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André Maré

Posted on Feb 14, 2018 • Originally published at on Jan 21, 2018

Pac-Man Patterns — Ghost Movement (Strategy Pattern)

pac man ghost pattern

The idea of using Pac-Man to illustrate the usage of Design Patterns came to me while I was reading an article about Pac-Man by Jamey Pittman. His article was about the design and AI lessons within the classic Namco game Pac-Man. I was really amazed at the complexity in the design and AI of a game that seems so simple while playing at the time. I then decided to create a series of articles which illustrate the use of Design Patterns to implement some of the complex design issues in the game Pac-Man.

The first article in the “Pac-Man Patterns” series will focus on the different behaviour each of the four ghosts have during the different modes of the game. We will also look at how the Strategy Pattern can help with the design of the different movement behaviours.

Pac-Man is an arcade game that was first release in 1980. The player navigates Pac-Man through a maze and has to collect all the dots (Pac-Dots) in order to complete the stage. Pac-Man is being chased by four ghosts in the game whose main objective is to kill him. The four ghosts, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, each has different behaviour depending on the mode of the ghosts. The ghosts change mode during game play from scattering to the corners of the maze, to chasing Pac-Man and also to being frightened when Pac-Man picks up a Power-Pellet.

pac man ghost pattern

This article discusses the different movements and behaviour of the ghosts in Pac-Man and how it relates to implementing Reusable Object-Oriented software also known as Design Patterns.

In “Chase” mode, the ghosts are trying to find and capture Pac-Man. Each of the four ghosts has a unique behaviour while chasing Pac-Man. Blinky the red ghost is very aggressive in its approach while chasing Pac-Man and will follow Pac-Man once located. Pinky the pink ghost will attempt to ambush Pac-Man by trying to get in front of him and cut him off. Inky the cyan ghost will patrol an area and is not very predictable in this mode. Clyde the orange ghost is moving in a random fashion and seems to stay out of the way of Pac-Man.

pac man ghost pattern

In “Scatter” mode, the ghosts will stop chasing Pac-Man and each will move into its respective corners for a few seconds. Blinky the red ghost moves towards the top right corner, while Pink the pink ghost moves towards the top left corner. Inky the cyan ghost moves towards the bottom left corner and Clyde the orange ghost moves towards the bottom left corner. This mode lasts only for a few seconds and then changes back to the “Chase” mode.

pac man ghost pattern

The “Frightened” mode occurs when Pac-Man eats an energizer within the maze. There are four energizers located in the maze and all four ghosts change mode. The ghosts turn dark blue and wander around in the maze being vulnerable. They will flash moments before they return to either the Scatter or Chase mode.

pac man ghost pattern

So, to sum up the movement requirements of the ghosts, the following table illustrates the types of movement and also how the individual ghosts behave during those types of movement.

Ghost Name Chase Scatter Frightened Blinky (Red) Aggressive Top Right Corner Wandering Pinky (Pink) Ambush Top Left Corner Wandering Inky (Cyan) Patrol Bottom Right Corner Wandering Clyde (Orange) Random Bottom Left Corner Wandering

To implement the different ghost behaviours, the instances of the Ghost class will use the behaviour represented by an interface (ChaseBehaviour, ScatterBehaviour & FrightenedBehaviour) to ensure that the different implementations of each behaviour is not implemented within the Ghost class.

According to the Strategy Pattern, the behaviour that varies is placed into a separate class to allow you to make changes to those behaviours without affecting the parts that stays the same. Furthermore, the pattern aligns to the design principle to “Program to an Interface, and not to an Implementation” so that the three modes of a ghost can be defined as interfaces, and the different implementations of the modes of movement can be implemented in separate classes.

The Ghost class has a ChaseBehaviour, ScatterBehaviour and a FrightenedBehaviour. The HAS-A relationship refers to the composition of the classes. Now it is possible to compose the Ghost class to in such a way that each of the different types of ghosts can be composed of different implementations for each of the 3 modes of movement.

The chase behaviour of the ghosts varies, and the implementation of each of the parts are removed into a separate class. Hence, the algorithm to chase aggressively, ambush, patrol and random is placed in separate classes. An interface (ChaseBehaviour) is created to allow for the composition between the Ghost class and the different implementations of the Chase behaviour.

The following diagram illustrates the composition and implementation of the Ghost class and the different implementations of the ChaseBahaviour:

pac man ghost pattern

  • Ghost  — The Ghost class contains the different behaviour that the different ghosts have in the Pac-Man game. There are three distinct modes a ghost can be in: chase, scatter and frightened.
  • ChaseBehaviour  — The ChaseBehaviour interface is used to define different ghostly behaviours during the chase mode of the Pac-Man game. In chase mode, the ghosts will have different behaviours associated with their personalities.
  • ChaseAggressive  — The ChaseAggressive class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In chase mode, the ghost chases aggressively and will usually take the shortest route to you, and tends to follow.
  • ChaseAmbush  — The ChaseAmbush class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In chase mode, the ghost will attempt to ambush Pac-Man. The ghost tends to take a more wounding way towards Pac-Man with deadly effect.
  • ChasePatrol  — The ChasePatrol class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In chase mode, the ghost patrols around his designated block by default, only chasing Pac-Man if he comes near enough.
  • ChaseRandom  — The ChaseRandom class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In chase mode, the ghost will move in a random manner around the board and is not much of a threat.

The scatter behaviour of the ghosts varies, and the implementation of each of the parts are removed into a separate class. Hence, the algorithm to scatter to the top-left, top-right, bottom-left and bottom right corners is placed in separate classes. An interface (ScatterBehaviour) is created to allow for the composition between the Ghost class and the different implementations of the Scatter behaviour.

The following diagram illustrates the composition and implementation of the Ghost class and the different implementations of the ScatterBahaviour:

pac man ghost pattern

  • ScatterBehaviour  — The ScatterBehaviour interface is used to define different ghostly behaviours during the scatter mode of the Pac-Man game. In scatter mode, the ghosts give up the chase and head for their respective home corners.
  • ScatterTopLeftCorner  — The ScatterTopLeftCorner class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In scatter mode, the ghost will give up the chase and head for the top left corner of the board using its regular path-finding methods.
  • ScatterTopRightCorner  — The ScatterTopRightCorner class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In scatter mode, the ghost will give up the chase and head for the top right corner of the board using its regular path-finding methods.
  • ScatterBottomLeftCorner  — The ScatterBottomLeftCorner class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In scatter mode, the ghost will give up the chase and head for the bottom left corner of the board using its regular path-finding methods.
  • ScatterBottomRightCorner  — The ScatterBottomRightCorner class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In scatter mode, the ghost will give up the chase and head for the bottom right corner of the board using its regular path-finding methods.

The frightened behaviour of the ghosts may does not vary, however the implementation of is still removed into a separate class. Hence, the algorithm to wander around is placed in separate class. An interface (FrightenedBehaviour) is created to allow for the composition between the Ghost class and the implementation of the Wandering behaviour.

The following diagram illustrates the composition and implementation of the Ghost class and the different implementations of the FrightenedBehaviour:

pac man ghost pattern

  • FrightenedBehaviour  — The FrightenedBehaviour interface is used to define different ghostly behaviours during the frightened mode of the Pac-Man game. In frightened mode, the ghosts will all turn dark blue.
  • FrightenedWandering  — The FrightenedWandering class contains the behaviour of a ghost in the Pac-Man game. In frightened mode, the ghosts will all turn dark blue and aimlessly wander around in the maze for a few seconds.

The Strategy Pattern assists with the design of the different behaviours of the ghosts in Pac-Man. Applying the Strategy Pattern to the ghost movement design, the solution become reusable, extensible, maintainable and allows for change without major impact to the rest of the code.

I hope this article rekindled your memories of the good days of playing Pac-Man and also implementing Reusable Object-Oriented software, also known as Design Patterns.

Originally published at on January 21, 2018.

Top comments (6)


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rychu profile image

  • Joined Mar 18, 2023

Thank you for an excellent explanation, Andre. The links to the implementations don't seem to be working any more. For anyone interested, here is my version inspired by this article:

arminreichert profile image

  • Education Diplom-Informatiker, Universität des Saarlandes, Saarbrücken
  • Joined Nov 29, 2018

You might like my Java Pac-Man implementation. It also uses "delegation" for the ghost behavior but main emphasis is on using explicitly defined state machines all over the place.

francoisadt profile image

  • Location Cape Town, South Africa
  • Work Solution Architect at Cape Town
  • Joined May 13, 2019

Thanks for the article summary and the code. I will have a look. Armin's state machine approach is also interesting. One can have a structure of re-usability/extension with the state machine be accessible such to be saved in progression of play.

Great ideas from both of you.

Maybe one should craft a "dummy" pacman game implementation to see how what fit.

patrickjabba profile image

  • Location Brazil
  • Work Resident in Software in SERRATEC
  • Joined Mar 17, 2022

Thanks for the article

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Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior

It only seems right for me to begin this blog with the topic that inspired me to start it in the first place. Not too long ago, I came across Jamey Pittman's "Pac-Man Dossier" , which is a ridiculously-detailed explanation of the mechanics of Pac-Man. I found it absolutely fascinating, so this site is my attempt to discover and aggregate similarly-detailed information about other games (albeit in much smaller chunks). However, as a bit of a tribute, I'm going to start with Pac-Man as well, specifically the ghost AI. It's an interesting topic, and hopefully my explanation will be a bit more accessible than Jamey's, due to focusing on only the information relevant to ghost behavior.

About the Game

"All the computer games available at the time were of the violent type - war games and space invader types. There were no games that everyone could enjoy, and especially none for women. I wanted to come up with a "comical" game women could enjoy." - Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man creator

Pac-Man is one of the most iconic video games of all time, and most people (even non-gamers) have at least a passing familiarity with it. The purpose of the game is very simple — the player is placed in a maze filled with food (depicted as pellets or dots) and needs to eat all of it to advance to the next level. This task is made difficult by four ghosts that pursue Pac-Man through the maze. If Pac-Man makes contact with any of the ghosts, the player loses a life and the positions of Pac-Man and the ghosts are reset back to their starting locations, though any dots that were eaten remain so. Other than simply avoiding them, Pac-Man's only defense against the ghosts are the four larger "energizer" pellets located at the corners of the maze. Eating one causes the ghosts to become frightened and retreat for a short time, and in the early levels of the game Pac-Man can even eat the ghosts for bonus points during this period. An eaten ghost is not completely eliminated, but is returned to its starting position before resuming its pursuit. Other than eating dots and ghosts, the only other source of points are the two pieces of fruit which appear during each level near the middle of the maze. The first fruit appears when Pac-Man has eaten 70 of the dots in the maze, and the second when 170 have been eaten.

Initial playfield layout

Every level of Pac-Man uses the same maze layout, containing 240 regular "food" dots and 4 energizers. The tunnels that lead off of the left and right edges of the screen act as shortcuts to the opposite side of the screen, and are usable by both Pac-Man and the ghosts, though the ghosts' speed is greatly reduced while they are in the tunnel. Even though the layout is always the same, the levels become increasingly difficult due to modifications to Pac-Man's speed, as well as changes to both the speed and behavior of the ghosts. After reaching level 21, no further changes to the game's mechanics are made, and every level from 21 onwards is effectively identical.

Common Elements of Ghost Behaviour

"Well, there's not much entertainment in a game of eating, so we decided to create enemies to inject a little excitement and tension. The player had to fight the enemies to get the food. And each of the enemies has its own character. The enemies are four little ghost-shaped monsters, each of them a different colour - blue, yellow, pink and red. I used four different colours mostly to please the women who play - I thought they would like the pretty colours." - Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man creator

Each of the ghosts is programmed with an individual "personality", a different algorithm it uses to determine its method of moving through the maze. Understanding how each ghost behaves is extremely important to be able to effectively avoid them. However, before discussing their individual behaviors, let's first examine the logic that they share.

The Ghost House

When a player begins a game of Pac-Man, they are not immediately attacked by all four of the ghosts. As shown on the diagram of the initial game position, only one ghost begins in the actual maze, while the others are inside a small area in the middle of the maze, often referred to as the "ghost house". Other than at the beginning of a level, the ghosts will only return to this area if they are eaten by an energized Pac-Man, or as a result of their positions being reset when Pac-Man dies. The ghost house is otherwise inaccessible, and is not a valid area for Pac-Man or the ghosts to move into. Ghosts always move to the left as soon as they leave the ghost house, but they may reverse direction almost immediately due to an effect that will be described later.

The conditions that determine when the three ghosts that start inside the ghost house are able to leave it are actually fairly complex. Because of this, I'm going to consider them outside the scope of this article, especially since they become much less relevant after completing the first few levels. If you're interested in reading about these rules (and an interesting exploit of them), the Pac-Man Dossier covers them in-depth (under the "Home Sweet Home" heading) , as always.

Target Tiles

Playfield split into tiles

Much of Pac-Man's design and mechanics revolve around the idea of the board being split into tiles. "Tile" in this context refers to an 8 x 8 pixel square on the screen. Pac-Man's screen resolution is 224 x 288, so this gives us a total board size of 28 x 36 tiles, though most of these are not accessible to Pac-Man or the ghosts. As an example of the impact of tiles, a ghost is considered to have caught Pac-Man when it occupies the same tile as him. In addition, every pellet in the maze is in the center of its own tile. It should be noted that since the sprites for Pac-Man and the ghosts are larger than one tile in size, they are never completely contained in a single tile. Due to this, for the game's purposes, the character is considered to occupy whichever tile contains its center point . This is important knowledge when avoiding ghosts, since Pac-Man will only be caught if a ghost manages to move its center point into the same tile as Pac-Man's.

The key to understanding ghost behavior is the concept of a target tile. The large majority of the time, each ghost has a specific tile that it is trying to reach, and its behavior revolves around trying to get to that tile from its current one. All of the ghosts use identical methods to travel towards their targets, but the different ghost personalities come about due to the individual way each ghost has of selecting its target tile. Note that there are no restrictions that a target tile must actually be possible to reach, they can (and often are) located on an inaccessible tile, and many of the common ghost behaviors are a direct result of this possibility. Target tiles will be discussed in more detail in upcoming sections, but for now just keep in mind that the ghosts are almost always motivated by trying to reach a particular tile.

Ghost Movement Modes

The ghosts are always in one of three possible modes: Chase, Scatter, or Frightened. The "normal" mode with the ghosts pursuing Pac-Man is Chase, and this is the one that they spend most of their time in. While in Chase mode, all of the ghosts use Pac-Man's position as a factor in selecting their target tile, though it is more significant to some ghosts than others. In Scatter mode, each ghost has a fixed target tile, each of which is located just outside a different corner of the maze. This causes the four ghosts to disperse to the corners whenever they are in this mode. Frightened mode is unique because the ghosts do not have a specific target tile while in this mode. Instead, they pseudorandomly decide which turns to make at every intersection. A ghost in Frightened mode also turns dark blue, moves much more slowly and can be eaten by Pac-Man. However, the duration of Frightened mode is shortened as the player progresses through the levels, and is completely eliminated from level 19 onwards.

"To give the game some tension, I wanted the monsters to surround Pac Man at some stage of the game. But I felt it would be too stressful for a human being like Pac Man to be continually surrounded and hunted down. So I created the monsters' invasions to come in waves. They'd attack and then they'd retreat. As time went by they would regroup, attack, and disperse again. It seemed more natural than having constant attack." - Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man creator

Changes between Chase and Scatter modes occur on a fixed timer, which causes the "wave" effect described by Iwatani. This timer is reset at the beginning of each level and whenever a life is lost. The timer is also paused while the ghosts are in Frightened mode, which occurs whenever Pac-Man eats an energizer. When Frightened mode ends, the ghosts return to their previous mode, and the timer resumes where it left off. The ghosts start out in Scatter mode, and there are four waves of Scatter/Chase alternation defined, after which the ghosts will remain in Chase mode indefinitely (until the timer is reset). For the first level, the durations of these phases are:

  • Scatter for 7 seconds, then Chase for 20 seconds.
  • Scatter for 5 seconds, then Chase for 20 seconds.
  • Scatter for 5 seconds, then switch to Chase mode permanently.

The durations of these phases are changed somewhat when the player reaches level 2, and once again when they reach level 5. Starting on level 2, the third Chase mode lengthens considerably, to 1033 seconds (17 minutes and 13 seconds), and the following Scatter mode lasts just 1/60 of a second before the ghosts proceed to their permanent Chase mode. The level 5 changes build on top of this, additionally reducing the first two Scatter lengths to 5 seconds, and adding the 4 seconds gained here to the third Chase mode, lengthening it to 1037 seconds (17:17). Regarding the 1/60-of-a-second Scatter mode on every level except the first, even though it may seem that switching modes for such an insignificant amount of time is pointless, there is a reason behind it, which shall be revealed shortly.

Basic Ghost Movement Rules

The next step is understanding exactly how the ghosts attempt to reach their target tiles. The ghosts' AI is very simple and short-sighted, which makes the complex behavior of the ghosts even more impressive. Ghosts only ever plan one step into the future as they move about the maze. Whenever a ghost enters a new tile, it looks ahead to the next tile that it will reach, and makes a decision about which direction it will turn when it gets there. These decisions have one very important restriction, which is that ghosts may never choose to reverse their direction of travel. That is, a ghost cannot enter a tile from the left side and then decide to reverse direction and move back to the left. The implication of this restriction is that whenever a ghost enters a tile with only two exits, it will always continue in the same direction.

However, there is one exception to this rule, which is that whenever ghosts change from Chase or Scatter to any other mode, they are forced to reverse direction as soon as they enter the next tile. This forced instruction will overwrite whatever decision the ghosts had previously made about the direction to move when they reach that tile. This effectively acts as a notifier to the player that the ghosts have changed modes, since it is the only time a ghost can possibly reverse direction. Note that when the ghosts leave Frightened mode they do not change direction, but this particular switch is already obvious due to the ghosts reverting to their regular colors from the dark blue of Frightened. So then, the 1/60-of-a-second Scatter mode on every level after the first will cause all the ghosts to reverse their direction of travel, even though their target effectively remains the same. This forced direction-reversal instruction is also applied to any ghosts still inside the ghost house, so a ghost that hasn't yet entered the maze by the time the first mode switch occurs will exit the ghost house with a "reverse direction as soon as you can" instruction already pending. This causes them to move left as usual for a very short time, but they will almost immediately reverse direction and go to the right instead.

Simplified map showing intersection tiles

The diagram above shows a simplified representation of the maze layout. Decisions are only necessary at all when approaching "intersection" tiles, which are indicated in green on the diagram.

A ghost making a decision

When a decision about which direction to turn is necessary, the choice is made based on which tile adjoining the intersection will put the ghost nearest to its target tile, measured in a straight line. The distance from every possibility to the target tile is measured, and whichever tile is closest to the target will be selected. In the diagram to the left, the ghost will turn upwards at the intersection. If two or more potential choices are an equal distance from the target, the decision between them is made in the order of up > left > down. A decision to exit right can never be made in a situation where two tiles are equidistant to the target, since any other option has a higher priority.

A ghost making the wrong decision

Since the only consideration is which tile will immediately place the ghost closer to its target, this can result in the ghosts selecting the "wrong" turn when the initial choice places them closer, but the overall path is longer. An example is shown to the right, where straight-line measurement makes exiting left appear to be a better choice. However, this will result in an overall path length of 26 tiles to reach the target, when exiting right would have had a path only 8 tiles long.

One final special case to be aware of are the four intersections that were colored yellow on the simplified maze diagram. These specific intersections have an extra restriction — ghosts can not choose to turn upwards from these tiles. If entering them from the right or left side they will always proceed out the opposite side (excepting a forced direction-reversal). Note that this restriction does not apply to Frightened mode, and Frightened ghosts may turn upwards here if that decision occurs randomly. A ghost entering these tiles from the top can also reverse direction back out the top if a mode switch occurs as they are entering the tile, the restriction is only applied during "regular" decision-making. If Pac-Man is being pursued closely by ghosts, he can gain some ground on them by making an upwards turn in one of these intersections, since they will be forced to take a longer route around.

Individual Ghost Personalities

"This is the heart of the game. I wanted each ghostly enemy to have a specific character and its own particular movements, so they weren't all just chasing after Pac Man in single file, which would have been tiresome and flat." - Toru Iwatani, Pac-Man creator

The ghosts and their names in English and Japanese

As has been previously mentioned, the only differences between the ghosts are their methods of selecting target tiles in Chase and Scatter modes. The only official description of each ghost's personality comes from the one-word "character" description shown in the game's attract mode. We'll first take a look at how the ghosts behave in Scatter mode, since it's extremely straightforward, and then look at each ghost's approach to targeting in Chase mode.

Scatter Mode

The ghosts' Scatter mode targets

Each ghost has a pre-defined, fixed target tile while in this mode, located just outside the corners of the maze. When Scatter mode begins, each ghost will head towards their "home" corner using their regular path-finding methods. However, since the actual target tiles are inaccessible and the ghosts cannot stop moving or reverse direction, they are forced to continue past the target, but will turn back towards it as soon as possible. This results in each ghost's path eventually becoming a fixed loop in their corner. If left in Scatter mode, each ghost would remain in its loop indefinitely. In practice, the duration of Scatter mode is always quite short, so the ghosts often do not have time to even reach their corner or complete a circuit of their loop before reverting back to Chase mode. The diagram shows each ghost's target tile and eventual looping path, color-coded to match their own color.

The Red Ghost

The red ghost's targeting method

The red ghost starts outside of the ghost house, and is usually the first one to be seen as a threat, since he makes a beeline for Pac-Man almost immediately. He is referred to as "Blinky", and the game describes his personality as shadow . In Japanese, his personality is referred to as 追いかけ, oikake , which translates as "pursuer" or "chaser". Both languages' descriptions are accurate, since Blinky's target tile in Chase mode is defined as Pac-Man's current tile. This ensures that Blinky almost always follows directly behind Pac-Man, unless the short-sighted decision-making causes him to take an inefficient path.

Even though Blinky's targeting method is very simple, he does have one idiosyncrasy that the other ghosts do not; at two defined points in each level (based on the number of dots remaining), his speed increases by 5% and his behavior in Scatter mode changes. The timing of the speed change varies based on the level, with the change occurring earlier and earlier as the player progresses. The change to Scatter targeting is perhaps more significant than the speed increases, since it causes Blinky's target tile to remain as Pac-Man's position even while in Scatter mode, instead of his regular fixed tile in the upper-right corner. This effectively keeps Blinky in Chase mode permanently, though he will still be forced to reverse direction as a result of a mode switch. When in this enhanced state, Blinky is generally referred to as "Cruise Elroy", though the origin of this term seems to be unknown. Not even the almighty Pac-Man Dossier has an answer here. If Pac-Man dies while Blinky is in Cruise Elroy mode, he reverts back to normal behavior temporarily, but returns to Elroy mode as soon as all other ghosts have exited the ghost house.

The Pink Ghost

The pink ghost's targeting method

The pink ghost starts inside the ghost house, but always exits immediately, even in the first level. His nickname is "Pinky", and his personality is described as speedy . This is a considerable departure from his Japanese personality description, which is 待ち伏せ, machibuse , which translates as "ambusher". The Japanese version is much more appropriate, since Pinky does not move faster than any of the other ghosts (and slower than Blinky in Cruise Elroy mode), but his targeting scheme attempts to move him to the place where Pac-Man is going, instead of where he currently is. Pinky's target tile in Chase mode is determined by looking at Pac-Man's current position and orientation, and selecting the location four tiles straight ahead of Pac-Man. At least, this was the intention, and it works when Pac-Man is facing to the left, down, or right, but when Pac-Man is facing upwards, an overflow error in the game's code causes Pinky's target tile to actually be set as four tiles ahead of Pac-Man and four tiles to the left of him. I don't want to frighten off non-programmers, but if you're interested in the technical details behind this bug, Don Hodges has written a great explanation , including the actual assembly code for Pinky's targeting, as well as a fixed version.

Causing the pink ghost's target tile to be behind him

One important implication of Pinky's targeting method is that Pac-Man can often win a game of "chicken" with him. Since his target tile is set four tiles in front of Pac-Man, if Pac-Man heads directly towards him, Pinky's target tile will actually be behind himself once they are less than four tiles apart. This will cause Pinky to choose to take any available turn-off in order to loop back around to his target. Because of this, it is a common strategy to momentarily "fake" back towards Pinky if he starts following closely. This will often send him off in an entirely different direction.

The Blue Ghost

The blue ghost's targeting method

The blue ghost is nicknamed Inky, and remains inside the ghost house for a short time on the first level, not joining the chase until Pac-Man has managed to consume at least 30 of the dots. His English personality description is bashful , while in Japanese he is referred to as 気紛れ, kimagure , or "whimsical". Inky is difficult to predict, because he is the only one of the ghosts that uses a factor other than Pac-Man's position/orientation when determining his target tile. Inky actually uses both Pac-Man's position/facing as well as Blinky's (the red ghost's) position in his calculation. To locate Inky's target, we first start by selecting the position two tiles in front of Pac-Man in his current direction of travel, similar to Pinky's targeting method. From there, imagine drawing a vector from Blinky's position to this tile, and then doubling the length of the vector. The tile that this new, extended vector ends on will be Inky's actual target.

As a result, Inky's target can vary wildly when Blinky is not near Pac-Man, but if Blinky is in close pursuit, Inky generally will be as well. Note that Inky's "two tiles in front of Pac-Man" calculation suffers from exactly the same overflow error as Pinky's four-tile equivalent, so if Pac-Man is heading upwards, the endpoint of the initial vector from Blinky (before doubling) will actually be two tiles up and two tiles left of Pac-Man.

The Orange Ghost

The orange ghost's distant targeting method

The orange ghost, "Clyde", is the last to leave the ghost house, and does not exit at all in the first level until over a third of the dots have been eaten. Clyde's English personality description is pokey , whereas the Japanese description is お惚け, otoboke or "feigning ignorance". As is typical, the Japanese version is more accurate, since Clyde's targeting method can give the impression that he is just "doing his own thing", without concerning himself with Pac-Man at all. The unique feature of Clyde's targeting is that it has two separate modes which he constantly switches back and forth between, based on his proximity to Pac-Man. Whenever Clyde needs to determine his target tile, he first calculates his distance from Pac-Man. If he is farther than eight tiles away, his targeting is identical to Blinky's, using Pac-Man's current tile as his target. However, as soon as his distance to Pac-Man becomes less than eight tiles, Clyde's target is set to the same tile as his fixed one in Scatter mode, just outside the bottom-left corner of the maze.

The orange ghost's targeting mode switching

The combination of these two methods has the overall effect of Clyde alternating between coming directly towards Pac-Man, and then changing his mind and heading back to his corner whenever he gets too close. On the diagram above, the X marks on the path represent the points where Clyde's mode switches. If Pac-Man somehow managed to remain stationary in that position, Clyde would indefinitely loop around that T-shaped area. As long as the player is not in the lower-left corner of the maze, Clyde can be avoided completely by simply ensuring that you do not block his "escape route" back to his corner. While Pac-Man is within eight tiles of the lower-left corner, Clyde's path will end up in exactly the same loop as he would eventually maintain in Scatter mode.

Wrapping Up

If you've made it this far, you should now have a fairly complete understanding of the logic behind Pac-Man's ghost movement. Understanding the ghosts' behavior is probably the single most important step towards becoming a skilled Pac-Man player, and even a general idea of where they are likely to move next should greatly improve your abilities. I've never been good at Pac-Man, but while I was researching this article and testing a few things, I found that I was able to avoid the ghosts much more easily than before. Even small things make a huge difference, such as recognizing a switch to Scatter mode and knowing that you have a few seconds where the ghosts won't (deliberately) try to kill you.

Pac-Man is an amazing example of seemingly-complex behavior arising from only a few cleverly-designed rules, with the result being a deep and challenging game that players still strive to master, 30 years after its release.

  • The Pac-Man Dossier , Jamey Pittman - practically the only source you need for anything related to Pac-Man. I did some original research to confirm a few statements here and there, but honestly, most of this article is just rearranged and reworded from Jamey's amazing work on the Dossier. Highly recommended reading if you enjoyed this article and would like to learn about the other aspects of the game.
  • Pac-Man's Ghost Behaviour Analyzed and Fixed , Don Hodges - explanation of Pinky and Inky's targeting bug and some of the relevant Z80 assembly code.
  • All Toru Iwatani quotes come from an interview in Programmers at Work by Susan M. Lammers. The entire interview is available online here .
  • Peripherals
  • Video Games
  • Crash Bandicoot
  • Sonic The Hedgehog
  • Super Mario
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

All Pac-Man Ghost Names and What They Do

  • December 13, 2023
  • Jason Brown

pac-man ghosts

Who are the ghosts who chase Pac-Man through mazes, across Pac-Land and even over Pac-Man World? Let’s find out as we check all Pac-Man ghost names – and what they do!

Table of Contents

Who are the Pac-Man ghosts?

There are four ghosts in the original Pac-Man (which we rated as top of the best Pac-Man games !): a red ghost, a pink ghost, a cyan ghost and an orange ghost.

Do they all behave differently?

They sure do! Considering Pac-Man was originally released in 1980, it may surprise you to learn that each ghost in Pac-Man has their own behaviour and patterns that they follow, as well as behaviour that they adhere to during what’s known as ‘scatter mode’. All of this are things that you may not even notice during play, but we’re here to shine a light on each ghost and reveal what it is they do!

Who is the red ghost in Pac-Man?

Blinky - Pac-Man Ghost

According to one of the attract screens on the English language version of the arcade game, the red ghost is named Shadow – and his nickname is Blinky.

For some reason, it’s the nicknames that stuck with the ghosts, so in general, this one is just known as Blinky. Blinky is perhaps the leader of what’s known as the Ghost Gang; he’s definitely the most deadly ghost – and almost certainly the most likely to catch our little yellow hero. 

What pattern does Blinky follow?

Unlike the others, Blinky speeds up as Pac-Man eats more dots in the maze. With 20 dots remaining in the first maze, Blinky gets faster – but in subsequent mazes, he speeds up even sooner. He’s a very tough enemy to outrun, especially as he follows Pac-Man closely once he’s on his trail – and doesn’t even cease his relentless pursuit during periods when the other ghosts enter scatter mode.

Who is the pink ghost?

Pinky - Pac-Man Ghost

Oddly – despite Blinky being the ghost known to speed up – the pink ghost’s ‘real’ name is Speedy. However, she’s more commonly known by her nickname, Pinky. Like the other ghosts, she has her own, very specific patterns of movement.

What pattern does Pinky follow?

Pinky moves around maze walls in an anti-clockwise pattern, but also roughly follows Pac-Man’s movement – targeting four spaces ahead of where the player is headed, which is designed to get out in front of them and cut them off. During scatter mode, Pinky heads for the top left corner and moves in an anti-clockwise, circling motion around the corner walls.

Who is the cyan ghost?

Inky - Pac-Man Ghost

The cyan ghost’s ‘official’, original English-language name was Bashful, but his nickname – and like the others, the name he’s known by now – is Inky. The most unpredictable of the four ghosts, Inky is dangerous because you can’t always know exactly what he’s going to do next!

What pattern does Inky follow?

This is a strange one – though unpredictable, Inky’s behaviour is actually linked to the position of the Ghost Gang’s leader, Blinky. He’ll patrol an area dependent on where Blinky is at any given time – and will become more random the further away from Blinky he is. During scatter mode, Inky will patrol the lower right corner of the maze. You know those moments where you get trapped between two ghosts and can’t get away? That’ll usually be Inky and his random behaviour getting you cornered!

Who is the orange ghost?

Clyde - Pac-Man Ghost

Pokey – more commonly known as Clyde – is the one ghost whose name doesn’t rhyme with the others. Poor Clyde – always the outsider! His behaviour reflects this too, cleverly – unlike the others, he just doesn’t seem to have much interest in chasing Pac-Man.

What pattern does Clyde follow?

Though Clyde does chase Pac-Man (in much the same way as Blinky), when he gets within eight spaces of Pac-Man, he starts to retreat into the bottom-left corner of the maze. This is also the area he patrols during scatter mode, making the bottom left Clyde’s Corner!

How do you fight back against the ghosts?

Frightened or Vulnerable Blue Ghost - Pac-Man

There are four Power Pellets in the maze; when Pac-Man eats one, the ghosts turn temporarily blue – signifying that they can be eaten by the hero! This last for just a short time; the ghosts start flashing between blue and white to demonstrate that they are about to turn back to their normal, dangerous colours – in later levels, the period of time to get your revenge is so brief as to be almost imperceptible. 

How does this affect their movement?

When a Power Pellet is eaten, the ghosts immediately change their movement patterns, regardless of whether they were in their pursuit or scatter modes. They immediately move away from Pac-Man’s position – and at a much slower speed than normal. Other than that initial reversal of chasing Pac-Man, their movement is randomly decided at each intersection they reach. This gives Pac-Man some valuable breathing room to clear dots from the maze – or get his revenge if the ghosts are close enough!

What happens to the ghosts when Pac-Man eats them?

If Pac-Man does eat them, only the ghost’s eyes remain – and they immediately race back to the pen at the centre of the maze, where they regenerate and re-emerge. It’s important to note that they regenerate and return immediately This means that, even if the effects of the Power Pellet are still in play for the other ghosts, it’s possible to have a fully regenerated, non-blue, dangerous ghost (or ghosts) on your tail – as well as having blue ghosts simultaneously running from you!  

Are there other ghosts?

pac man ghost pattern

There’s quite a few! Later Pac-Man games introduced new ghosts or simply replaced poor, neglected Clyde. For example, the orange ghost in Ms. Pac-Man is Sue, though her behaviour and appearance are the same as Clyde. To differentiate between them, Sue became purple in later games (and the short-lived, mostly forgotten, animated TV show from 1982). Tim is the name of the orange ghost in Jr. Pac-Man – but again, it’s basically just Clyde with a different name!

Pac-Mania added two new ghosts to Pac-Man’s rogue gallery: Funky and (ahem) Spunky. Funky was a green ghost and Spunky was grey; their only other appearances were in Pac-Man 256 – though they behaved very differently there. Pac-Man 256 also introduced the scary, teleporting Glitchy!

There are many more – especially in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures, which originated as a CGI cartoon. This had a huge cast of individual ghosts with their own characters and very distinct visual characteristics – but the most iconic, famous ghosts remain the four originals from the Ghost Gang: Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde!

This article may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to purchase an item we may earn a commission. Thank you for your support.

Jason Brown

Jason – who lives in the UK – has had a lifelong interest in video games, which all started when he discovered Space Invaders in the early 80s. The first game he ever completed was Wonder Boy in Monster Land on the Sega Master System – which remains one of his proudest gaming achievements. Jason is a passionate writer – and has been writing about gaming since the late 90s. He currently runs pop culture blog, which he updates on a daily basis (and has written more than 700 articles on the blog alone!).

Outside of video games, Jason is a keen tabletop gamer, film buff and comic book fan.

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How Do the Ghosts in PAC-MAN Decide Where to Go?

According to Iwatani, all of the ghosts in Pac-Man have their own distinct personality which influences the movements they make. This was a deliberate choice Iwatani made very early on in the game’s development so that, as he said, “they weren’t all just chasing after Pac-Man in single file, which would have been tiresome and flat.”

In fact, only one of the ghosts in Pac-Man actually directly chases the titular hero, Blinky (the red ghost), while the rest have movements that don’t go directly for Pac-Man, but are influenced by Pac-Man’s current position on the screen. You see, the Pac-Man game-board is normally separated into a grid consisting of multiple 8 pixel by 8 pixel squares, known as tiles, with the tile Pac-Man currently resides in generally being the thing used by the ghosts to determine which direction they will go after they transition to a new tile.

In regards to Blinky, along with being the only ghost to actively pursue Pac-Man directly in-game, he’s also the only ghost not  to begin each round inside the small holding pen in the middle of the screen (known by fans as “the ghost house”).

Put simply, Blinky is programmed to target whichever tile Pac-Man currently occupies, giving the illusion that he’s chasing the player. As the game progresses, Blinky’s speed increases to the point that he becomes marginally faster than Pac-Man at which point he becomes what fans refer to as “Cruise Elroy”. The exact number of dots you need to consume for Blinky to become Cruise Elroy depends on which level you’re currently playing, with the overall number dropping the further you get into the game to the point that he will assume Cruise Elroy form when there are still 60 dots left on screen. Blinky will momentarily cease being Cruise Elroy whenever the player loses a life.

As for where the name Cruise Elroy comes from, despite being ingrained as part of Pac-Man lore, nobody seems to know. In the original arcade game, Blinky’s official name is “ Shadow ” alluding to the fact that he is almost always right behind the player. In the Japanese version, his personality is described as “ oikake ” which roughly translates to “ chaser “.

The Pink ghost, known as Pinky, is programmed to try and land on the space 16 pixels (or two tiles in front) of Pac-Man to ambush him. However, due to “overflow error” in the game’s code, if Pac-Man is facing upwards, Pinky will instead attempted to land on the space 4 tiles in front of him and 4 tiles to the left.  Interestingly, because Pinky is programmed to always be ahead of Pac-Man, you can usually make her stop chasing you by heading straight for her.

In the English arcade version of the game, Pinky is known as “Speedy” which many believe is a mistake, since Blinky is the only ghost who can travel faster than the player. However, in the game Super Smash Bros , this apparent misnomer is clarified as follows : “A pink ghost that strategically targets Pac-Man in the Pac-Man series. She’s also known as Speedy, as she can anticipate Pac-Man’s moves and get ahead of him quick enough to ambush him.”

In the Japanese version of the game, Pinky’s personality is described as “ machibuse ” which fittingly translates to “ ambusher “.

The blue ghost, known as Inky, has what has been described as one of the more difficult ghosts to avoid for seasoned players, because his movements appear more erratic than the others. You see, Inky’s movements are determined by both the relative position of Pac-Man and  Blinky.

In a nutshell, Inky will try to move to a tile that is calculated by taking the tile two spaces ahead of Pac-Man and doubling the distance Blinky is away from it. Similar to Pinky, if Pac-Man is facing upwards, this tile will be two tiles ahead of Pac-Man and two tiles to the left. Because of this comparatively complex targeting method, Inky’s movement’s fluctuate a bit, making his English name “ Bashful ” rather appropriate. In the Japanese version, Inky’s personality is described as “ k imagure ” which roughly translates to “ Fickle ” as a nod to his indecisive movements.

As for the final, orange ghost, known as Clyde, his movements are based on how far away he currently is from Pac-Man. Whenever Clyde is more than 8 tiles away from Pac-Man, his movements are identical to that of Blinky’s, in that he will actively attempt to move towards whichever tile Pac-Man is currently occupying.  However,  as soon as Clyde comes within 8 tiles of the circular hero, he will attempt to flee to the bottom left portion of the screen and hide there.

