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Life and Death Struggle of Ms. Pacman

Short story By: Neutrastaff
Thrillers


This is from experiences I had in the last month. This is just something I have been working on the sides as I have freetime after classes. Thoughts of this have been on my mind.

Anyway i'll just tell you ahead of time, I don't explain the rules of pacman because it's pretty obvious (get all the dots, don't touch the ghost). Read on and read what this says.


Submitted:Sep 15, 2012    Reads: 66    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


I saw a pretty interesting movie that caught my attention. It was called 'the king of Kong: a fist full of dollars". It was basically about one man's goal of becoming the world champion, at donkey Kong that is. I saw it on an ESPN channel one Saturday. I liked the movie so much that I even had to get the DVD of it to watch whenever I want, as stuff don't always come on TV like I want. Speaking of which you have to check it out as there's a ton of good bonus stuff. Since I seen it I've been obsessed with two things, one is hot sauce (yes watching the first ten minutes will make you want it) and second I have been thinking about the perfect game of Pacman. If you don't know what a perfect game of Pacman is, I won't tell you, pretty much just do everything perfectly (Google it to learn more).

"A perfect game of Pacman", I thought to myself, "I can do that...maybe". Well, actually I can't,don't have the reflexes for it. Actually according to Billy Mitchell from the movie, you apparently have to be born with it, if it's in your DNA then you have it, if it's not then your not going to get it (you'll be good, but you won't be the best). So anyway I do occasionally play Pacman, I have the original version along with the championship edition for updated game consoles. Now I am not a gamer, well not as much anymore anyway, but I do occasionally take a break now and then, but we're not talking about that. So anyway since Pacman is a little much for my reflexes I decided to give a shot at Ms. Pacman. I bought it for a smaller system over a decade ago, back when I was in high school. I spent awhile mining the catacombs of some old junk lying around me and rediscover it again and brought it back to the light. Though it's an old game I had it stored away in a safe spot. Blew in it and loll and behold it still works.

Alright, now on to playing the game. Well, once or twice I played Pacman back in the arcades but since I have a very bad memory for reasons I can't go into detail (yeah, there's a reason I have a bad memory but we're not talking about that either) and the fact I only been in an arcade only two three times, I didn't really get experience from it. So anyway I had to start over from scratch basically, well not too much scratch as I played the championship edition of Pacman I mentioned earlier. So anyway I start playing it and see that it's actually much harder than regular Pacman. You see, Ms. Pacman, she get's slowed down when she's eating the dots, something Pacman doesn't do. Also in Pacman, the fruits stay stationary and don't move in one spot on the center of the maze, but in this thing the darn things keep moving around, and they like to go up where the ghost are so you can't get to them without touching the ghost which is B.S. cutting the corners at the last second before you can get to them, I tell you every time I almost grab a fruit pretty much a ghost is right close to it.
Another thing about Ms. Pacman that's different then what her husband does are the mazes. You see, in regular Pacman, there was just one maze that kept repeating over and over. It did that for 255 level and get all messed up on the 256 level. While it's mostly the same, just moves faster after each level. In Ms. Pacman, you have four mazes, the way they work, maze one you do twice, maze two you do three times and maze three you do four times. I don't know much about the fourth maze as I rarely get there (it's rough getting there) which I'll tell you more of in a minute. After around sixty dots a piece of fruit will appear out of one of the tunnels you can go through which goes all over the place as I mentioned earlier. So anyway I've been playing it just about every day now when I have a free second.
As I'm playing it I begin to notice things about the ghost. For one the red and pink ones seem to chase you the most, especially the red. The green and orange ghost just do whatever, just some random mess. Well sometimes I do notice that they do go in a pattern but only if I take certain routes the same way. So I'm playing and when I get out it's usually because the ghost catch me in a tunnel, where I can't escape and there's no way out. I'm going back and fourth on both sides but they're blocked off by ghost, usually by the red and pink ones. It feels like and eternity knowing that you want to escape but cannot. All you can do is watch as they come at you, and there's not a thing you can do about it except sit there and take it, that's my darkest hour through the maze. The thing to do is to get all four of the ghost in one part of the maze together while your on the opposite of where they're at, but you can't do it.
But you know it goes deeper then that. As I'm going through the maze I notice that the ghost really do start to seem more intelligent then what they make you believe. Sometimes I'll be going along and all of a sudden they're chasing me. I get backed in a corner and then, for no reason at all they seem to shift gears and go in alternate directions. I'm in a state of %$ when I see this as they were coming at me hard. Turns out it's just a trap they use to catch you off guard. After playing it for so long I know better now and know they're just baiting me wanting me to go with them pretending that they've lost me but just want to make it easier for them to catch me. Another thing I noticed is that on certain parts of mazes, such as upper middle parts, especially in that U-shaped tube above on the second maze the ghost, they don't like it when you go through those parts. This is where I begin to mess up.

