Waka waka waka waka
Google Maps streets become Pac-Man stages for April Fool’s Day
Google has marked April Fool’s Day by bringing the classic arcade game Ms. Pac-Man to Google Maps. On your phone, simply open the Google Maps app and you’ll see a new pink icon above the Current Location and Directions buttons. Tap it and you’ll be whisked to a playable Ms. Pac-Man stage, complete with ghosts, power pellets and fruits.
You begin with five lives and play by swiping on the touchscreen to navigate around the stage. The experience seems to differ on iOS and Android versions of the app, with reports that the latter doesn’t allow you to choose the streets you want to play on.
The desktop browser version of Google Maps also features the gag, with an “Insert coin” button on the bottom-left corner to the start the action. This version does let you choose the general location of the stage, and hovering over the button with your pointer will show a preview of the stage boundaries.
Depending on where your view is, the stage can be very simple or stupidly complex. From my own testing, streets must cross at least three sides of the viewing area to generate a stage. The downside of simple stages, of course, is that you can more easily be trapped between ghosts with nowhere to escape.
What makes this game more challenging than the original is that the wonky maze paths make for an unpredictable wraparound effect. In other words, when you cross the edge of the stage, you might know know where you’ll reappear on the opposite side.
For the best experience, try looking for areas that have curved, circular or merging roads. If you’re really brave, then seek out cul-de-sacs! Once you’ve run out of lives, you can share your score on social media or save it to a leaderboard by signing in.
For more information on how to play, check out the support page. The game will be available until April 4.