Saskatoon man achieves Pac-Man perfection on classic game’s 40th anniversary

Four hours, 23 minutes and 28 seconds — that’s how long it took Greg Sakundiak to etch his name into the Pac-Man history books.

Sakundiak zigged, zagged and weaved his way through of the arcade classic’s 256 levels en route to becoming the second Canadian to ever record the games elusive, perfect score of 3,333,360.

However, the Saskatoon gamer’s dream started in Grande Prairie, Alta., back in 1981, the first time he ever laid eyes or ears on the game.

“It was just the whole sound of the Woo, Woo, Woo, and it was very easy to play,” Sakundiak said. “You’re just a guy going around grabbing dots, and eating ghosts.”

Don’t let his comment fool you, what Sakundiak achieved is far from easy, as he put together the fourth fastest perfect game in Pac-Man history.

“You have to eat every dot, every power pellet, every ghost, when the ghost’s turn blue; and you have to do it 256 times,” he said.

Although the beginning of the game offers some variety, allowing for different route patterns, the repetition faced throughout the majority of the journey can be treacherous.

“To make it past the first part of the game takes about 35-40 minutes,” Sakundiak stated.

“Once you make it past that part it’s three hours of straight play — it’s called ‘crossing the desert’, because it’s really tough.”

Navigating the desert crossing can be doubly daunting, knowing that the only oasis comes in the form of level 256, where the game suffers a memory overflow error, showing only half of a functioning screen.

“It’s mentally and physically tough because you have to stand there for three hours doing the same thing, over and over and over without making a mistake,” he said.

However, he had a little help on his side as he went for what became his lone perfect game.

“I prayed before I came in,” Sakundiak said. “I asked Jesus if he’d let me get a perfect game.”

Regardless of where anyone turns for help to attempt to get their perfect score, people will keep trying as the game still holds staying power forty years on.

“There are probably six or seven games like Pac-Man that exist, that really bring out that nostalgia feeling,” Bartari owner David Mah said.

Despite his happiness at finally completing his perfect score, the first thought to cross Sakundiak’s mind was one he never thought he’d experience.

“It was exhausting,” Sakundiak said.

“I was just like, man, I’m so glad that I don’t have to play this anymore.”

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