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Strange Maps

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


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