Can you think of a single thing that Pac-Man hasn't become a symbol of?
The rise of electronic entertainment? Check. Our shallow, consume-at-all-costs society? Check? Hardcore drug addiction? Check.
Pac-Man turns 30 today. Video game company Namco first released the title on May 22, 1980 in Japan.
Since then, it has become perhaps the most popular arcade game of all time. On Friday, Google celebrated Pac-Man's 30th birthday by turning the trademark logo on its home page into a playable version of the game. Google has changed its "doodle" countless times before to honour everything from Mother's Day to April Fool's, but this is the first time the Google logo has become interactive.
Like all nerdy endeavours, Pac-Man has inspired a level of obsession so rabid that it defies belief.
Take, for example, the six people who have achieved the perfect Pac-Man score. How do you get a perfect score? You eat every dot, ghost, crazy-thing-that-makes-the-ghosts-turn-blue, and fruit on every level (1 through 256) without losing a life. Consider this every time Blinky and Pinky sandwich your guy 30 seconds into the first level.
(Indeed, a perfect score is so last millennium. Now you have to get the perfect score, and do it in less than three hours, 34 minutes and eight seconds to sit atop the fastest perfect score leader board).
The folks at Google tell us that you'll get 256 levels in the interactive Google logo, which will be up on the main page for 48 hours. However a few minutes of "research" shows at least the first few levels are the same, just with faster ghosts.
There's also a two-player mode: hit "Insert Coin" -- what Google has re-named its "I'm feeling lucky" button -- twice, and Ms. Pac-Man shows up.
All in all, a pretty cool birthday gift from Google to Pac-Man. The only thing better would be if they bankrolled this awesome Pac-Man movie idea.
Good luck getting anything done today...