Google Maps launches PacMan on real streets

31 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Google Maps Is Now a Giant Game of Pac-Man.

Visitors to Google Maps on April Fool’s Day will be able to take advantage of a new feature which allows them to play the classic arcade game Pac-Man on streets around the world.It might not be The Big Taste, but Calgarians can eat their way around the city today as Pac-Man, thanks to an April Fool’s Day mashup from the people at Google.

Remember when Google turned its logo into a game of Pac-Man back in 2010 and office workers collectively spent millions of hours running away from ghosts? The feature, which works wherever there are sufficient streets and intersections to form a Pac-Man style grid, transforms aerial maps into the familiar maze of ghosts, dots and circular hero.

The new game can be accessed by clicking the Pac Man icon in the bottom left of Google Maps and sees the icon make his escape from enemies Blinky, Inky, Pinky and Clyde. Click the icon and whatever part of the world you’re currently looking at will be procedurally Pac-ified into a level of the maze game, complete with dots, power pellets and ghosts. The only change to the original game is that the little yellow character will have to navigate roundabouts – so gaming traditionalists may want to avoid Milton Keynes.

Last year, the company partnered with Japanese gaming giant Nintendo to allow users to “catch” Pokemon around the world, with the most prolific hunters being sent an official Pokemon Masters’ business card. Michelle Luo, product manager at Google, wrote on the site’s blog: “When navigating fruit-filled streets, determine at a glance which turns to pass to evade ghosts and get where you’re going safely.

Away from mapping, the company has also previewed plans to build research centres on Mars and the Moon, unveiled the “Google Gulp” search engine-powered energy drink, and encouraged users to sign up for the Google Romance dating app. Pac-Man is also available on the Google Maps mobile app, but the game the game is limited to specific locations that Google is revealing through a series of clues that seem to point to famous global locales such as Times Square in New York and the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. The search giant announced to an unbelieving public that it was launching a free email service with 1,000 megabytes of storage, far more than competitors at the time. This service was Gmail, which would go on to become the most popular email service in the world. “Journalists would call us and say, ‘We need to know if you’re just kidding, or if this is real’,” Georges Harik, director of Google’s in-house start-up incubator, recalled years later. “That was fun.” “Even years later, [Google co-founder Sergey] Brin still relished the reverse spin – tricking people by not hoaxing,” Steven Levy wrote in his 2011 profile of the company In the Plex. When you’re feeling a bit peckish, you can simply gobble up a few pac-dots or a cherry and keep on nommin.” Ms Luo then adds: “This is just the beginning, so stay tuned for more Maps fun such as zombie incident alerts and intergalactic Street View.

Marissa Mayer, now the chief executive of Yahoo! but then the vice president of user experience at Google, said the company had been “overwhelmed, but not surprised” by the reception given to the Pac-Man doodle.

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