One Billion Dots and Beyond – the Viral Phenomenon of World’s Biggest PAC-MAN

One Billion Dots and Beyond – the Viral Phenomenon of World’s Biggest PAC-MAN

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This past April, we teamed up with NAMCO BANDAI Games America to launch at MIX11. It was an instant, viral phenomenon and in its first week over 242 million PAC-DOTS™ were eaten, 2.2 million mazes were played and over 10 thousand new mazes were created. WBPM caught the imagination of PAC-MAN® fans all over the world and soon a massive and sprawling universe of interlocking mazes had been built. Internet Explorer 9 users who pinned the site to their taskbar were treated to one-click access to the game and a quick-view of their personal stats.

pacman-screen1 WBPM main screen PAC-MAN map of the world maze 

Today we are very excited to announce that we have reached an impressive milestone: over 1 BILLION PAC-DOTS™ have been eaten! To celebrate, we want to dig in to the amazing story behind World’s Biggest PAC-MAN® and put some of the other usage stats into context.

It All Started With an Unexpected Partnership

Like most great things, WBPM wasn’t built alone. When we heard about some of the work in Soap Creative’s repertoire, we paired up with them to design, develop and deploy WBPM. The team was excited to build an experience that would capture peoples’ imaginations using the power of HTML5. Given the ongoing focus of HTML5 in IE9, we knew it would take advantage of the new browser’s unique capabilities. A few weeks after the project was launched, it was clear there was an overwhelming response from users; here’s a bit more info from the lead developers of WBPM on how the project came together:

Operating at Web Scale

WBPM has served-up multiple terabytes of data and tens of millions of page views. As we approached the “one billion PAC-DOTS eaten” mark, we wanted to better understand what people were doing on the site. With numbers as enormous and abstract as these, we tried to find ways to frame the figures in a way that people would be able to grasp the scale. For instance, over 40 thousand mazes have been created in a connected web of PAC-MAN® mazes. If you think of each of these mazes as being the size of the screen on an original PAC-MAN arcade machine (23 x 23 inches), then you would need a screen TWICE the size of the field at Wembley Stadium to fit the WBPM universe!

In order to celebrate the success of WBPM and give everyone a window into the excitement around the game, we constructed a live look at the numbers behind the experience. This page pulls data directly from the application’s database and the website’s analytics. For performance reasons, different data points are cached for different amounts of time. The heat map, which shows-off where in the world most of our users are playing the game, is generated and refreshed once a day.

pacman-data1 pacman-data3

One of our favorite stats about the site is the percentage of visitors using the site in IE9. As Mark Fennel noted in the video, “when we whacked it onto a PC with IE9, it was like, ‘oh ho, look at this thing, it screams!’ It was great.” Since we built WBPM with IE9 in mind, it is gratifying to see that IE9 users are visiting the site in large numbers and spending 37% more time on the site than the average user. It’s really a testament to the value of taking an amazing experience and making it easy for IE9 users to pin it to their taskbar.


The Road to Two Billion PAC-DOTS Starts with a Contest

Of course, the only thing cooler than one billion Pac-Dots eaten is… two billion! In order to reward the die-hard WBPM players and introduce the game to millions more, we are kicking-off the World’s Biggest PAC-MAN® Gobbling Ghosts contest. Grand Prize is a PAC-MAN® Arcade Party machine pic with runner-ups winning limited-edition World’s Biggest PAC-MAN t-shirts! The challenge is simple:
  1. Install IE9
  2. Pin to your Windows 7 taskbar
  3. Gobble as many ghosts as you can!
  4. Right-click on the WBPM icon on your taskbar and take a screen-shot of “Ghosts Eaten” score
  5. Enter the screen-shot in the contest by sending it to @IE on Twitter with the hashtag #worldsbiggestpacman.

That’s it! The contest will run through August 18, 2011. Official rules and regulations will be posted shortly on

Pac-Man's Arcade Party Cabaret web

PAC-MAN® & © 1980-2011 NAMCO BANDAI Games Inc. Used with permission.

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  • It is actually really fun. I'm not that good at Pacman, apparently :-/