Dots, fruit, speed and pills: the Happy Consciousness of Pac-Man

Wade, Alex (2015) Dots, fruit, speed and pills: the Happy Consciousness of Pac-Man. Journal for Cultural Research, 19 (3). pp. 248-261. ISSN 1479-7585

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Spanning 30 years and 40 individual videogames across a range of platforms, Pac-Man is one of the most recognizable of all videogame characters and a pop–culture icon. In spite of its widespread popularity, the game receives little sustained academic engagement or analysis. In an attempt to address this, the paper argues that in its classic iterations Pac-Man generates complex notions of space and time which are indicative of changing cultural, ethical and political considerations in wider society. This is explored through recourse to Borges’ work on labyrinths, Bauman’s discussion of the ethical position of videogames, Poole’s rejoinder and Ritzer’s critique of consumerism, ultimately arguing that the dynamics, themes and leitmotifs evident in Pac-Man are experienced by gamers, consumers and citizens described in Marcuse’s One Dimensional Society, whereby the welfare and warfare state coalesce to generate the Happy Consciousness

Item Type: Article
25 March 2015Published
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-02 - sociology
CAH24 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01 - media, journalism and communications > CAH24-01-05 - media studies
Divisions: Faculty of Health, Education and Life Sciences > Centre for Study of Practice and Culture in Education (C-SPACE)
Depositing User: Alex Wade
Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2017 15:35
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 17:00

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