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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pacman as a microcosm of life : 10 things I've learned by playing

Pacman was (and to some extent still is) a very popular game. Its entertaining and addictive and like crack cocaine to us competitive types.
But lately I'm thinking that Pacman really teaches you some very vital and yet subliminal life lessons both at the same time. Here are my top 10.
1. If you play it enough you learn one very important thing: if you want to get the highest score you are really capable of....value your lives above all else. Don't put getting points above preserving life...and after living life long enough you learn the same thing. Money and things have some value for sure..but they are never more important than life and people and those who don't respect that will surely come up empty at some point.
2. If you don't have a plan and execute your will always fail to do your best. Aimlessly just eating up dots and going after ghosts just leads to failure. There has to be a plan and some purpose to your actions to do your best. Life works the same way...passion and desire only take you so far...moths flying into the light can attest to that.
3. Life is also about risk/reward. Can I get that ghost before he changes and eats me instead of me eating worth it is it to try when the risk is he could get me at any time? Life is like that as well. Is it really worth it to cut into traffic to save 2 seconds and potentially risk the rest of your life. Sadly, many learn this lesson the hard way and live to regret the risk they took for really no reward of any substance.
4. In Pacman as in life, sometimes you just have to pause and regroup before you carry on. Take a few seconds or minutes between levels and then attack that next level with full fervor. Trying to do it all in one shot without proper rest and attention only leads to just get there faster.
5. In almost anything you do in life...focus is very important. In Pacman the minute you take your eye off the prize and start looking around or focus too narrowly, you get reminded that is a huge mistake. Focus is a double edged sword, and in life when you have too narrow or too broad a focus you always suffer. The right balance is the key.
6. When you play Pacman, you learn at a certain point that you've got to take some calculated risks to get the ultimate high score..and safe means not getting there most of the time. Life is like that at well. The key is calculated and well meant risks, but you must step out of your comfort zone and do that if you want to truly get what you want.
7. You learn very quickly in Pacman that if you make a mistake or have a setback you just have to move on quickly, forget it and just keep playing to the best of your ability, or you just will make a second mistake and before you know it..its game over. Life for sure works like this as well, you have a setback..forget it and move on, we all make mistakes and the key is not let them lead to secondary needless mistakes you wouldn't normally make... don't let one simple mistake lead to a lifetime of sequential mistakes, only you and the ones you love lose in that scenario.
8.Pacman appears to be a very simple game...gather points and get all the dots eaten before the chasers eat you. However, there are many metaphoric aspects to the game. Most prominent is the biblical reference of the forbidden fruit. If you notice the first fruit shown in game one is the apple. Most of us learn when playing that rarely do you get to eat the apple and not have serious consequences, namely the loss of life in Pacman and generally you don't even always get to eat the apple and the loss of a life still comes. As in the bible, life many times works like this. They don't call it "forbidden fruit" for nothing and most learn in life to regret trying to eat it. Pacman works exactly the same and many a potential good game has been ruined trying to "get a little more" without anticipating the consequences of such an action.
9. Pacman as in life, know when your beat and just move on. Hard advice but a must in both scenarios. Dwelling does no good and serves to only hamper future success.
10.And finally to sum it all hard, work hard, be smart..not too smart..cause you are not that smart....lose the game..dont lose the lessons.

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