back to article Boffins play 'Pac-Man' with tiny living organisms

Topflight boffins in America have well and truly gasted the world's flabber by building a sort of miniaturised live arena version of Pac-Man, in which players guide minuscule single-celled organisms to gobble up little balls. The game of 'Pac-mecium' being played. Credit: L A Cicero, Stanford University News Service …


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  1. despicable me
    Thumb Up

    Old games

    Better keep "Frogger" off the list unless you want to upset the green lobby, the transport lobby and possibly even the lumber industry.

  2. MinionZero
    Thumb Up

    'Pac-Man' with living organisms

    Sounds easy, take 4 panthers and a reality show contestant, then put them in a maze and shout advice. :)

    (Although there is prior art as I believe the Romans created a similar game in their Amphitheatres. ;)

    1. Anonymous Coward

      How about humans?

      "If Pac-Man had affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in dark rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive electronic music."

      Marcus Brigstocke.

  3. Blofeld's Cat Silver badge

    Does this scale?

    Can we scale up this technology to use, say, politicians, bankers and bears?

    I can't see the ethics committee having too many problems with that one.

    It's the lab coat.

    1. kain preacher

      @Does this scale

      you can't see the problem ? Feeding animal bags of parasites (bags of shit).

  4. Pete 43

    Topfilght Boffins

    Wow, high praise indeed.

  5. Marky W


    A tracksuited chav is guided through a maze by projecting images of 19" alloys or gold rope chains at intersections. Negative reinforcement through pictures of books (excluding celebrity biographies, natch) projected in the other direction.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Free the Wakka Wakka One!

    End this slavery!

    Down with Gladiatorial battles!

    Joke icon in case someone thinks I'm being serious.

  7. James O'Shea

    So that's all right, then

    "We are talking about microbiology with these games, very primitive life forms. We do not use any higher-level organisms."

    So he's experimenting with NuLab MPs and Tea Party activists, eh? Excellent. While the supply of the former is limited and has recently been cut, the population of the latter is in dire need of trimming. Keep up the good work, there.

  8. Jimbo 6

    "it would be quite possible to build similar games using creatures which could suffer"

    At last, a use for all the Jeremy Kyle Show guests.

    (For our overseas listeners - it's like Jerry Springer, only far - FAR - trashier.)

    Mine's the one with the bags of shotgun cartridges in the pockets.

  9. stucs201

    Totally irresponsible

    So, the true cause of nasty superbugs is revealed. Its not abuse of anti-biotics or poor hospital cleanliness. Its caused by these boffins being too keen to direct the bugs to the power pills.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge

    And thus a meme cycle achieves closure.

    "... though he does seem to concede that it would be quite possible to build similar games using creatures which could suffer."

    <-- Which opens the door for Badger-baiting 2.0.

    That's game I believe. New memes please and change ends for round two.

  11. LinkOfHyrule

    what a co-inkydink!

    I've just been playing Pac-man, what a co-inkydink!

    This isn't the same story going about the gaming press at the moment about a reality show based on pac-man being planned is it? I suspect it might be seeing as this story mentioned "single celled organisms" which have the same intelligence level of your average reality show contestant!

    Mines the one with the pockets full of fruit and pills!

    1. Anonymous Coward

      At this juncture...

      ...I would like to propose that anyone who uses the word "co-inkydink", in any context but condemnation, be taken to prison for re-education, execution, or both.

      What say you?

      1. LinkOfHyrule

        Oh and one more thing

        Oh and one more thing, clearly you incapable of detecting both sarcasm and minor whit - INKYdink may be a very minor example of whit it is true but it's more whit than you can muster up in a forum post judging by your totally unnecessary nastiness.

        1. Anonymous Coward

          ...and one more thing than that!

          Clearly you are also incapable of detecting either sarcasm or major wit. Obviously, it's more wit than you can muster up in a forum post, judging by your totally unnecessary nastiness.

          Also, sarcasm is not a good excuse for using that word. Homicide may sometimes be justified, but saying 'co-inkydink' never is. And, far from being nasty, my proposal of execution as punishment is indeed merciful. One mistaken utterance of 'the C-word' can quickly spiral into habit, obsession, and, eventually, life as a too-cheerful, slightly-overweight midwestern mom who finishes 12.8% of her sentences with "Don'cha'know". No: my post was both necessary and kind. That you see it otherwise only proves how rapidly the C-word can destroy a man.

  12. Loyal Commenter Silver badge


    Can it play Crysis on full?

  13. jai

    two paramecia enter, one paramecia leaves

    Listen all! This is the truth of it. Fighting leads to killing, and killing gets to warring. And that was damn near the death of us all. Look at us now! Busted up, and everyone talking about hard rain! But we've learned, by the dust of them all... Stanford learned. Now, when men get to fighting, it happens here! And it finishes here! Two paramecia enter, one paramecia leaves...

    1. Mike Flugennock

      Two paramecia enter...

      One PARAMECIUM leaves.

      You're welcome.

      1. Nigel 11

        Grammar aside ...

        Is the one paramecium that leaves twice the size of the two that entered?

  14. Elmer Phud
    Thumb Up

    Only a matter of time

    "Plainly a trifle worried lest he be accused of cruelty in creating living Pac-Men and pinballs, manipulated by means of electrocution or gassing merely to tickle the jaded sensibilities of slack-jawed vidgamers"

    We are eagerly awaiting a declaration/proclamation/load of tosh from PETA

  15. Anonymous Coward

    "The prof claims that paramecia have no capacity to feel pain..."

    that's what the aliens said just before they stuck the probe on to my uncle larry...

  16. Tigra 07
    IT Angle

    Sounds promising

    Dr Mario with real bacteria and antibiotics anyone?

  17. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  18. moonface

    Tron rebooted

    Paramecia named Tron, eventually takes out TFB controller.

  19. ginger_tosser


    Does this mean they have managed to get teleportation working so that the bacteria exit on one side of the petri dish and re-appear on the other side?

  20. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Not again!

    So once again we see stagnation in the games industry! When is someone going to release and original game idea?!

  21. bugalugs

    I won't buy it

    til v.Galactica II at least

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