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Goodbye Productivity
May 21, 2010 8:29 AM   Subscribe

Today Google unveiled its most elaborate doodle to date, in celebration of Pac-Man's 30th birthday.

(via)
posted by schmod (87 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy balls, it even works (and is playable!) on the iPhone browser. NICE.
posted by DoctorFedora at 8:31 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I approve.
posted by dry white toast at 8:32 AM on May 21, 2010


Whoa.
posted by brundlefly at 8:34 AM on May 21, 2010


When it first loaded, It was ust a still image so I though "Most elaborate? I'm not sure..." THEN IT STARTED MOVING!
posted by piratebowling at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2010 [10 favorites]


I just saw this and came back to Mefi to see if somebody posted it.
This is simultaneously the coolest and most annoying Google doodle ever. I can't decide whether I like it or hate it.

I kept trying to click the doodle to find the link to read more about it, but the doodle wasn't linked to anything. I thought, hmmm,m maybe a hidden link as an easter egg? And then the sound started playing, and I was like ... wtf? and then I was like ... no, they didn't, no way, did they? ... holy crap they did .... then (because I suck) I got the dreaded wawawawawaaaaah.

It slowed my browser, the music was annoying, so the execution was not the best, but the concept full of win.
posted by forforf at 8:35 AM on May 21, 2010


I think this may be the first level of Pac Man that I've ever beaten.
posted by ocherdraco at 8:38 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you're a Pac Man fan, I highly recommend Pac Man Championship Edition (video).
posted by joedan at 8:38 AM on May 21, 2010


Ok now they're just showing off.
posted by geoff. at 8:39 AM on May 21, 2010 [16 favorites]


forforf, which browser are you using? It worked fine for me in Chromium on Linux.
posted by jaduncan at 8:40 AM on May 21, 2010


Has anyone been able to clear the board in a single Pac-Man?
posted by a small part of the world at 8:41 AM on May 21, 2010


THat's frickin brilliant.
posted by Mister_A at 8:43 AM on May 21, 2010


"Has anyone been able to clear the board in a single Pac-Man?"

Yes. But then I stopped, because final university exams are important.
posted by jaduncan at 8:45 AM on May 21, 2010


Coincidentally, The Empire Strikes Back also turned 30 today.
posted by schmod at 8:48 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you hit the "Insert Coin" button twice, it spawns Ms. Pacman on the same board, controlled with the WASD keys. You can play them both simultaneously. It's hard.
posted by Who_Am_I at 8:49 AM on May 21, 2010 [16 favorites]


ALSO, if you click on INSERT COIN (where it normally says "I FEEL LUCKY") it'll start over w/ a Ms. PacMan - you can control her at the same time w/ W, A, S, D - I tried to do both of them at the same time - didn't last long...:) - Productivity is overrated, anyways
posted by rodmandirect at 8:50 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


GAH -- sound warning!

And very, very cool.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:55 AM on May 21, 2010


I kept trying to click the doodle to find the link to read more about it, but the doodle wasn't linked to anything.

When you lose the game, it automatically redirects you to the search term about it.
posted by flashboy at 8:57 AM on May 21, 2010


Very impressive HTML5 goodness.

Looks like they used Canvas for the graphics and a hidden Flash movie to play the sound. There's something funny going on in versions of IE <8: some sort of CSS hack? Anyway, in IE the graphics appear to also be browser-native, but I'll be damned if I can figure out what they're doing. No explorercanvas apparent, and anyway that'd be too slow I imagine...
posted by xthlc at 9:02 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Recently I found a Flash version to show my kids, since they had never heard of Pac-Man. It was clunky and was missing the cut scenes. I am happy to report that the Google version plays smoothly (in Firefox) and HAS THE CUT SCENES!

