Pac-man: Life Size Edition




About: I'm loving this site! Most of my 'ibles will be of birthday parties and Halloween costumes. I absolutely love planning and running birthday parties and Halloween is the best holiday ever! If you like those a...

This is Instructables club's 4th 'ible and our entry for the 4 contest. If you can, take a moment to vote for us. Thanks!

The kids and I brainstormed several ideas for this contest and we settled on this one because it was the most inexpensive idea we could come up with that was still pretty darn awesome.

The idea is to play a game of Pac-man in real life, using the kids as the players.

To pull this off you will need:

1. T-shirts: a red, a blue, a pink, an orange, a white and a yellow
2. fabric paint: black, white, and blue
3. paint brushes
4. freezer paper
5. exact-o knife
6. iron
7. computer and printer.
8. scissors and/or paper cutter
9. cardboard: to go inside shirts for painting and for use as cutting board
10. blue painter's tape: at least 2 rolls
11. plain paper: several sheets
12. colored paper: a few sheets
13. awesomely cool people to play

Step 1: T-shirts: Making the Stencil and Preparing the Shirt

We need a t-shirt for each player in the game and we added the cherry. That means we need:

Pac-man: yellow
ghosts: blue, pink, red, and orange
the cherry: white

To make the t-shirts, first you need to create a stencil if you don't want to free hand it.

1. cut pieces of freezer paper down to standard paper size: 8.5 x 11. It's easy and quick to use a paper cutter for this to make the cuts straight. You will need 10 sheets.
2. load the freezer paper sheets into your printer so that the image will print on the non- waxy side.
3. pull up the stencil images we have provided on your computer and print them full page. You will need to print 1 cherry, 1
   pac-man, 4 normal ghosts, and 4 squiggly mouth ghosts.
4. Using a piece of cardboard as a cutting board, carefully use the exact-o knife to cut out all the black. Keep all the white pieces and the blue of the ghost eyes. We have labeled the pictures for you to know which parts you will need.

1. insert a piece a cardboard or t-shirt form inside each shirt or just do one at a time if you are short on cardboard.
2. lay the shirt on a firm surface to iron 
3. plug in the iron and iron the shirt to remove wrinkles
4. position the stencil on the shirt with the smooth waxy side down.
5. Iron the stencil on the shirt. This will melt the wax and adhere the stencil. Since the stencils are in multiple pieces, iron on the main part (the part with the edges of the original paper) and then position the inner parts within it and iron in place.
*note* the normal ghosts go on the front and the scaredy ghosts go on the back this way the ghosts can "transform" when the special pellets are eaten.

Step 2: T-shirts: Painting

Now that we have our shirts prepped, it's time to paint. 

Paint black in the outline on the ghosts, the cherry, and pac-man.

Paint white in the eyes and mouth of the ghosts

Peel off the stencil of the cherry and paint inside the cherry red.

Peel off the stencil on the ghosts and paint the eyes blue.

Peel off the stencil on the squiggly mouth ghosts and carefully paint the ghost blue

Step 3: The Game Board

Now for the harder part: making the game board. *note* more fun with loud music!

1. Find a large open room
2. gather your tape and reference photo.
3. go for it! okay, so this isn't really broken done and thought out mathematically like it could be. This was our method:
           1. tape out the top and bottom
           2. tape the sides. Our floor is very conveniently tiled so we used the tile lines to help with taping straight lines and measuring.                We had 26 tiles from top to bottom so we broke it down into 10, 2, 2, 2, and 10. (see photo)
           3. tape the ghost box in the center. Ours was 17 tiles wide so we did the box 5 tiles wide and 4 tiles tall in the center.
           4. eyeball it to tape down all the inside parts. Our board was taller than it was wide, while the reference photo was the opposite                 so we had to squish all our inside parts to fit.

Step 4: Game Set-up

To make the pellets just ball up half sheets of paper and place in all the right places on the board.
For the special pellets ball up a whole sheet of colored paper and place in correct places.
Have 4 players put on the ghost shirts and stand inside the ghost box.
Have one player put on the pan-man shirt and get in position.
Have one player put on the cherry shirt and wait on the sidelines.

Begin the game. Pac-man will WALK through the maze, picking up balls of paper. When pacman gets too many, he can throw them out of bounds. After a few seconds, one ghost will exit the box and chase pacman. At regular intervals, another ghost will exit the box as in the real game. They, too will WALK. 

When pac-man "eats" a special pellet, all players will freeze, the ghosts will pull their arms inside their shirt, spin the shirt around, and put their arms back in to become the scared blue ghosts. Then the game will continue and pac man may chase the ghosts. After a little bit, the game will pause again to allow the ghosts to switch back and play will continue.

When pac-man exits the board through the opening, the game will freeze again until pac-man re-enters through the other opening.

A little ways into the game, the cherry will enter the game and wait for pacman to eat it at which point the cherry will leave the game. To let the cherry have more to do, you could let the cherry wander aimlessly through the maze.




Step 5: Improvement Possibilities

After playing a few times, there are several things that come to mind that would improve the game.

One thing that is easy to change is turning the shirts around when the ghosts turn blue. Since the blue ghost is on the back, they could just run away from pac-man, thus showing the blue ghost then. That would cut down on time outs.

One way to improve keeping the turning the shirts around thing is to cut off the sleeves and cut down the sides so all that is holding it up is the neck. This way a smaller shirt will fit a larger frame so its more one size fits all and much easier to flip around.

A great improvement would be to include the sounds from the game. Make the ghosts come out to cues in a sound track instead of the leaders command. Maybe the players could pace themselves to the music, pick up speed when the music does and keep a slower pace otherwise. If there was a button to push when pacman ate the special pellet to play the track for the blue ghosts, the ghosts would know to run away until the music ends. Which would help have less voice commands as well.

An all out ultimate improvement would be to make it all electronic. Have the pellets be lights on the floor that go out when pac-man walks over them. Have the door to the ghost box open at intervals to let the ghosts out. Maybe this way would be played just by one pac-man and the ghosts would be computer players. This would also include all the sounds from the game including the sound when pacman dies. Our club doesnt have the electronic know how or funds to do something like this, but it sounds like its worth doing dont you think?

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    15 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Here a suggestion (excuse me if it's been suggested already, but I haven't read all the comments.) The suggestion: if you have enough kids waiting to play you could use them as the walls. The could stand in lines holding hands and this way would feel that they are participating as well as watching. And of course you would have to adjust the size of your maze based on the number of kids you have playing.

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    That's not a bad idea. I wonder if the kids would be able to stay still and not interfere by reaching out and trying to block the players.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    I like this idea a lot. I've seen 'Life-size Mousetrap' at Maker Faire, but that is just a demonstration (no audience participation), and it rarely works as planned. Life-size Pac Man on the other hand is fully interactive, and with a few parts to create the game board, could be made to set up an any location, indoors or outdoors. Good job.

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    I like the way you have brought this retro classic to life. we have done a similar one outside with water guns as the special corner pellets. good for the summer!

    1 reply

    It's been a hit. The kids have been asking everyday all week if we can go play Pacman. They play it spontaneously whenever they enter the room.


    5 years ago

    What a cool idea!