Saturday, July 3, 2010

Lesson 11: All It Takes is One Good Pac

A great Star Child once said “I know life sometimes can get tough and I know life can sometimes be a drag.”

While the rest of the God Gave Rock and Roll to You II lyrics are admittedly pretty f'in stupid, Paul brushed upon a universal truth regarding life's inevitable hardships and periods of sadness. And, much like life, Ms. Pacman games have their fair share of ups and downs.

I've never admitted this to anyone before but there was a time when I lost two lives on the strawberry stage. Yes. It's true. I was absolutely devastated and I felt lost inside. The thoughts "what's the freakin' point?" and "what is it all about, man?" pierced the core of my very soul.

So what can one do when the whole world sucks? Well, you can spit on the floor and shout incoherent obscenities like my anonymous friend (Matt) does. Or you can dust yourself off, take a deep breath, get back out there and eat as many goddamn dots as possible before the big GAME OVER. Only when you accept your past mistakes will you be able to move forward and go on one of those legendary "runs" that people speak of for generations to come.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Lesson 6: Those Ghosts Have Been Blinking for an Awfully Long Time

Let’s review the basics, shall we? (We shall.) After munching one of the four power pellets your enemies become blue, vulnerable and very tasty for a brief period of time. That's when the magic happens. No, seriously. In addition to obtaining a hearty 3,000 points for eating all four ghosts, you gain invaluable confidence and trash-talking opportunities, enabling you to say things like “That's what I'm talking about” or “Did you see that shit?”

However you must consider the danger. Glory can become tragedy in a matter of milliseconds. If you get greedy and lose a life then you can be dismissed as nothing more than a reckless fool. So how do you decide whether or not to go for it? How can you ever be certain that you're making the right decisions in life? How many nipples can you balance on a unicorn? If we knew the answers to these questions then... we wouldn't have to ask them. We can only do our best to seek that perfect balance between safety and an exciting or remarkable experience.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lesson 12: Believe in Miracles

Unlike the “real world”, (which I wish everyone would shut up about already), miracles CAN happen to Ms. Pacman. Picture this, hotshot: You’re hauling ass and chowing dots through board six like nobody’s business when suddenly you notice an irresistible savory pear dancing around the maze. You decide that it’s dangerous but worth the risk*, only to find yourself in a no-win situation. Every direction leads to certain death. (More on coping with death later.) Then, just as you accept your fate you miraculously travel through the ghost and live to tell the tale. This is extremely rare but it does happen so you damn well better be prepared for it. Do not panic. Yes, it defies every natural law that has ever been established in Pacland and the implications reach far beyond what our brains are capable of grasping. But you mustn't squander a rare second chance. (This happened to Matt once; his eyes bulged out of his head and he shouted “DID YOU SEE THAT?!?!?” moments before getting stuffed by a follow-up ghost. Don’t be like Matt.) The mature way to handle the situation is to casually nod your head and imply that it was all a part of your master plan.

If you play it off right you may or may not score a hot date.

*There’s a Ratt song called Dangerous But Worth the Risk. It’s okay.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Lesson 4: It's all about the banana

The numbers are simply staggering. 1 banana = 5,000 points. That’s 50 cherries. The probability of snacking on ghosts dwindles as you reach higher levels so the fruit becomes your primary source of points. Points are important because they measure your overall greatness as a person. Therefore it is critical that you eat every banana you can. I’m only going to say this once - it is absolutely disgraceful to let a banana wander off screen and doing so will bring great shame to you and your family. (And I will personally never speak to you again.)

Having said that, the manner in which one responds when a banana appears speaks volumes about the depth of character of the player. My friend Matt is an excellent packer. He may even have been a superstar if it wasn’t for his complete inability to remain calm whenever a banana emerges. (He gets all freaked out and usually plows head-first into the nearest ghost.)

Lesson 3: Know your ghosts

Know your ghosts. It would serve you well to pay close attention to your enemies' behavior. It might just save your life. In most versions, Pink and Red are relentless psychopaths who work together to murder you. Orange generally minds his own bidness unless you’re snacking in the bottom left corner. Then all bets are off; he’s obsessively protective of that corner for some reason. Green is a fool. Feel free to mock him as you see fit.

Lesson 2: Cherries are for chumps

I can't stress this enough: cherries are not worth dying for. Sure they're enticing, bouncy and delicious. However, they're only worth 100 lousy points (that's a mere 10 dots when you think about it. Think about it...)

Lesson 1: If you're not playing to win, save your quarters