I am pretty convinced that some person out there is going to try to get to the kill screen before this comes down.
posted by freecellwizard at 9:12 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ha ha ha ha ha Google is the best company
posted by Damn That Television at 9:17 AM on May 21, 2010


AWESOME!!!!
posted by zarq at 9:21 AM on May 21, 2010


Coincidentally, The Empire Strikes Back also turned 30 today.

So you are trying to say that May 21st is the BEST DAY EVER!
posted by shothotbot at 9:23 AM on May 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


works on an ipad =)
posted by nomisxid at 9:25 AM on May 21, 2010


I played through the first two levels with both Pacman and Ms. Pacman to see if the intermission graphic would change. Alas, it did not.

It's easy to control both if you have them on top of each other. For a real challenge, try to have them going different ways -- now THAT'S fun!
posted by Palquito at 9:26 AM on May 21, 2010


They should have also build a playable google logo of the Atari 2600 Empire Strikes Back game. Nothing like killing AT-ATs until you die.
posted by nushustu at 9:26 AM on May 21, 2010


Yeah, the HTML 5 magic is sweet in this. You can inspect it with Firebug and see the swapouts happening in real time.

I salute you Google.
posted by lumpenprole at 9:29 AM on May 21, 2010


Holy balls, it even works (and is playable!) on the iPhone browser. NICE.

What?! Without Flash? Inconceivable!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:43 AM on May 21, 2010


Play both at the same time. It takes the Family Pac to a whole new right-brain/left-brain freaky fun level.

So how long before they get sued for this?
posted by chairface at 9:44 AM on May 21, 2010


As RodgerTheGreat mentioned on Hacker News, this is actually just a bunch of div's and not canvas so strictly speaking it's HTML 4, not HTML 5.
posted by shadytrees at 9:47 AM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


The cross-browser support is impressive, particularly in real time with sound. I'm hoping someone does a nice deconstruction of how it works, it's pretty clean.

Anyone know if the ghost AI is faithful to the original with the 4 different behaviours? It didn't quite feel right, but I didn't spend a lot of time looking.

Google Twitter tweeted "Feeling lucky? Maybe you can get to level 256 of our first playable doodle". There's no way I'm going to play 256 levels but the idea that they implemented a kill screen entices me.
posted by Nelson at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2010


Found out about this when I started getting trouble calls from users that somebody had loaded Pac Man on their PC's.

Then they wanted to know how they could actually play it.
posted by smoothvirus at 9:48 AM on May 21, 2010


There's something funny going on in versions of IE <8>

VML probably

posted by device55 at 10:05 AM on May 21, 2010


I was just wondering if they put in level 256. This is fantastic.
posted by cmfletcher at 10:05 AM on May 21, 2010


I heard the music from someone in my office in another cube, and I thought, holy crap that music is familiar. And then he started playing it! Really a great, fun idea.
posted by chocolatetiara at 10:20 AM on May 21, 2010


This is beyond impressive.
posted by reductiondesign at 10:20 AM on May 21, 2010


Some links from my deleted post:

The history of Pac-Man.
A questionable analysis of the ghosts' names.
A video of somebody executing the infamous "cherry" pattern.
An interview with the creator of Pac-Man, Toru Iwatani.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:21 AM on May 21, 2010 [6 favorites]


HTML5 won't win me over until it gives me sample-level access to audio. Heck, we've got all these extra CPU cores sitting around...
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 10:28 AM on May 21, 2010


Oh, man I think this is single-handedly going to reduce productivity today for every single economy in the world! Is there a better game delivery system then the Google homepage?
posted by bluefly at 10:28 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


No sound on Firefox/Linux or the IE8/Win7 laptop. Foo.

OTOH, very, very cool. Will have to fire up the MAME cabinet tomorrow for a proper tribute.
(30 years. Can't be. I'm not that old. Grumble.)
posted by bitmage at 10:37 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, to work for a company that has enough resources to pay someone to implement Pac Man for their home page.
posted by tommasz at 10:44 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was just wondering if they put in level 256. This is fantastic.

