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Pac Manhattan Creator Speaks Out! 36

simoniker writes "Frank Lantz, who used to work at game developer Gamelab and helped create Pac Manhattan, the real-life version of Pac-Man set in the streets of New York, has been talking in detail about his new company, area/code, which has been set up to create 'large-scale, real-world games'. Lantz comments: 'I've also always felt that digital games were more properly understood as a subset of games, rather than as a subset of computer media. In other words, for me Counter-Strike has more in common with tennis and golf than people tend to think. Ditto for World of Warcraft and Chess.' Is the next wave of innovation in gaming going to occur nowhere near the video game screen?"
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Pac Manhattan Creator Speaks Out!

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  • I really hope someone goes somewhere with the thoughts here. Sure we have the tired old cliche of the more theings change the more they stay the same but I really enjoy the strategy elements of both Chess and WoW. I cant quite see the Counter stike tennis similarity but then I havent played CS. The whole next gen thing could become a lot more interesitng.
    • It's probably due to the repetitive, back-and-forth style, except that if you want to one-up your opponent, you need to find their weaknesses, and there's creativity.
  • by EnVisiCrypt ( 178985 ) <> on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:31PM (#15907325)
    Farging larpers... ;)
  • correct link (Score:4, Informative)

    by twitter ( 104583 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @08:39PM (#15907362) Homepage Journal
    http://www.pacmanhattan/ [www.pacmanhattan]

    Now I'm going to go read the site before the bots pick up the mistake and start DOSing it.

  • I had never heard of this before. $\/\/ee7! Sounds like a lot of fun, too.
  • So, from watching the videos, this seems to be a glorified version of tag. Which was fun and all, when I was 5 (especially Cartoon Tag!) but doesn't hold a lot of appeal to a 30-something guy who isn't exactly in the best shape of his life. I'm curious if this is something that the late teen/early 20s crowd would really be interested in.
  • by Jerf ( 17166 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:09PM (#15907501) Journal
    Is the next wave of innovation in gaming going to occur nowhere near the video game screen?
    You mean, "augmented reality" gaming?

    This being slashdot, I'll spell out my implication: This isn't an entirely new idea. In fact, most demos of augmented reality that I've seen involve gaming.

    The problem is still technology. We're in the Atari 2600 phase of augmented reality gaming, if that. Probably not, since one of the distinguishing characteristics of the 2600 was the fact it could take carts to play multiple games. We're probably, technically, still in the "Pong in the arcade" era. (Or even "Pong in the lab", moving towards "Pong in the arcade".)

    The next innovation is probably still going to be the Wii. (Not trying to be a fanboy.)

    However, the Wii will be part of the inevitable progression towards augmented reality gaming; I know it technically doesn't have the first Wii-mote-like functionality, but it will be the first platform to get more developers thinking about it, using it, experimenting with it, and generally putting the technology through its paces. That will most likely be very useful input for true augmented-reality gaming.

    And if we're really lucky, the 360 and PS3 will follow through on some of the abortive attempts to bring image processing up to the point where it could match some of the Wiimote functionality. I still think there will be a period when you're going to hold something, but the image processing power and experience will still be necessary.

    By the time all this software innovation has taken place, perhaps the hardware will be in place. But it won't be "the next wave of innovation". It's at least two waves down the road. Think ten years, not ten months.

    That said, pong in the arcade is also a necessary first step towards the development of the video games of today that we know and love. Don't think I disapprove of what Frank Lantz is trying; in fact I approve wholeheartedly. I just don't think what he is doing is "the next wave of innovation".
  • by SirSlud ( 67381 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:27PM (#15907587) Homepage
    Okay, I've been here 8 years. I've never taken a shot at Zonk in my life. I'll get modded down to -infinity, and I'm cool with that.

    But one day, I'll know the apocolypse is nigh when I read a Zonk post where the last phrase is,

    "Could taking a long piece of sharp metal, through the nostril, straight out the back of your head, be the cure for the common cold?"

    Thats Zonks formula for journalistic creativity. Maybe even slashdot at this point. Every post ends with,

    "Could having sexual relations with a small creature that inhabits the bottom of the deep sea possibly lead to an increase in social awareness about the plight of amputatee pigeons in New York?"

    The answer is no, largly because the question is 99.99% rhetorical, and hopefully in 5 years when no advertising is cost-per-impression, 99.99% unprofitable.
    • Re:Zonk's playbook (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Vorondil28 ( 864578 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @09:55PM (#15907692) Journal
      SirSlud: I don't particularly like/dislike any of the Slashdot editors (Zonk included), but I have to agree with you. I propose such a finish to an article be called a "zonkism."
      Everyone: Mod this up and/or tag stories containing one or more zonkism(s) thusly if you agree.
      • Remember that AC who would run around posting an FP calling for Zonk's resignation and suggesting that TripMaster Monkey replace him (here's a link [] if you don't)? I remember the phrase "the /. effect is to a DDoS attack as a Zonkism is to a crapflood". In the post's context, a Zonkism was any editorial mistake made by Zonk, such as the broken link on this story.

        I like your definition better, but you should keep in mind the fact that someone already used it in case a stream of GNAA lawyers come pouring in
    • "Could taking a long piece of sharp metal, through the nostril, straight out the back of your head, be the cure for the common cold?"
      Deer SirSnud:

      I have tnied yourn snennessthion aand I fuund it duz nut wurk.

      Pnease anvise.

      Sninsneerly, Jurf.
    • Except the whole thing is a quote. Zonk didn't write it, he just quoted it.

      Besides, it looks like the Ask Slashdot formula to me: []
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @10:59PM (#15907978) Homepage

    There are lots of large-scale games you can play if you have the time, dedicated people, and money. Paintball, for example. Foxhunting. Geocaching. Push balls. Big mazes. Thunderdome at Burning Man.

    The logistics tend to get you, and the cost per player-hour tends to be high. If you cut costs too much, you don't get the feeling of the exotic needed to make it work. If you screw up the game design, people can be hurt. This stuff tends not to scale well.

    Then there's the problem that if you do anything wierd in an urban setting today, the lower level anti-terrorism people have a cow.

    What these guys really seem to be doing is running an ad agency that does sponsored public stunts.

    • Yeah, basically what these people are doing, at best, is making up nerdy sports. Their pacman game is modified Tag, which I've enjoyed since childhood. Only you play it in a big city, making it significantly more difficult to set up and execute, but good for a goofy new story the first time it happens.

      If you're that desperate for things to do, and you don't mind physical activity, there's already hundreds of sports to try. Most of which already have developed and sensible rules, well designed and reasonably
  • The problem (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NexFlamma ( 919608 )
    The problem with the idea of setting up large-scale real-world games as an alternative to video games is that they go against what makes video games so attractive in the first place.

    In a (good) video game, you are taken out of your reality and allowed to live out a great fantasy world. Whether it be World Of Warcraft, or Madden or Halo, these are simply not scenarios that you can recreate without either a huge financial investment, time investment or by creating very real danger to yourself. A video game
  • GTA (Score:2, Funny)

    by 5plicer ( 886415 )
    Let's hope he doesn't start a real-life version of GTA!
  • This reminds me of LASSY [] (Live Action Super Scotland Yard) that they played in Toronto. Though LASSY seems like it would be more fun than just randomly running around streets playing tag
  • from Steve Jackson games? Probably the closest I've ever been to a true outdoor computer game. Let me tell you the first time somebody car bombs you (gets into your car and turns the radio volume all the way up)is a day you don't forget.

Wishing without work is like fishing without bait. -- Frank Tyger