Category Archives: Arcade

Google Pac-man!

To celebrate Pacman’s 30th anniversary, Google’s banner today is not only Pac-man-based, it’s a playable game if you wait for a few seconds.

Google Pacman

And yes, if you clear the first two boards, you get the traditional cut-scene.

Google Pacman

Google Pacman

Is that totally awesome or what?

Am I correct in thinking it’s not actually written in Flash, but in some clever HTML-type thingy?

Update: Yes. CNet reports: ccording to Germick, the company worked with Pac-Man’s publisher, Namco Bandai, to make the project as realistic as possible. Yet the Google team, with the inspirational lead of Marcin Wichary, a Google senior user experience designer, built their version of the game from the ground up using JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.

Update 4pm: If you click Insert Coin twice, you get a two-player game (W/A/S/Z controls Ms Pac-Man). And there is one minor bug I’ve noticed — sometimes when chasing ghosts after eating a power pill, you can pass right through them.

Update 9:30pm: Google Pac-Man: The FAQ + Kill Screen Winners — contains more details on how it was written, where to find it when it’s gone from the main Google page, and a picture of the”kill” screen.

Update Monday: It’s gone from Google’s home page now, but is still online here: www.google.com/pacman

Classic videogame ringtones

I’ve switched my ringtone. I wanted something distinctive but not crass and loud. I ended up deciding on the intro theme from Galaga. The text alert tone is the sound from Galaga when you put a coin in.

And it turns out it’s quite easy to do — provided your phone is newer than Josh’s and supports music files (eg MP3, WAV or AAC)… which most from the last couple of years do.

If you run Mame32, it’s got an option to record the sound as you play the game (on the File menu). This saves to a WAV file. Load it up into Sound Recorder and snip away (using Edit / Delete before or after current position). Some other MAME variants may have this feature too.

Some phones will support WAV, but if not (or you want to minimise the file size), convert to MP3 or your preferred format using Bladeenc or any other encoder. Transfer it onto the phone using a cable or IR link, then customise the ringtone and alert sound (on my Nokia it’s via Profile / General / Personalise). Easy!

If you know me in person, please find something else to use, so I know it’s mine going off when I hear it :-)

Some other classic video game sounds that spring to mind as suitable are the Pacman theme (and dying sound for alerts) and Donkey Kong’s “How high can you jump?” theme (with the jumping barrel sound for the alert).

Where to rest in Pacman

Resting in PacmanObviously if you’re playing in MAME you can just press P to pause, but on a real Pacman arcade game, what do you do if you’re playing a mammoth game and you want to rest? Go just to the right and up from the starting position.

The ghosts won’t find you, you can rest for a while.

That’s certainly something I wish I’d known 20 years ago…

Game nostalgia strategy quiz

GyrussGame nostalgia strategy quiz:

In Donkey Kong, did you bother getting the hammer to smash the barrels, or just head for the top?

In Galaga, did you try to get the double fighter?

Gyruss: double bullets? Or not bother?

Did you keep feeding in coins in Moon Patrol, to try and get to the end?

Pacman: save the power pills for when you can get multiple ghosts, or just clean up the board ASAP?

Who was your favourite character to play in Gauntlet?

In Popeye did you favour the top, or bottom of the screen waiting for the hearts?

Space Invaders: start shooting the sides, the middle, or in rows starting from the bottom?

Scramble: Try and shoot the fuel tanks ahead, or bomb them from above? Make it to the end?