One of the first activities I have students do in Gamestar Mechanic as we move into video game design is to “hack” a traditional video game and make it their own. This all ties into some of the earlier work in our digital literacies workshop for high school students about the hacking and remixing culture. This summer, the task was to Hack PacMan, which grounded a lot of our discussions around topics such as top-down versus platformer; the use of backgrounds and colored blocks; the levels of complexity between an impossible game and an easy game; and more.
The simplicity of the classic game itself — basically a one-screen maze with a task and enemies — allows an entry point for just about everyone, from seasoned game veterans to newbies. It’s interesting to see where they take the concept of Pacman, too, as some try to replicate the original and others barely acknowledge PacMan in their game.
Want to try one of the games out?
Peace (in the maze),