Believe It or Not, This Is Pac-Man

Date:28 January 2019 Author: Brendon Petersen Tags:, ,

You know Pac-Man as that happy little yellow pie-chart-lookin’ dude who gorges himself on pellets and then has a few ghosts for dessert. And while that is how it looks on a screen, behind the scenes Pac-Man, just like any video game, is actually just a boatload of math.

This is what that looks like:


What hacker Michael Fogleman has done here is gone behind the scenes of the NES version of Pac-Man using an emulator to look at the math that’s hiding back there. The chart is a visualisation of how every variable required to make the game run changes over the course of ten seconds of play. Each of these variables is then plotted as a “sparkline,” or in other words a small line graph.

If that still feels a little abstract, this example might help:


If you find the resulting image as fascinating as I do, there’s good news: Fogleman actually sells these images on his website, and takes commissions for any NES game you can think of, with the results being a unique print captured from a unique ten seconds of play. At $150 (R2 040), they’re a bit pricey, so maybe you’ll have to satisfy yourself by admiring them on the screen. But if you really want to commission a beautiful keepsake generated from a classic game like Yo! Noid, you know where to turn.

Source: Michael Fogleman

Originally posted on Popular Mechanics

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