My Life as Pacman

WazeIf you’re going to be driving around all day for work, you might as well make a game out of it.

I’ve been using Waze for the past few months while I drive.  Waze is a navigation and mapping game for your GPS enabled smart phone.  It gathers data based on driving habits of users to build their map network.  The fun part is that you can update real-time data such as the location of the police, traffic jams, or accidents.  If you’re wondering why traffic is backed up for 20 miles on the highway, fire up Waze and see if anyone else is on.

But that’s all boring stuff because there’s points to earn!

When I first fired up Waze in December I saw a candy cane at the four way stop down the street.  I didn’t know why, but I needed to get that candy cane.  Sitting on the couch, I zoomed out to see if anyone else was about the get that candy cane.  There was another “Wazer” about 150 miles away.  I jumped in my car at midnight to capture the candy cane before anyone else could.  When I drove over it, a message popped up on my phone saying that I had collected 500 points!  Sweet!

Since I was already about I began looking for other things to collect.  I saw a snowflake 2 miles away.  The clocked glared at me – 12:14AM.  Just a bit of time. It was a work night.

When I ran over the snowflake I found 50 points deposited to my account.  A measly 10% of my earlier score.  I see how it is, Waze, get me hooked and back off the gas pedal.  Well I was hooked and I wasn’t backing off my gas pedal.  I saw another delicious candy cane about 15 miles north in the next town surrounded by a few snowflakes.  Another Wazer could pop on at any moment and take my candy cane!  I went on.

And I went on.  When the sun began to rise I decided that I had collected enough points.  I reached for my phone and nearly burned my hands from burning up the processor all night.  The battery was nearly dead but I was the newest and fastest up and comer in the Waze community.

Just a few more miles...

Since that day I figured out Waze’s scheme.  They put down cookies (which also earn you points) all over the road to encourage you to collect GPS data for their maps.  They put down treats, (today they are cupcakes) to encourage you to drive off the beaten path to collect this extra GPS data for the less traveled areas.

So the world is now a giant Pacman game and if you so choose, you can play the star.

The normal dots only garner you a few points but far out number the treats.  I found out the hard way when I first saw a cupcake off the highway.

Not wanting lose out on see how many points a cupcake gave, I turned the wheel hard left when I was on the highway.  Some cars honked.  I jumped over the median and crashed through a fence.  When I got through a very rude person’s backyard, I pounced on the cupcake that was sitting in the road a few houses down.

As soon as I collected the cupcake, I heard that very familiar Pacman Power Pellet siren!  Then I saw 3 ghost cars coming towards me.  Stupid ghosts, their lights were flashing on top so I knew that I could eat them for points as well!  I hit the gas and ran into the closest ghost car.  I know the first ghost is like 200 points, but you get double points for each one after.  I tried to get more of the ghosts but my car wouldn’t go anymore.

People got out of the ghost cars and told me to surrender.  Crud.  My Power Pellet must have ran out.

Power Pellets don't last long enough...

It turns out that the Waze game is a little different that real life Pacman.  When you run into a flashing ghost you end up getting put into the Pacman Ghost pen for a few days before they take you to Pacman court.  I can’t wait until I get to go to Pacman court because they said they’ll give me my phone back so I can see how many Waze points I earned today!