Pac-Man—the little yellow guy who runs around a dark room eating as many pills as possible while being chased by four ghosts—is coming to DUMBO to do a live-action version of his popular video game act.
On Friday July 18th, international celebrity Mister Pac-Man himself (or rather, someone dressed like him) will be running around the streets of DUMBO and will apparently be controlled using social media accounts and cell phones. The ghosts are played by four other players who are also being controlled by THE UNSEEN HANDS OF THE DEVIL HIMSELF players on their cell phones, who'll have a full view of the "game" (via sat-nav systems and Apple/Google Maps) and will be able to control the players on the ground. Players take turns being either a ghost or Pac-Man and everyone has a big, fun day running around one of Brooklyn's toniest neighborhoods. Oh, and to make matters more interesting, they still have to follow city street rules such as traffic lights. We wouldn't want Pac-Man running into traffic, right? How else is he supposed to get the cherries? Oh, those rascally, rascally cherries.
Tickets are available here. The event runs from 3-6pm (and spaces are filling up as you read this very sentence). You have to arrive at 30 John Street in DUMBO with a charged cell phone in order to play. Roles will be assigned at random; you'll either be a ghost or Pac-Man or a controller from the home base at 30 John.
The Pac-Man day is being run by NYU's Tisch School Of The Arts and their Interactive Telecommunications Program. The program director Franc Lantz has this to say:
“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.”
Which is all a great big way to say that you should get to DUMBO on the 18th for an unforgettable social experience. Or possibly just to watch adult humans dress as ghosts and run around the neighborhood. Whatever floats your boat.