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Visualizing Ms. Pac-Man High Scores


I was a kid during the early 1980’s, the golden age of arcade video games. I loved going to the arcade and using whatever pocket money I had to play video games. One of my favorites was Pac-Man, which is probably the most iconic and most famous video game of all time. Unlike many other games, it is possible to achieve a perfect score in the game. The first to do this was Billy Mitchell, scoring 3,333,360 points on July, 1999, a feat that has since been repeated by six others, according to Wikipedia.

Though Pac-Man was created by Namco, Ms. Pac-Man was developed by programmers from the General Computer Corporation, who intended to sell it as an enhancement kit for the Pac-Man arcade game. Due to some legal concerns surrounding prior enhancement packs, the programmers decided to present the game to Namco, who bought it and released it as the second game in the Pac-Man series (Wikipedia). The game was an instant hit and became one of the most popular video games of all time.

I personally remember playing both Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man as a kid and, in my opinion, Ms. Pac-Man is by far the more superior game. And, unlike Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man cannot be perfected. According to Twin Galaxies, an American organization which tracks video game world records, the highest score ever achieved in Ms. Pac-Man was 933,580 by Abdner Ashman in April, 2006. Only four other players have ever scored more than 900,000. Twin Galaxies’ website has a list of the top 66 scores, so I decided it would be fun to visualize these in Tableau. Below is the visualization and you can see the full viz here. Be sure your volume is turned up!



Ken Flerlage, March 26, 2017


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