Pac-Man redux

It’s been a month since Google celebrated the thirtieth anniversary of the video game Pac-Man.

According Google VP Marrisa Mayer, Google was “overwhelmed” but “not surprised” with its success.

So, due to the great demand, access to the interactive Pac-Man doodle is now permanent and can be accessed at:

1) To begin a game, click the “Insert Coin” button, it’s located where the “I’m Feeling Lucky Button” is found. If you want to play with two people, click the “Insert Coin” button twice. Additionally when two players decide to go at it, Ms. Pac-Man joins the fun.
2) Want to / Need to mute Pac-Man’s sounds? No problem. A mute button is located in the lower left corner of the game. Click to toggle it on, click again to toggle it off.
3) From the Google blog, “Pac-Man is controlled with arrow keys or by clicking on the maze, Ms. PAC-MAN using the WASD keys.


Pac-Man anniversary

Google offers a free online Pac-Man game to celebrate the game’s 30th anniversary.  To play Pac-Man on the Google home page, click “Insert Coin” and when the word “Ready!” appears, use the arrow keys to control your Pac-Man.  Only hurry! The interactive game is posted through Sunday May 23rd only.

Table top Pac-Man game

It’s hard to believe Pac-Man turns 30 today, and while it wasn’t my first video game (that honor goes to Pong), Pac-Man still holds a special place in my heart.

My wife and I played Pac-Man in video game arcades, on our Atari 2600 video game console, and on the table top version I gave her as a gift.  And yes, both games are stored safely away in my bedroom closet.  And they still work!

Care to share your video game memories with us? I recall riding my bike with my high school buddy to Long Island’s Roosevelt Field Mall to play the only Pong game in Nassau County.  We poured quarters into that machine, playing for hours.  At that time in the 1970s the mall had enclosed walkways connecting the stores.  It was usually deserted on Saturday mornings in the summer.

Pac-Man links:
Google Celebrates Pac-Man’s 30th Birthday with an Awesome Playable Google Doodle from Geekosystem
Celebrating PAC-MAN’s 30th birthday from The Official Google Blog

Atari 2600


Art of the Search Engine

Google continues its efforts to establish itself as the world’s premiere search engine.  Their strategy is broad and far-ranging, addressing multiple populations, including us art lovers.  Today’s Google doodle celebrates the life of artist Mary Cassat.

marycassatt09Google doodles, the drawings that are designed on, around and through the Google logo on its home page, have long been part of Google’s history.  We’ve written about them before.

Doodle 4 Google, a competition where K-12 students are invited to reinvent Google’s homepage logo.  Google partners with the Smithsonian’s, Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum for the competition. We love the Cooper Hewitt!

What’s become evident is that the Internet contains an amazing volume of data, difficult to sort and transform into useful information.  Search engines are tools that can help us.   And Google isn’t the only one. provides a visual alternative to Google.  Try this search for “art” and flip though the pages of results.

BananaSLUG provides a different way of looking at the Internet.  The search engine search engine “designed to promote serendipitous surfing” by “throw[ing] in a random word from a category of your choice. This results in pages you probably overlooked. They all have your search term in them, but the added twist gives you something new every time.”

With  Spific The Finding Engine you can search the entire Internet or Select a specific topic for a tailored search experience.

Leapfish is described as “the first multi-dimensional information aggregator and search portal in the world. Our goal is to gather, organize and render the most relevant information from the internet’s most valuable destinations for each users search, in one single simple shot.”

New Statistics from Pew: Search Engine Use:

The percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one-half (49%). With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet all-time killer app, on a typical day.

Looking for other ways to tame the beast that is the World Wide Web?  Go to:  Web Search FAQ: The Most Popular Web Search Questions Answered for some answers.


Seeing changes everything

The Google doodle magritte08google-21recently reminded us that November 21, 2008 marked the 110th anniversary of the birth of Belgian surrealist artist René Magritte. Magritte’s long-term influence on art, and especially on advertising, has been profound. And he taught the art world an important lesson:  Seeing changes everything.
Take one of Magritte’s most notorious paintings, “La Trahison des Images” (“The Treachery of Images”) (1928-9) also referred to as “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” (“This is not a pipe”). The painting is of an exquisitely fashioned tobacco pipe. By painting below the pipe the phrase “This is not a pipe,” Magritte disorients the viewer and presents a pretty puzzle: What does the artist mean?
Early on in my art viewing career I was enthralled by Magritte’s puzzle and came up with my own solution.  The image is not a pipe but instead a complex of colors and textures, with no meaning until applied by the viewer. Therein lies the treachery (Trahison) of the image. A painting doesn’t exist within the boundaries of the external picture plane, only taking on its true life within the mind of the viewer. It is in the very act of perception, that process wherein the human mind processes visual images, assigns meaning, and invokes emotion, that an artwork is created.  Seeing, the act of perception, changes everything.   


