Short of dressing in a yellow cushion and chasing strangers while making chomping sounds, playing real-life Pac-Man is just a gamer’s dream.
Google wants to help make that dream a reality. Sort of. Call it an early April Fool’s prank, or an appropriately timed online Easter egg: Folks can now play the classic arcade game Pac-Man in Google Maps.
“Avoid Blinky, Pinky, Inky, (and Clyde!) and you swerve the streets of some famous places around the world,” the Google Maps Help site said. “But eat the pac-dots fast, because the game will only be around for a little while.”
There is no word on when the feature will disappear, but timing isn’t the only restriction—Pac-Man in Google Maps is available only in select locations. Which users will have to decipher from a list of hints.
“Triumph is délicieux,” Google offered, alongside clues like, “Chomp your way to independence down seven lanes of July” or “Head to the valley of the sun and earn your grade in the art of the game.”
If you’re looking to waste some time at the office, open Google Maps on your computer and search for a place you think the game might be, using the hints listed online (“Even Vogue agrees they’re living in the trendiest of neighborhoods”).
Once you’ve found Pac-Man’s location, click the themed pin on the map; if no pins are available—because, for example, you’ve chosen your own neighborhood—click the Pac-Man tile on the bottom left of the screen.
Game play is exactly the same as you might remember it from those days sticking coins into an arcade cabinet; use the keyboard arrow keys to change direction, and press two at once to move diagonally.
After your five lives have been spent, click “Try again” to keep playing, or share your score via one of the social media options on the screen.
Similarly, mobile users can open the Google Maps app, find a location, and touch the Pac-Man button to get started. Swipe your finger to change direction, and try not to die five times.
In 2010, Google celebrated Pac-Man’s 30th anniversary with a homepage doodle that let people play the game right from Google.com. You can still test your skills on Google’s doodle page.
If this pixelated play still isn’t enough, smartphone and tablet owners can tap “Play again in the real world” to enjoy augmented-reality Pac-Man with Google’s Ingress.
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