Sunday, 19 April 2015

Pac-Man lottery ticket

Back in my blog's previous (and still more-popular, despite being officially discontinued) incarnation, last summer I blogged about a Frogger-themed lottery ticket. It was one of my more oddball moments, but ... well, yesterday my partner tried to cheer me up and make up for a disappointing garage sale experience ({{RING RING}} "Did you see the box of Gamecube stuff?" "No, I'm coming right over!" "OK, it's right over... oh, never mind, some dude just walked off with the whole box.") by buying me one while we were stocking up on some pick-me-ups for a bedridden family member in the hospital. This can only disappoint, I thought... but then I realised I could blog about it! Now we're cooking!
OK, tabula rasa. From here, anything is possible! But first, let's review the rules! (Why? After all, I know Pac-Man inside and out!)
Now, I made a number of scans illustrating all the twists and turns this scratch game led me on, and was prepared to craft for you a picture-heavy and, frankly, somewhat over-padded blog post. But after uploading the step-by-step scans, I find that Google Auto Awesome has knitted together all the stages into an animated .GIF which, quite frankly, does more with less. So here we go:
I get off to a bad start, interpreting the top-left legend for Pac-Man's orientation -- always follow the open mouth -- as applying to the pre-scratched Pac in the starting position without internalizing anything about the first part of the first step: to scratch off his starting position first. Somehow I scratch a little extra and indicate to myself that I've taken an unsanctioned step in the wrong direction, and recover my footing.

An orange bonus? I suppose fruit are in keeping with traditional Pac-ish bonus themes. A bell? C'mon, now we're just veering into one-armed bandit territory, and it's without that drag factor that I'm trying to enjoy this lotto card! A second bell? Two thirds of the way to a $5000 payoff! But the rule of these things is always that you get the high-paying bonuses started off first, to get you excited, and then you never, ever see them completed. Kind of like collecting E-X-T-E-N on the first level of Bubble Bobble and just never having a chance to pop a D. But I digress.

The goal of this game is to be led into one of the question-mark gates (they're not mysteries, we know where they're supposed to lead: to the opposing gate!), and I'm expecting to be taken on the quickest route there, but this game surprises me by leading me on a merry and protracted chase. It even leads through my first, mis-scratched square, at which I make a quick sigh of relief.

A P for Pac? You're not trying, guys. The ghost as the lousiest bonus type? No: when you encounter a ghost, that should end play. I must confess to a soupcon of curiosity regarding what hides beneath the scratch foil in the ghost pen, but not enough to have spoiled my game and revealed them. (And what happens when your travels take you over a power pill?)

Second apple... come on, medium money... second orange... aaaand, we're done.

But wait, there are type 2 and type 3 games! They lack what you could call the care and maintenance of continuity and canon that went into the main game (Ladybug, horseshoe, vault... have you even played Pac-man?) All losses as well.

Does this work better or worse as a theme for a lotto scratch game than Frogger did? Unclear. A bit part of Pac-Man's dynamic is moving around the moving ghosts (and of course the drive to collect all the dots), absent here. It's just kind of a totally different game wearing a Pac-man costume. Both of these games are a bit like freezing time and wandering around a board typically filled with movement, so I wonder what kind of game might be a better fit for this style of gameplay. Sokoban? Tiger / Game & Watch-style LCD games!

Back In The Day, there were non-lottery experiments with selling video-game-themed scratch-off card games to the baseball card / Garbage Pail Kid demographic, so this kind of mash-up isn't unprecedented -- and back then, it didn't even have nostalgia as an excuse. (Video games were admittedly a burgeoning mass culture phenomenon at the time, so maybe they didn't need it.)

OK, this concludes my extraordinary post! Back to more typical themes you've seen more of recently! Cheers.