“The famous pipe. How people reproached me for it! And yet, could you stuff my pipe? No, it’s just a representation, is it not? So if I had written on my picture ‘This is a pipe,’ I’d have been lying!”  –René Magritte  (Source: Wikipedia)

Magritte applied the surrealist elements of surprise, unexpected juxtapositions and non sequitur to represent everyday objects such as pipes and bowler hats in disturbing and unfamiliar contexts. He attempted to dislocate our assumptions about reality and to remove the viewer from the realm of easy, readily verbalized concepts into a realm of ideas that, he said, were “capable of becoming visible only through painting.”

Magritte challenges the way we see the world. 

‘We see [the world] as being outside ourselves even though it is only a mental representation of it that we experience inside ourselves.’  Seeing is an epistemological puzzle in which ‘visible things always hide other visible things’ and ‘our gaze always wants to penetrate further so as to see at last the object, the reason for our existence.’  (Source: The Endearing Truth by John Updike. New Republic, 11/2/92, Vol. 207, Issue 19)

Magritte’s traditional painterly skills subtly add to our disorientation.  This is not the exotic and complicated surrealism of Salvador Dali, with rubbery pocket watches draped over tree branches. Nor does Magritte exhibit the striking persona of surrealist painters.  Magritte appears as the Son of Man, the everyman, a middle-class banker in his suit and bowler hat.

magritte_thesonofman1  The Son of Man  by René Magritte (1964), oil on canvas

The critic George Melly wrote, “He is a secret agent.  His object is to bring into disrepute the whole apparatus of bourgeois reality. Like all saboteurs, he avoids detection by dressing and behaving like everybody else.”   (Source: Remembering Magritte by Dick Leonard. Europe. May 1998. Issue 376)

Magritte would enjoy the humor found in the Magritta chair.   

Google has created doodles for other artists such as Marc Chagall, Leonardo DaVinci, Pablo Picasso, Diego Velazquez, and Andy Warhol.


The art of doodling

I suppose we can’t hide it anymore, and why should we?  MadSilence has become enamored with Google doodles.
Here are a few more examples.  Enjoy!

    The 2008 China Olympics!

  Artist Marc Chagall

  Beatrix Potter

On a related note…stay tuned for an upcoming MadSilence post:
The art of the search engine, or, Has Google made us stupid?

Related MadSilence posts:
Doodle extravaganza
Google doodle honors artist
HoW to pLaY WeLL: Learn to LEGO®

Related link:  Holiday Logos and Events – Google style!


Doodle extravaganza

Did you notice the chrome tulips displayed on Google’s homepage on April 30th?  They’re part of a special Google doodle done by artist Jeff Koons.  They also marked the launch of the iGoogle Artists project, which allows users to customize their iGoogle homepages with original designs by artists from around the globe.  Read more about the project here.  Apparently Koons is not the only notable personage participating in the project.  Artists, designers and other notables involved include, but are not limited to, Dale Chihuly, Coldplay, Diane von Furstenberg, Dolce & Gabbana, Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Michael Graves, Philippe Starck, Robert Mankoff, Mark Morris, Oscar de la Renta, Anne Geddes and Tory Burch. 

Why would any artist choose to participate?  Obviously Google makes an incredible platform to display an artist’s work.  And I’m confident the billion dollar company pays well.  For Google, of course, the benefits are clear in the competition for search engine market share.   

Google’s webmaster, Dennis Hwang, is the artist behind the Google doodle.  His drawings are viewed by nearly 180 million people a day!  Business Week profiled Hwang in June 2007. 

Also coming up from Google is the announcement of the finalist in the Doodle 4 Google design competition for K-12 students.  Go here to vote for your favorite.  Look for the winning design to be announced on May 22.

Friendship Rules by Jordan Perry



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