July 4


The Pac-Man Strategy

I played Pac-Man for the first time in several years. What a brilliant game. Everyone should be required to play it at least a few times a year.

If you've never played, it works like this.

You're Pac-Man - a yellow circle with a mouth - in a maze. The maze is filled with dots. The object of the game is to eat all of the dots.


There are four ghosts trying to kill you.

Not to fear, however!

In the four corners of the maze are four larger dots that turn the ghosts blue. Making them vulnerable so you can temporarily vanquish them back to the center of the maze from whence they came.

To succeed at Pac-Man, you need a strategy. If you go in random directions, you're going to be stuck scrambling for dots all over the map while the ghosts swarm you.

Will you work from the outside in? Will you grab the big dots first so you're "safe" for longer? Will you bother grabbing the "fruit" for extra points?

(Not that extra points do much in Pac-Man other than give you a higher score...and let's face it, high scores in video games aren't really a thing anymore.)

My personal strategy is to go after the four "quadrants" of dots. Then, there is an invincibility dot handy if you're pursued by ghosts before you finish that quadrant.

But, strategy isn't enough. 

As you execute, you have to look ahead in the maze. Anticipate where ghosts will pursue you, and change course non-stop. Looking at all the direction possibilities, and making a split-second decision which one to take.

Repeat, repeat, repeat, over and over again.

That's how you win at Pac-Man.

And incidentally, at life.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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