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Google Pac-Man: The FAQ + Kill Screen Winners

Judging from the tweets I’ve seen, people are loving Google’s version of Pac-Man that’s playable on the Google home page today and tomorrow. They also have questions about it. Has anyone reached the end? Will you be able to play it in the future? Answers to these and more, below.

Why’s Google Doing This?

To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man, which is tomorrow.

How long will it be up on the Google home page?

Through 8am Pacific time, May 22.

Is there a way to play after that date?

Yes. Google’s made a special page at http://www.google.com/pacman/

Should the page location ever change in the future, find the logo here in Google’s logo archives. Just look it up in the 2010 April-June section. That’s where it will be filed, in the future. That should point you to any new location.

Can I put it on my own site?

For now, yes. See How To Get Google’s Pac Man Game On Your Page for a third-party solution.

What computer language is this written in?

Javascript, HTML (standard and HTML 5), and CSS are all used, Google says. Flash is used, but only for sound, Google said.

How many people have played?

As many as there are stars in the universe. Seriously, no idea. Google doesn’t even know, it says. It would be hard to measure, too, give that the game automatically starts.

Is there a high scores screen or leaderboard?

Not a public one. Google isn’t logging any of the scores. However, within Google there appears to be one that employees have created, probably employees who are taking screenshots of their scores and sharing them.

Has anyone reached the end?

It appears at least two people have. Woody Tondorf, who normally is writing Elevator for HBOlab, tweeted about getting to the famed “kill screen” level at the end. So did Jason Holland. Neither posted pictures of their success. Even if they did, it wouldn’t be proof, as the might have gotten the kill screen image from elsewhere. But I’m believing them.

Kill Screen?

In the original Pacman, when you got to level 256, half the screen didn’t render properly, so you’d lose, unable to navigate the maze. Google’s copy does the same thing. Here’s how it looks:

That picture was tweeted by Neil Pearce, but I’m not sure where he got it (he didn’t finish himself but seems to have gotten pretty far). I also found it posted here.

Can you play it in the iPhone? The iPad?

Yes, barely. Swipe your finger in the logo in the direction you want Pac Man to go. He gets there sluggishly.

I heard there’s a two player mode!

There is. Hit that “Insert Coin” button twice. Ms. Pac Man will appear, and you’ll have scores kept for both players. Unlike the original Pac Man, players don’t take turns. Both play at the same time.

To control Ms Pac Man, use the W for up, S for down, A for left and D for right.

Good luck trying to play both at once. Kevin Fox tweeted about it being pretty tough. I bet.

Is Microsoft’s Bing going to do a playable Halo logo to one up Google?

OK, no one’s asking that. It was just something I joked about on Twitter:

on Nov. 15, 2011, i expect Bing to make Halo play in its logo for 10th anniversary to one up Google’s Pac-Man today

That would be pretty cool, though.

Tell me even more!

Our Insert Coin, Play Pac-Man — In The Google Logo! A 30th Anniversary Tribute article has plenty of background, so also be sure to read that.


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