Google Pac-Man Destroyed the Economy

Remember when you went to Google a few days ago and were shocked to see the Pac-Man game? You played it, didn’t you? Come on, of course you did. How could you not?

The game was in honor of the 30th anniversary of the classic arcade game. Here’s a brief overview of its history.

Pac-Man is one of the few early games to have survived the novelty of the arcade era. The addictive video offering with that minimalist chomping circle has been tweaked and remade repeatedly; there have been more than 50 versions of the landmark maze game. More than 10 billion games of Pac-Man have been played worldwide. Back in the day, Namco licensed nearly 294,000 arcade editions of the original, and its success spawned numerous ancillary cottage industries. The awful, funky rock of a song called “Pac-Man Fever,” for instance, didn’t stop the song from climbing quickly to No. 9 on the Billboard charts. It went gold in March 1982 and eventually sold 2.5 million copies.

For the record, “Pac-Man Fever” is painful to hear.

But regardless, this indeed is an important milestone in American cultural history. Back in the 80s, Pac-Man was incredibly addictive. People kept playing it until they ran out of quarters.

Oh, speaking of Pac-Man and running out of money

When Google launched its Pac-Man logo on Friday, we immediately heard amused groans in our tweet-streams. “Well, so much for my morning,” said one. “Google’s Pac Man logo just ruined millions of dollars in productivity today, nationwide,” said another.

Interesting. But do we have any facts to back that up?

  • Google Pac-Man consumed 4,819,352 hours of time (beyond the 33.6m daily man hours of attention that Google Search gets in a given day)
  • $120,483,800 is the dollar tally, If the average Google user has a COST of $25/hr (note that cost is 1.3 – 2.0 X pay rate).
  • For that same cost, you could hire all 19,835 google employees, from Larry and Sergey down to their janitors, and get 6 weeks of their time. Imagine what you could build with that army of man power.
  • $298,803,988 is the dollar tally if all of the Pac-Man players had an approximate cost of the average Google employee.

Oh. So instead of focusing on their jobs and making money, several million people decided to waste time playing! Well, all I can say is thank God the game only lasted for one day.

(By the way, Google has made the page permanent. Have fun.)