Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
14 October 2007
Ms. Pac-man and Everyday Shooter
I've loved every minute I've played of Everyday Shooter, but I've struggled to explain the attraction to myself. Today, I think I hit upon a partial answer: it makes me feel like I feel when I play Ms. Pac-man.

No, really.

Ms. Pac-man is a maze and ghosts and power pellets. Everday Shooter is Robotron-style shooting and dodging with Every Extend Extra chain reactions set to guitar riffs. Yet, they share some important qualities.

Both open with a few unique, appealing bars of music. I listen and prepare myself mentally for the challenge ahead. Playing Ms. Pac-man at a stand-up machine, I settle my stance and grip the joystick with the tips of my thumb, pointer, and middle fingers. For Everday Shooter, I close my eyes and enjoy the music and enjoy a moment of peace.

The music ends and the action begins. In Ms. Pac-man, I clear the maze of dots while leaving the power pellets for later. Similarly, I dodge the first few enemies in Everday Shooter as I prepare to set up chain reactions. (Or, on the second level, I attack the first stationary enemy. Or on the third, I shoot robots and look for the first large one to begin a chain. Und so weiter.) The work is menial, but essential.

With the stage set, I begin exploiting the system. Ms. Pac-man collects four ghosts per power pellet and catches the two fruit in each maze. As ghosts pin her in, she sneaks away with some quick moves. Similarly, the dot in Everyday Shooter starts setting off chains, harvesting points, while weaving amidst danger for all it is worth. With skill, the payoffs are substantial.

And when the wheels come off, as inevitably they do, I improvise. Ms. Pac-man may have to slip through the warps on the side of the screen a couple of times to get at a particularly isolated dot with ghosts patrolling nearby. In Everday Shooter, I botch the timing and suddenly the dot is racing to gain some measure of control of the screen all over again. Take out a few enemies and work toward stability again.

Ultimately, both games are about survival. I suppose you could say that Ms. Pac-man is about points, but I don't really pay attention to the points anymore except to pick up the extra Pac at 10000 points. Instead, I measure my success by how far into the sequence of mazes I survive (second banana is good for me, as I don't play much anymore) and how often I chomp more than two ghosts at a time on later levels. In Everday Shooter, I measure my success by how far into the sequence of levels I survive, and by the efficiency of my chaining. My score weakly reflects these qualities.

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--Matt Matthews at 00:12
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