Pac Machina is an attempt to build a playable, mechanical Pac-Man game, led by Site 3 member Jonathan Guberman. The idea is to simulate what one of the most recognizable elements of video-game pop-culture would have looked like had it been made a century or so earlier. Technology, by becoming so commonplace, has lost a little bit of its magic. Ironically, older technology, such as gears and pulleys, seems more special and mysterious than the electronics we come into contact with on a daily basis. So, by “down-grading” the technology behind the game, the wonder of the experience of playing a simple videogame can be regained.
The Pactuator is one of the first elements of Pac Machina; it’s the prototype for the mechanism that will make Pac-Man chomp, with it’s own little case. Make magazine called it a “study of sorts“, which is as good an explanation as any. It was made entirely at Site 3, with all the mechanical parts and the frame being cut and engraved by the laser.
Detail build notes and videos are available here.