Blue Demons Vs. Pac-Man


Jonah Weber

Qiling Jiang plays Pac-Man in the Loop Life Office of Student Involvement. The event ran from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., on Wednesday.

Pac-Man’s classic theme song could be heard right upon entering the Office of Student Involvement (OSI.). The space had been transformed into a retro arcade for students participating in the Pac-Man tournament. Students from all over DePaul were invited to enter the competition. The top five highest scores would be awarded a prize. 

The tournament was held on Wednesday, May 3, for the majority of the afternoon at the OSI office in the Loop. The first competitor was Stephen Pavkovic, a junior digital marketing major, who set the score high with 18,350 points. Pavkovic was also helping host the event, as an employee of OSI. 

The event had a total of nine competitors who came to play Pac-Man. The top five scores were Victor Vergara, coming in with a whopping 40,220 points. Stephen Pavkovic landed in second place with 18,350 points. Qiling Jiang got up to 13,270 points. Edward Romo at 13,140 points. Aman Lokhande with 8,520 points.

Pac-Man was first released in 1980, titled “Puck-Man.” The first and largest Pac-Man tournament was in 1982, hosted at County Stadium. It brought fans from all over the world together to eagerly compete against each other in a groundbreaking event. Over 40 years later, players are still coming together to eagerly compete in a tournament with one of the most historical games ever created. 

“Scores are looking pretty good,” Pavkovic said. “I think personally, I got pretty lucky. I locked in and I got a decent score. I think it’s definitely possible to be beaten so I’m excited for that.” 

The tournament was set up on three Nintendo Switches that came from the Esports center. Screens were displaying the different names that had set scores and controllers rested at each gaming station. 

The Pac-Man tournament was a “Loop Life” event hosted by OSI that aim to get more students involved with the Loop campus. An ongoing event OSI has been working on is the “Gnome Hunt” and students have brought there gnomes to OSI for a prize. 

Layne Norris, a third year graphic design major, was also working the event for OSI, but participated in the event as well. Norris shared their history with Pac-Man and gaming tournaments. 

“My parents were really into Pac-Man,” Norris said. “I was more into sandbox games and like eSports. I am also the president of the Rocket League team. I will probably as soon as I end my shift, go home and play Rocket League as opposed to playing Pac Man, but that’s just me.” 

The secret prize was kept unknown to even the OSI employees, but they were eager to find out what it was, which is what motivated Norris and Pavkovic to participate in the event. 

“The highest one is 13k, but I feel like someone’s just gonna come in and be like, I’ve been waiting my whole life to prove that I’m the best Pac-Man player and he’s gonna come in and break, like, six digits,” Norris said, sharing their prediction of how the event could go.

After Norris participated in the tournament, landing a score of 6,560, a freshmen entrepreneur major wandered into the OSI office asking about the tournament. Qiling Jiang was curious about the game but more interested in finding out what the secret prize was. They immediately took a seat and grabbed a controller. 

“I played Pac-Man in class on a computer,” Jiang said. “One, the lecture is getting boring, but outside of that I don’t play many games, so if some super sweaty pro gamer comes in, I’m not getting that prize.”

While this was only the second time Jiang had played Pac-Man, they were determined on quickly honing their skills to win the tournament. Their eyes were set on the prize. Jiang was somewhat banking on the low number of competitors participating at the time they were there. 

“I think so far there is not a lot of competition, so I can see myself getting fourth place because I’m the fourth person to be in here,” Jiang said. 

The prizes for the winners in second through fifth place were aluminum DePaul ESports water bottles. For first place, it was a DePaul ESports Nike backpack.