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

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

In a first for humankind, China successfully sprouts a seed on the Moon

China's Chang'e 4 biosphere experiment marks a first for humankind.

Image source: CNSA
Surprising Science
  • China's Chang'e 4 lunar lander touched down on the far side of the moon on January 3.
  • In addition to a lunar rover, the lander carried a biosphere experiment that contains five sets of plants and some insects.
  • The experiment is designed to test how astronauts might someday grow plants in space to sustain long-term settlements.
Keep reading Show less

10 science photos that made history and changed minds

These photos of scientific heroes and accomplishments inspire awe and curiosity.

Surprising Science
  • Science has given humanity an incalculable boost over the recent centuries, changing our lives in ways both awe-inspiring and humbling.
  • Fortunately, photography, a scientific feat in and of itself, has recorded some of the most important events, people and discoveries in science, allowing us unprecedented insight and expanding our view of the world.
  • Here are some of the most important scientific photos of history:
Keep reading Show less

Love in a time of migrants: on rethinking arranged marriages

Arranged marriages and Western romantic practices have more in common than we might think.

Culture & Religion

In his book In Praise of Love (2009), the French communist philosopher Alain Badiou attacks the notion of 'risk-free love', which he sees written in the commercial language of dating services that promise their customers 'love, without falling in love'.

Keep reading Show less