PACMAN – ‘I thought I just dodged the ghosts!!!’


In this section of the course on Games Based Learning I played Pacman and Asteroids.  I spent a significant part of the time playing on Pacman. I haven’t played this game for around fifteen years but it was around this time in my life that I first became aware and interested in computer games.  Pacman at that time was not one of the more complex action games that I found more interesting – such as ‘Street Fighter’ and ‘Kick Off’. I found Pacman to be very one dimensional and not very challenging as I could easily make my way through the levels and very quickly became disengaged due to its simplicity.

Fast forward fifteen years; I started playing at 1800 hrs and by 1900 I could only get to level two. What has happened to me? My once agile finger movement has gone.

The following night I continued to play and I began to realise the different traits of the ghosts within the game. Certain ghosts never passed the flashing balls while others chased but only for a short time and others could not go into certain areas. I also started to follow and remember the routes the ghosts took.  I remembered how fixed the game was and that how once you had mastered and remembered the routes of the ghosts the games itself was extremely easy. Within a short time I found that I had successfully moved through the levels.

So what skills did I use or build upon, re-use or develop using this game?

As with the majority of computer games I relied upon my hand eye coordination, observation and problem solving skills. We can use these skills in all areas of our lives not just in playing Pacman or other games. The most satisfying part of this exercise was that I unpicked and figured out the workings of this game myself. If the game play had been in a formal training environment with a teacher/trainer I would probably have been told about the different traits of the ghosts and spoon feed the tactics to advance within the game.  Also, if this had been carried out within a group environment the secret or the key to the game would have been passed around quicker than it took me to uncover it.



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