Mazes, monsters and multicursality. Mastering Pac-Man 1980–2016

Newman, J (2016) 'Mazes, monsters and multicursality. Mastering Pac-Man 1980–2016.' Cogent Arts & Humanities, 3 (1). p. 1190439. ISSN 2331-1983

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This paper explores the creation and codification of techniques for playing, beating and breaking Namco’s Pac-Man (1980). The findings are based on original archival research that draws on a range of early video game strategy publications in addition to more recent technical investigations of the game’s code. With titles such as “How to Beat the Video Games”, these mass-produced pulpy, paperbacks were concerned with revealing successful gameplay strategies for popular arcade games of the period. Providing a close reading of “Mastering Pac-Man” guide, this article explores the book’s distinctive construction of the game comparing it with more recent investigations of Pac-Man’s code. The article analyses the influence of the arcade context in which Pac-Man was accessed and performed and considers how an (imperfect) knowledge of the game’s structure and systemic operation gave rise to a particular understanding of its ludic potential.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pac-Man; video game; strategy guide; walkthrough; arcade; coin-op; gameplay
Divisions: Bath School of Design
UoA: Cultural, Communication Studies & Media
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Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2016 15:45
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2023 19:16
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