There is a kill screen. (found code and screenshot by jah)
posted by shadytrees at 10:45 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


Holy crap, this totally makes up for the wifi spying.
posted by box at 10:46 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ugh. I'm trying to listen to some music at work and whenever I go to Google (which is often), I have to hear the WHOO WHOO WHOO of this stupid thing over Handel's "Music for the Royal Fireworks."

Google, please let me disable this! Don't throw me into the embrace of Bing!
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 10:55 AM on May 21, 2010


LOVE THIS.

Of course, Pac-Man being 30 years old makes me feel ancient. I was downright obsessed with Pac-Man as a kid.
posted by SisterHavana at 10:59 AM on May 21, 2010


Its fucking annoying is what it is. How do you switch the sound off?
posted by Long Way To Go at 11:00 AM on May 21, 2010


Its fucking annoying is what it is. How do you switch the sound off?

That damn sound (sirens and Pacman startup jingle) was showing up on ANY website I went to (in Firefox) for quite a while. A forum search showed that if you have CoolIris or Cool Previews installed as add-ons, just disable them for now. Worked for me.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 11:14 AM on May 21, 2010


I still remember when techies fell in love with Google (esp. on Slashdot) because the search interface loaded so quickly and worked so simply, without gimmick or bloat.

I mention this, not as commentary on how they've lost their way or somesuch, but as commentary about how little bandwidth levels matter these days, were even cell phones have better connectivity than the average person had when Google started getting noticed (1997-98, around the same time ADSL started appearing as a valid alternative to ISDN for businesses who couldn't afford a T1, and cable modems were somewhat sketchy hybrid systems.)
posted by davejay at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2010


I've been playing a lot (a LOT) of Pac-Man on MAME lately, without patterns (except any that naturally emerge from playing). My record is the second Key level (level 14). With that, combined with the knowledge from the Pac-Man Dossier, I managed to get to level 8 here. All this leads me to conclude:

This is really impressive in terms of respect paid to the original. Whoever developed it understood the arcade game really well. Recreating Pac-Man with a new maze is not so simple as just putting in the new maze. You also have to adjust monster Blue times to make it farer to the player (Jr. Pac-Man has much larger mazes but actually shrinks blue times, so it's not as fair a game), adjust Fruit times, adjust dots left until Cruise Elroy, and adjust "scatter mode" locations. Also, you have to put in scatter mode.

Twice I went through monsters in my test plays, which happens in the original under specific circumstances. The Red monster ignores scatter mode targeting on his second and later scatters in a board, which is arcade perfect behavior. Monsters reverse direction on a mode change, except for when blue time expires. Cruise Elroy is in, complete with corresponding change to the background noise. Monster blue times shrink from board to board until an intermission (the intermissions are back too), become really long again for the next board, then start shrinking again. I didn't get far enough to verify if the no-blue boards are in place, but I suspect that patterns, when they are discovered, will work on this, so someone will do it, and probably before too long.

Most people who recreate Pac-Man (and there are a lot of them) fail to implement any or all of these things. The only thing missing I can think of is there is no analogue for the one-way passages, four spot in the arcade game through which monsters will no follow going up, and those aren't in Ms. Pac-Man either despite that game being a full-on romhack of Pac-Man.
posted by JHarris at 11:24 AM on May 21, 2010 [19 favorites]


Those long horizontal passages make it challenging.

Oh, AND HTML5! I'm even more encouraged for the future of phone and tablet browsing!
posted by sourwookie at 11:27 AM on May 21, 2010


This is really cool. They outdid themselves with this one, and it coincides with Flash Friday.

For future readers of the thread, doodle are archived.
posted by caddis at 11:30 AM on May 21, 2010 [5 favorites]


For future readers of the thread, doodle are archived.

