So I’m not sure why but I tried to post this weeks ago and I guess it didn’t work. Also the draft wasn’t saved. Oh well, I’ve been bad enough about the process blogs as it is. Apologies.

So after meeting with Shannon pre-Thanksgiving my project began to shift from being about arcades in general (because I wasn’t gathering as much data as I would have liked) to the very specific topic of the arcade game Pac-Man. A few epiphanies that brought me to this point were finding a working Pac-Man machine in every arcade I visited (often the only “classic” game), seeing a giant billboard for the iPhone in Times Square using Pac-Man as a selling point, and remembering the clothing retailer UniQlo’s Namco tee-shirt tie-in this summer with a Pac-Man machine free-to-play in the middle of the store. While I understand Pac-Man’s place in the pantheon of video game characters, I began wondering what the connection was between Pac-Man and the urban environment.

Lo and behold dropped a gem in my lap the very next week with a link to this blog:

Chad Birch takes you on a detailed (and highly accessible) tour of the enemy AI in the Pac-Man game. Probably few players realize, aside from the truly hardcore, that each colored ghost in Pac-Man chases the round little hero in a different way, and that the ghosts are constantly making choices based on their programmed AI about where they want to move in relation to Pac-Man’s current location.

This location-based, spatial analysis of Pac-Man really hit home with my musings about Pac-Man’s place in the urban environment. Pac-Man’s adventures even take place on a grid that if you exploded it a bit could easily be the grid of Manhattan. So now the thrust of my project is to compare the urban denizen to Pac-Man and see if that relationship bares fruit. As de Certeau says, “To walk is to lack a place.” But does Pac-Man, in his endless walking of the maze, really lack a place? Or is his place and his enemy’s place constantly defined by his movement? Can the urban walker be accurately compared to Pac-Man?