The NYU Game Center is excited to be a part of the 10th Anniversary celebration of PacManhattan! Join us Friday, July 18 to play a game of PacManhattan at the 2014 Come Out and Play Festival in DUMBO. Why is PacManhattan important? NYU Game Center Director Frank Lantz offers his thoughts on why PacManhattan was such an interesting and influential game:

“In addition to making Pac-Man extremely social, PacManhattan also brings an extreme physicality to the game. Not just in terms of the athletic skill and nontrivial endurance required, but also in the way that the physical details of the urban environment affect the gameplay. Traffic, pedestrians, lines of sight, and points of access- all the complicated and arbitrary concreteness of the world- these things that are abstracted out of the platonic geometry of the Pac-Man maze become the endlessly surprising contours of PacManhattan’s unpredictable terrain. The public setting contributes a palpable sense of risk to the player experience, created not only by the physical danger of dodging cars and people in a crowded, busy urban environment, but also by the social buzz of behaving in a highly unconventional manner that cuts across the normal rules of civic life.”

PacManhattan started as a class project in 2004 and ended as a worldwide phenomenon. Frank Lantz and his Big Game students in NYU’s Interactive Telecommunications Program created and hosted a live action version of Pac-Man in the blocks surrounding Washington Square Park. The students broadcast the play on a Pac-Man board online and communicated location of the players through cell phones, maps and coordinates which were chalked onto street corners (while dressed up as the characters, of course). The game was not only fun, but opened the imaginations of spectators and the world, as the videos became viral and were shared on major news outlets all summer. The game has since been played in over 30 different cities by amateur Pac groups that took the source code and made it their own.

Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity to play PacManhattan. Reserve a spot in the game here. Players must be 16 or older to participate. An open (non-ticketed) session begins at 6pm on a first-come, first-served basis.

For more information on the rules and history of Pac Manhattan, visit the Pac Manhattan site.