Well there goes my afternoon productivity.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 11:37 AM on May 21, 2010


Oh, one other difference I noted: upon emerging from the box, monsters move right instead of left, which is an interesting change.
posted by JHarris at 11:44 AM on May 21, 2010


You know what would be really cool? If when you clicked "INSERT COIN" three times, it turned into Pac-Man for the Atari 2600, complete with stilted munching motions and flickering ghosts and all that, and then when you solved the level it bounced you to Bing. And then maybe even autosearched images of disappointed children in Vuarnet t-shirts for you.

Still, mostly well played, Google.
posted by gompa at 11:49 AM on May 21, 2010


WAKka-WAKka-WAKka!!

...That's my Fozzie impression!

...Why, what room is this?
posted by not_on_display at 11:54 AM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


work-related things I have accomplished today = 0
other people in my office that google and I have infected with this problem = 4
friday = success
posted by elizardbits at 12:16 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Vuarnet t-shirts

I thought I was hot stuff in middle school for having a Vuarnet t-shirt. In the tail end of 1989. From an outlet store.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:47 PM on May 21, 2010


I still remember when techies fell in love with Google (esp. on Slashdot) because the search interface loaded so quickly and worked so simply, without gimmick or bloat.

That was actually just a bit of good luck for the Google founders. From a lecture by Google Product Manager Marissa Meyer:
# The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn't know HTML and just wanted a quick interface.
# Due to the sparseness of the homepage, in early user tests they noted people just sitting looking at the screen. After a minute of nothingness, the tester intervened and asked 'Whats up?' to which they replied "We are waiting for the rest of it". To solve that particular problem the Google Copyright message was inserted to act as a crude end of page marker.
So if the Google founders had known more HTML it's quite possible they would've made yet another bloated portal-type page.
posted by jedicus at 1:05 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


Whoops, forgot to link my source.
posted by jedicus at 1:06 PM on May 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


If anybody wants to see, Billy Mitchell has a kill screen coming up.
posted by notme at 1:18 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ooo. Pac-Man Championship Edition is on .99c sale for the iPhone today. (inserts coins)
posted by bitmage at 1:21 PM on May 21, 2010


Is there a link, notme?
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:25 PM on May 21, 2010


So I'm two days older than Pac-Man. Sigh.
posted by blazingunicorn at 1:25 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of those maze paths look like they're aligned, but they aren't, so I let the guy go thinking I'm on my way to safety, and he stops and gets eaten. Other than that, this is pretty cool.
posted by willnot at 1:52 PM on May 21, 2010


Part of the genius of this is that half the world is talking about and even playing Pac-Man today. When do you think was the last time 50 people even THOUGHT about Pac-Man?
posted by evilcolonel at 2:07 PM on May 21, 2010


Hmm... I wonder how monster movement during vulnerability is handled? The arcade used a pseudorandomly-generated pointer into memory, then used to the byte stored there to determine where the monster should go. The seed was reset at the start of each board and life, which preserved patterns. In order for patterns to work that behavior must be preserved, or else patterns will have to avoid energizers until the board is pretty much cleared.

Dammit, and I don't have any time to research this. Anyone think they can figure this out?
posted by JHarris at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2010


When do you think was the last time 50 people even THOUGHT about Pac-Man?

More often than you think.
posted by JHarris at 2:08 PM on May 21, 2010


As far as being true to the original goes, I saw blinky turn in the middle of a corridor in the top left--once when he caught me by surprise, once while I was watching for it. In the original, at least according to the pac man dossier this isn't supposed to happen.
posted by jepler at 2:33 PM on May 21, 2010


You know, I like Google and all the free stuff they give away just as much as anyone. But something always feels kind of weird about them - like it's the devil offering up temptations for nerds. I guess they seem too good to be true.

Like, Apple and Microsoft just want to make cool shit that makes money... but what does Google want? World domination? My marketing info? Is it really all that valuable to know if I've ever searched for penis pills?
posted by fungible at 2:33 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha ha ha ha ha Google is the best company

Yeah, and I'm really looking forward to trying to explain to my boss why my accomplishments were less than stellar today.