I got it down to nearly a science now, the first and second mazes I can pretty much do without loosing a life. However when I get to the third maze, that's when it starts to fall apart. After I get done with the bottom center at the beginning I move on to the right side to get that corner with the energizer. That's when the red ghost appears. And he comes in hard and fast too, along with his friend that pink one. They usually get me which forces me to pick up the energizer earlier then what I prefer to. So I do much work in the corners to clear it, narrowly escaping the ghost as they come in. I get to the pipe at the top, nine out of ten the red ghost is behind me practically touching me. I get to the top but there are pretty much two rows above where the ghost box is. When I go there I can either go up or down. I move a little to one side faking out the ghost. I move down and they think I'm going down but then as they come I spring back up so as they're on the bottom part I'm clearing the top and everything's going good until I get to the end of the corridor where they're waiting for me. Now this is the part where you have to be slick and trust me if your off by even a pixel it will mess your day up. If you calculate it just right you can avoid the ghost as they come through with you and they pretty much touching. It's a moment where you have to grit your teeth and hope for dear life that you make it. After which I move onto the energizers which save me at the last minute as it's one of the moments where they get you on both sides of the tunnel. It's like I'm looking at them with a stern look, and they're doing the same, thinking to themselves "your not slick, we know how you work we're just making you think that you know what your doing".
I've asked many people on sites like yahoo answers and ask for assistance which is completely useless. All they did was tell me stuff like "practice makes perfect" or "no one plays Ms. Pacman anymore", stuff like that. The only real advice I got is someone mentioning "watch the ghost, predict where they'll be", the only thing that's been of any use lately. So I thought maybe using the pipes would help, lure them near it and go through on the other side to clear it. It helps but not as much as you would think. They either move fast enough to catch you before you can do any real work on the other side or just come through the pipe with you. The only saving grace for that is they don't move as fast going through the pipes. I noticed something else about the two other ghost, the green and orange ones, they're just as notorious as the others. They move more randomly then the pink and red ones but yeah, they like to wait till one of the other two (red and pink) are after you and make you think they're moving randomly, then all of a sudden they sneak up and move where you were moving to. I've been caught by the green one so many times now because of that, I pay more attention to the red and pink ones that I loose track of the other two because they're usually at the bottom doing whatever. And that's not the worst part of all of it. The worst part is doing all that work and you only get one extra life. I think there is a way to get more lives but you need so many points to get it and I'm more focused on staying alive then anything else. The highest score I got was over 48000 but I only made it to around the third maze. I don't care about the score, I just want to finish all four mazes. Well first I have to find a way through the third maze without incident. It's such brutality you have to stay in full concentration or it's game over.
You have to stay focused as it's life or death. You cut around the corner but the red ghost is right there. They like to catch you off guard as your going in for the last set of dots. Then you see them coming and do what you can to escape but they somehow come down the openings on the grid and corner you. You then find yourself in a tunnel with no escape and the next thing you know, it's over. Yeah I know it's just a game but if you play it long enough you start to notice these things. The worst part of all is when you get really far, much further then you did last time, you do all you can and work to get as many points as possible. Your in that zone thing, where everything feels natural and every decision you make is right. All of a sudden, the ghost appear and it seems that they've been developing a secret strategy to catch you all this time, just waiting for you to make the wrong move. When you reach that last life you immediately think "may as well give up, I only have one life left there's no way they'll let me finish with just one life". You do all of that work, just to fall at the end, probably trapping you in the corners as I keep mentioning. All that work, you think they'll just let you continue from where you died, wrong. It's just like the old Nintendo games from the eighties, they had no save feature so if you got a game over you don't start from where all your lives ended. In those games you went back. Ms. Pacman is the exact same way, if you loose all of your lives and get a game over, you go all the way back. You mess up, you go back, Mm Hm.
I don't really want a perfect game, just want questions answered. Does the game end after the fourth maze, does it keep going on like the classic arcade games, what happens. It's a mystery being sought for over a decade now. I guess it's an eternal mystery as no one seems to know. Even though it's a game if you play it long enough it will play mind games with you, it will turn your inboard to an outboard, it turns men back into boys, it will frustrate you and it will make you wonder more about life and your own existence. I know it sounds ridiculous and maybe it does. Well, this game and the combination of thinking from my philosophy class made me wonder more of the existence of the world, is there a world or is it just a program in our minds, like our brains are in a glass vault being given information to appear real.





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