As I type this, I have a day left in my well-earned San Francisco vacation, retiring for the evening after a day of inspiration and epiphany at the magnificent Ocean Beach along the beautiful Pacific. After several days of cleansing my mind, I figured now would be a great time to post about what’s been up with me lately.
Emporium Arcade Bar – 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Sorry, no pictures, and actually not a lot to say. My friend Steve from high school and whom I hadn’t seen in nearly fifteen years picked Emporium to have his 40th birthday party. Not being in regular touch with him over fifteen years made me completely unaware that Steve had become quite the arcade fan and has since owned a few classic arcade games, so this is why Emporium was his choice when it came to a place to celebrate his birthday.
In terms of selection, there aren’t really many games here, but the small number of games actually has an impressive ratio of core classics — Burgertime, Donkey Kong, Dig Dug, Missile Command, the usual suspects, I guess. And in keeping with the topic of this blog, the only Pac-Man games there are Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, both regular speed.
Now, this was my first time visiting a “barcade” of any kind, so I don’t know if this is the norm, but…the “arcade” part is obviously an afterthought. It’s not so much a place where you go to play games and drink — you go to drink and maybe play some games. And maybe you’ll get to hear the games’ sound effects, or if you yell loudly enough you can talk to someone, if you can somehow get through the ridiculously loud prerecorded music they play, much of which is loaded with language that will make you roll your eyes and think, “Your grandmother must be proud.” Perhaps the biggest giveaway that Emporium doesn’t want you gaming but drinking: the games are set at the hardest difficulty levels. So forget about setting official records here. As for the clientele, well…let’s just say they think they’re on spring break.
(By the way, I have $12 in Emporium tokens left over. Anybody want ’em? I don’t plan to go back to this joint.)
Ms. Pac-Man Minipattern Update
One good experience Emporium provided me: I tested my Ms. Pac-Man Turbo mini-pattern from my prior blog post on the Ms. Pac-Man box over there…and it worked. I also tested the mini-pattern later on in this post, and that too worked. However, be warned: I mentioned in my previous post that sometimes these mini-patterns might need to be adjusted on the fly due to the randomness in Ms. Pac-Man; I’ve found that in the regular-speed version, there’s a higher chance you’ll need to make last-minute adjustments more often. Good luck!
Ms. Pac-Man Turbo: Second Maze Prize Strategy
Let me make this perfectly clear: I hate the second maze. I hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it, and hate it. What really sucks is that you have to clear the second maze three times to get rid of it; the good news, though, is those are the only three times during the game that you’ll see this maze. Why do I hate it so much, though? Well, for one thing, it’s very difficult to eat all the ghosts on a single energizer. Also, as you’ll see with the screen cap in this post, there are a lot of danger zones. And most annoying of all, the two pairs of tunnels are very far apart.
Please note that last item: the two pairs of tunnels are very far apart. I was able to devise a pattern that places Ms. Pac-Man right next to a tunnel right about when the dancing prize comes out. Specifically, this pattern puts her next to one of the bottom tunnels. As you can probably tell by now, the problem is when the prize comes out of one of the top tunnels. The best I can tell you in this situation: sucks to be you.
Anyhoo, here is my mini-pattern for optimal placement when the prize pops out:
Unlike with my mini-pattern for the first maze, I don’t clear the bottom-center island first. Instead, I go straight for the 7-shaped island in the center left, one of the danger zones in the maze. The sooner you clear that thing, the better, as it’s very easy for Ms. Pac-Man to be trapped there. Try to avoid going back into that part of the maze later if at all possible.
Depending on the machine you’re playing, you might need to go a bit further than this pattern shows; on some machines, by the time you reach the tunnel the prize already comes out, but on other machines, go ahead into the tunnel and turn up or down on the other side to gobble up enough dots to trigger the prize. If it comes out of a bottom tunnel, you’re golden; if it comes out at the top, you’ll have to carefully make your way up to grab it.
As with my previous post, I’ve marked off the danger zones with red. Pretty much the entire island at the top can be dangerous, even if you manage to eat all the ghosts after swallowing an energizer at the top of the screen. The good news, though, is it’s often easy to eat all four ghosts inside that danger zone, as they tend to gather in there from time to time. I’ve marked off the center-right island as a danger zone as well, for the same reason that the center-left technically is as well.
Finally, I marked off the top tunnels with yellow, indicating that you should be very careful with using these tunnels. It’s easy to get trapped up there, but those tunnels can be life savers when used with great caution.
This mini-pattern usually works very well on all three occurrences of the second maze (that is, orange, pretzel, and apple levels), both on the standard Ms. Pac-Man and “turbo” variations. I hope this proves helpful.
Heck, perhaps for the next post I’ll just continue with the theme of Ms. Pac-Man Turbo “prize” patterns with the third maze, which makes its debut when you reach the pear level.