Microorganisms Chase Each Other Down in a Real-Life Microscopic Pac-Man Level

If you were a scientist and you had access to a bunch of microorganisms, then you might think to yourself, “What if I put all of these little beings into a maze and forced them to fight to the death? Oh, and also the maze would be Pac-Man-themed, obviously!” But you probably wouldn’t actually do that. Or maybe you would. A group of scientists at the University College of Southeast Norway decided to do it.

The video of the real-life microscopic Pac-Man level isn’t in English, and the translation isn’t any good, but Google Translate’s version of the team’s research materials might help you get up to speed if you want to know what the heck is going on. Basically, there are a bunch of one-celled organisms called euglena in there, which are playing the role of Pac-Man. The ghosts are rotifers, which are multicellular and predictably look a lot bigger than the euglena.

There are no power pellets and there’s no teleportation, so really, this video just displays two different types of organisms running around in a maze. The scientists wanted to see how the euglena would react to being placed in a maze while up against their predators. Mostly, it looks like the microorganisms are all dashing around frantically, which seems pretty accurate to how most people play Pac-Man.

The cool part is the neon lighting, the staging, and the music, which all contributes to making the microorganisms look like they’re starring in an actual version of Pac-Man. Hopefully, all of this will contribute to valuable scientific research, but … mostly, it just looks cool.

(via The Verge)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (