The Terrifying Visage of the Pac-Man Lights Up the Skyline

I saw my first live drone display and of course it was an advertisement. In this case, for a new Pac-Man game. The advertisement was effective, since everyone at the restaurant I was at had their phones out and were taking pictures of it (including, obviously, me). But it was still existentially disappointing to me. A new, delightfully weird use of technology and what we choose to make of it is an ad. Make no mistake that if we were allowed to put advertising into orbit, it would have been done already. At least Pac-Man is cute.

In other news, another successful day at Comic Con, including a panel and two signings, is now in the books. I am back in my hotel room and honestly if I am still awake at 9pm it should be considered a minor miracle. I go home tomorrow and as lovely as New York has been, I will be happy to be home.

— JS

17 Comments on “The Terrifying Visage of the Pac-Man Lights Up the Skyline”

  1. There’s a great short story about advertising in orbit/space that I remember few details about other than orbital advertising was banned because of it in the story.

    It was probably in one on the World’s Best SF short stories as cited on by SFWA members anthologies. All well worth reading by the way.

  2. Wish I’d had time & energy to make it to a signing, but I did yell Hello in your general direction before today’s panel

  3. My cursed memory which won’t let me remember where I left my phone 10 minutes ago reminds me that Virgil Samms in Doc Smith’s Lensmen books was bombarded by advertising from the air both on Earth and when visiting alien worlds.


    Inside the temple of fun: a dramatic chapel conversion
    Out go the pews, in comes the trampoline… A church in rural Ontario gets a major makeover


    so… elevator pitch…

    coming as an e-book in 2025… “Up-Cycling Unloved Buildings” by Athena Scalzi, with pictures and interviews… one entire chapter about how a crazy-ass relative of hers bought and refurbished a semi-abandoned church in Utah or Oregon or somesuch flyover state

  5. Not the same thing as you mean, but Elon Musk did did launch a Tesla into space. If that’s not advertising I don’t know what is! Thank goodness we can’t all see it like your giant drone Pac-Man; all those satellites zipping every which way across the late evening sky is bad enough!

  6. The Lord of Capitalism raises up his avatar and dons his power in the most unsurprising location possible.

  7. @glc thanks for the link. The one I was thinking of was definitely “Pi in sky” by Frederic Brown (1945).

  8. J.D. Robb has ad drones and blimps flying around New York all the time, plus the Sky Mall that floats permanently above the city.

    And then there’s the Arthur C. Clarke story where Coca-Cola manages to have its name/logo splashed across the face of the moon….

  9. So, honest question: is there a point at which it becomes not disappointing? I mean, this is clearly NOT the first time that drone light shows have been done. I’ve seen videos of previous examples that were not advertising-related, such as at a fireworks display or art project. I get that it’s disappointing that the first use case you have personally seen being an advertisement is disappointing, but being at NYC during Comic Con kind of skews the odds there, a bit. It is a trade-show, after all, nerdy as it’s focus may be.

    Is it that it’s the first you’ve seen or the fact that it was used that way at all that disappointed you?

%d bloggers like this: