You may beat Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde, boredom and your bladder but you will not beat binary.
Who is Inky, Pinky, Blinky and Clyde you ask? Well, they are the ghosts who relentlessly chase Pac-Man, like our greatest regrets constantly chase us, but that is another story. Although, designed to be an infinite game, without any ending, if you are good enough that is – which is more about endurance and concentration rather than skill, because every level after level 21 or 22 is identical. The makers of the game didn’t realise that anyone would be good enough or invested enough to continue playing the game and neither did they know that there was a glitch in the game.
The lesson here is, never underestimate obsessed gamers. They are always good enough and they always have the time, even if the game repeats itself incessantly. About six hours of game play and two hundred and thirty four more times to be exact. That’s how long it takes to reach level 255 and when you beat that level, hoping to do the exact same thing for another level, is when you get the dreaded kill screen.
This makes us think that Pac-Man is a more accurate representation of our lives than you’d guess about a game involving a circle running around a maze eating dots forever and ever until one day when you finally reach the dreaded end screen.
Philosophy aside, what is it that makes the game go bust on level 256? It’s simple really, the original Pac-Man was an 8 bit video game. And what that meant was that they had eight lines inside
the processor for carrying the numbers on, which limited what
the computer could do. We all know that computers count in Binary. So this means, that when you have reached level 256, you have run out of space to carry the last binary 1. The computer, simply doesn’t have a number big enough to store that value. That is why 8-bit computers can only count to the number 255. And thus Binary scuppers the compulsive gamer where the game itself can’t!
Pac-Man: Life allusions and binary lessons. Game your way to learning something new everyday!