinctions go, an even more disastrous event called "the Great Dying” or the “End-Permian Extinction” happened on Earth prior to that. Now scientists discovered how this cataclysm, which took place about 250 million years ago, managed to kill off more than 90 percent of all life on the planet.

Keep reading Show less

Why we're so self-critical of ourselves after meeting someone new

A new study discovers the “liking gap” — the difference between how we view others we’re meeting for the first time, and the way we think they’re seeing us.

New acquaintances probably like you more than you think. (Photo by Simone Joyner/Getty Images)
Surprising Science

We tend to be defensive socially. When we meet new people, we’re often concerned with how we’re coming off. Our anxiety causes us to be so concerned with the impression we’re creating that we fail to notice that the same is true of the other person as well. A new study led by Erica J. Boothby, published on September 5 in Psychological Science, reveals how people tend to like us more in first encounters than we’d ever suspect.

Keep reading Show less

NASA launches ICESat-2 into orbit to track ice changes in Antarctica and Greenland

Using advanced laser technology, scientists at NASA will track global changes in ice with greater accuracy.

Firing three pairs of laser beams 10,000 times per second, the ICESat-2 satellite will measure how long it takes for faint reflections to bounce back from ground and sea ice, allowing scientists to measure the thickness, elevation and extent of global ice
popular

Leaving from Vandenberg Air Force base in California this coming Saturday, at 8:46 a.m. ET, the Ice, Cloud, and Land Elevation Satellite-2 — or, the "ICESat-2" — is perched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket, and when it assumes its orbit, it will study ice layers at Earth's poles, using its only payload, the Advance Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS).

Keep reading Show less