"Pac Man Vs" or "Understanding other points of view"


What is it like to be the villain?

On one particular game night with friends, someone introduced me to "Pac Man Vs." In this game, you play as one of the ghosts. Your mission is to eat Pac Man and collect the most points for doing so.

I was hooked. It's a slight twist on a classic. The game play is the same as Pac Man, down to the sound effects and music. You're just a ghost now.

But this one little change, one little twist, completely changes the perspective of the game. For example, instead of wanting the Power Pellets, I stayed as far away as possible so Pac Man didn't eat me after he ate one. I never paid much attention to the fruit that appears during the game when I played as Pac Man, but in Pac Man Vs, eating the fruit gives you the ability to see more of the maze. That's another difference in this version. You can't see the whole maze, which makes it a little more difficult to find and eat Pac Man.

Here's the kicker, though. Playing as the villain improved my skill when I switched back to normal Pac Man. For one, I was way more careful not to get trapped by the ghosts in certain corners of the maze because, as the ghost, that was one of my strategies. I tried to trap Pac Man when the other ghosts chased him.

One of the greatest challenges of being human is trying to understand other points of view. I don't have any concrete advice or steps right now for how to do it. Honestly. I am not sure empathy or seeing multiple perspectives is something one can teach.

Rather, one has to practice it over and over again.

But simple =activities, such as Pac Man Vs, are a way to practice seeing things from another perspective. And when you can successfully put yourself in the place of the other, you actually see more of the "big picture." You find out that your point of view was limited, even if it wasn't necessarily "wrong."

Think about it. How many times has upper management provided a "solution" to the wrong problem? Perhaps to improve morale, they started to give free lunch on Fridays and free tickets to sports games. But the issue wasn't that employees were starving on Fridays or couldn't afford basketball tickets. Employees actually hadn't received a raise in 3 years despite getting more work. 

As Pac Man Vs shows us, it doesn't always take that much to see another perspective. But until you do, you won't really understand all the complexities and nuances of a situation.

Have you ever changed your mind, or just changed your approach, after seeing a situation through another perspective? Share in the comments!