That Fun Yellow Dot


Pac-man, one of the most iconic games played throughout generations. I chose to play Pac-Man because it was the first one that stood out to me from that list of games that I remembered playing from my childhood. Pac-man has had such an impact in the gaming industry that it was one of the first handful of games that were incorporated into The Museum of Modern Arts. Pac-Man was first released in 1980 and is still being played today on various platforms. With its simple 2D design and its black background with its variation of colors it is no mistake that anyone shouldn’t be able to recognize and quickly shout out “Pac-Man”! Using your little yellow character, you maneuver through the map collecting dots while being chased by ghost. Along with this there are power up that you are able to collect to allow you to beat the level. Along with a catchy tune as you game it sets the perfect tone for a fun time. The controls are quite simple you can maneuver by either going up, down, left, or right!

Pac-Man originated as an arcade game requiring players to spend money to be allowed to play. The game also keeps track of your total point giving people motivation to be the top player gaining the highest score. That tied with the level of difficult of the game for a beginner could be the motivation to want to learn new tricks to earn mastery of the game. This brings in what we have learned from the words of Roger Caillous in his classification of games. With Pac-Man’s simple design meaning quick mastery of the game combined with its point rankings. This falls under Caillous AGON category. Pac-Man creates a sense of competition for players to want to do better every time and gain a higher score.

To me fun is anything challenging, given the ability to experience new place to gain a further understanding of a game. From personal experience of the game and constant repetition of playing the game I found myself creating my own strategy to collection the balls as quickly as possible while gaining the highest score. At first I was a bit shaky, it took me 2 lives to complete the full level. I then found myself sucked into the game, as if it were a drug, to want to beat the game without using any lives and continuing to do so while increasing my score. This can better be explained with the quote,” Fun from games arises out of mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that make games fun. In other words, with games, learning is the drug.” (Koster, p. 40) I can say I was having fun playing the game, and continued to play throughout the week in order to try and beat my latest score. I then found myself in what I believe we learned in lecture know as the Csikzentmihalyi’s “optimal experience,” of flow. From mastery of the game I achieved a high skill that gave me that flow felling. One downside was that it wasn’t something that I could play for long periods of time each day. Although there was a sense of competition with playing multiple times and gaining mastery it began to get old. One day I made my own competition with my little brother to see who could achieve a higher score and it brought the fun back to life.


5 thoughts on “That Fun Yellow Dot

  1. Nice use of multiple sources and explanations to Pacman. While simple, Pacman is deep and challenging. Good job on your first blog post.


  2. Some of this is interesting, but you need to try to work on structure and pacing your argument. Lead me through your specific points, don’t just rush through and make as many as you can. I really want more on the idea of agon, how is it agon? Explain/show me through your play experience? Or, you could focus on the learning part of how you obtained ‘mastery.’ Each would involve more showing so as to really bring your play and the theorist (Caillois or Koster) together. But don’t rush through with only the barest of mention of a theorist/theory and no real explanation that shows the reader how it links.


  3. I agree with Koster’s statement. Fun emerges out of mastery. When i first played Pac Man, i found it boring because I didn’t know how the game worked and i kept dying. However, after playing it for many days I found myself beating level after level, and I began having a lot of fun.


  4. I truly agree when you say that PAC Man is one of the most iconic video games ever created. I also played a lot of PAC man growing up. It was one of the most fun games growing up for a kid to play. I like how you were classified it into Calliois’s Agon category. Overall very solid blog post with plenty of information.


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