"I spent a lot of time really chasing after some elusive concepts on google today. It was like running through a labyrinth of complicated ideas, and right when I thought I had it in my grasp, I realized it was the wrong time and I had to backpedal and race down a different path. It was very challenging, but ultimately I produced very little.

The cherry was tasty though."
posted by quin at 2:43 PM on May 21, 2010 [7 favorites]


If you ask me, this is interactive advertising. This is how they get around your adblocker.
posted by aniola at 2:57 PM on May 21, 2010


I was just wondering if they put in level 256. This is fantastic.

At that point, half the screen turns into Bing, rendering search results unusuable. Only the most expert players can find out about Ron Paul at that point.
posted by anazgnos at 3:17 PM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


When do you think was the last time 50 people even THOUGHT about Pac-Man?

MySpace used to put pacman up replacing all pages when there was Really Serious Downtime.

The last time that happened was a major data center power outage a couple years ago. There were a lot of us thinking about pacman that day!

I kind of miss the site pacmanning. It was cute.
posted by flaterik at 3:23 PM on May 21, 2010


Here's the CSS sprite used in-game.

So in 30 years we'll get to play WOW on the Google home screen in a teeny window. Cool!
posted by artlung at 3:28 PM on May 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


Aww yeah!

I still got it.
posted by chillmost at 3:38 PM on May 21, 2010


As far as being true to the original goes, I saw blinky turn in the middle of a corridor in the top left--once when he caught me by surprise, once while I was watching for it. In the original, at least according to the pac man dossier this isn't supposed to happen.

In fact, the Dossier explains that this happens when monsters enter scatter mode, at specific times during the level.
posted by JHarris at 4:42 PM on May 21, 2010


It's too bad MicroB (the Maemo browser) doesn't map the keyboard's arrow keys to the game. Other than having to tap directions, it worked a treat. (no sound, though)
posted by wierdo at 5:47 PM on May 21, 2010


pacman rules.
posted by delmoi at 9:46 PM on May 21, 2010


If you hit the "Insert Coin" button twice, it spawns Ms. Pacman on the same board, controlled with the WASD keys.

THEY MEET
posted by the aloha at 12:31 AM on May 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think this may be the first level of Pac Man that I've ever beaten.

This comment inspired me to keep playing until I won. You don't even want to know how long that took. And then when I got to the second level, I lost so fast I don't even know what happened.
posted by insectosaurus at 6:57 AM on May 22, 2010


oh man, this is all done with plain old HTML and CSS? Not canvas? That's pretty impressive.
posted by delmoi at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2010


HTML, CSS, and a pile of JavaScript: http://www.google.com/logos/js/pacman10-hp.2.js
posted by artlung at 6:09 PM on May 22, 2010


I'm seeing no HTML5, this is straight up Javadcript and CSS.

Or what everyone else said.
posted by Artw at 8:02 PM on May 22, 2010


Archived for posterity.
posted by schmod at 1:28 PM on May 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


awesome, schmod
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:15 PM on May 23, 2010


wierdo wrote: "It's too bad MicroB (the Maemo browser) doesn't map the keyboard's arrow keys to the game. Other than having to tap directions, it worked a treat. (no sound, though)"

OK, I was wrong, it is possible to use the directional keys on the keyboard to control Pac-Man, you just have to put it in pointer mode.
posted by wierdo at 4:55 AM on May 24, 2010


> In fact, the Dossier explains that this happens when monsters enter scatter mode, at specific times during the level.

aha, I stand corrected!
posted by jepler at 9:28 AM on May 24, 2010


The prime reason the Google home page is so bare is due to the fact that the founders didn't know HTML and just wanted a quick interface.

Gee, was that before or after they built a system to parse html and query http servers?
posted by ryanrs at 9:15 PM on May 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


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