In the English version of the game, Clyde is described as “Pokey”, alluding to his seeming stupidity. In the Japanese version, Clyde comes out a little better, with his personality being listed as “ otoboke ” or “ feigning ignorance “.

Along with this, the ghosts also have three possible modes that they can be in at any one time, Chase Mode, Scatter Mode and Frightened Mode. In chase mode, the ghosts will move exactly as previously described. After a few seconds of gameplay (with the exact amount varying depending on the current level), the ghosts will enter what is known as Scatter Mode, where they will all flee to a different corner of the map, with Blinky heading for the top right, Pinky heading for the top left, Inky heading for the bottom right and Clyde heading for the bottom left.

During Scatter Mode, each ghost’s individual target tile is placed just outside of their respective favourite corner, causing them to endlessly move in circles. The ghosts can only enter Scatter Mode a maximum of 4 times in a given life or level, at which point they’ll enter Chase Mode indefinitely.

As for Frightened Mode, this occurs whenever Pac-Man eats a Power Pellet and is characterised by all of the ghosts turning blue and running away, at which point Pac-Man can eat them. Upon entering Frightened Mode, all of the ghosts will immediately reverse direction and upon reaching a corner, a “psuedo-random number generator” will decide the direction they turn at that point. After Frightened Mode ends, the ghosts will continue with whatever they were doing before. Annoyingly, after moving past level 20, Power Pellets will no longer cause ghosts to become blue.

All of these factors combine to make the four ghosts incredibly difficult to avoid for newer players at higher levels, meaning the game provides a continuous challenge for all but the most skilled aficionados, who can abuse the ghost’s rudimentary AI to move unimpeded around the maps. The master of this sort of thing is Billy L. Mitchell, who is often hailed as the greatest arcade game player of all time- among many other arcade game records being the first to achieve a perfect Pac-Man score of 3,333,360, doing so on July 3, 1999. How does one achieve that score? Simply by managing to eat every dot, bonus, energizer, and ghost on every single level (255 full levels, with a 256th that can’t be completed due to a bug in the game) without ever having Pac-Man die.

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy our new popular podcast, The BrainFood Show ( iTunes , Spotify , Google Play Music , Feed ), as well as:

  • The Development of the Video Game “Pong” was a Training Exercise for a New Gaming Developer at Atari and Wasn’t Originally Intended to Be Released
  • The Origin of the Legend of Zelda
  • How the Gun on the Original Duck Hunt Game Worked
  • The Surprisingly Long History of Nintendo
  • The Rights to Tetris Were Originally Owned by the Soviet Union

Bonus Facts:

  • Billy L. Mitchell also was the first known person to achieve more than one million points in Donkey-Kong; the most recent to achieve a score greater than 10 million in Centipede; and for a time held the record for points in Donkey Kong Jr. at 857,300 and then beat that score in 2010, upping it to 1,270,900. On the same weekend in July that year, he also reclaimed the world record in Donkey Kong at 1,062,800. This list goes on and on and on.
  • Pac-Man was originally going to be called “Puck-Man” but was changed at the last minute because Western arcade owners were worried people would scratch out part of the P in Puck-Man so that it would say something less than family friendly
  • The ghosts in Pac-Man always  leave the ghost house to the left, however, due their programming, they can immediately change direction as soon as leaving depending on where you are.
  • In some levels of the game there are “Safe Zones” on the maps where you can hide and, due to the ghost’s programming, will never be caught. Players trying to achieve the maximum score (which takes upwards of three hours of continuous play) often make use of these to rest during marathon sessions.
  • Although the ghosts can sometimes move faster than Pac-Man, for example, Blinky when he becomes Cruise Elroy, Pac-Man can always theoretically outrun them because he can turn corners instantly, whereas the ghosts must stop for a brief moment, turn and then continue moving.
  • The Pac-Man Dossier
  • Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior
  • Ghost Psychology
  • Blinky, Inky, Pinky, and Clyde: A small onomastic study
  • Five things you never knew about Pac-Man
  • The Art of Video Games: From Pac-Man to Mass Effect
  • Image Source
  • Entertainment

One comment

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Tonight I found out new words; unimpeded & aficionados. These two words make me want to be an unimpeded aficionade.


Table of Contents

  • Gameplay tips
  • Arcade bootlegs
  • Achievements and trophies

Pac-Man Namco artwork.png

In the wiki spirit, everyone is invited to upload their favorite Pac-Man patterns to this page. In order to assist you with making that possible, please click on the Pattern Template thumbnail and use the image contained there.

  • 1 Procyon's pattern
  • 2 Goodrich and Butcher Cherry pattern
  • 3 Goodrich Midfruit pattern
  • 4 Goodrich Apple through 1st Bell pattern
  • 5 Goodrich 9th key pattern
  • 6 Classic Arcade "apple and up" pattern (Eric TB ETB)
  • 7 256 Board - Split-screen

Procyon's pattern [ edit ]

PM Procyon Pattern.png

  • This pattern won't clear the level entirely, but it should leave you with two power pellets and just a few dots remaining on the upper half of the screen, which is the easier half to clear.
  • This is the basis for a pattern that should get you through to the key stages. It should work as is on the cherry stage, but it will take a little tweaking to use in later stages. On the cherry stage, you should reach the first power pellet in the southwest corner just as three ghosts are entering that section from the other direction, and Clyde is just leaving the ghost pen.
  • In later stages, it may look as though you will collide with Blinky before you enter the tunnel, but he should never be able to catch you.
  • Around the apple stage, it becomes necessary to hesitate above and to the right of the ghost pen until Pinky enters beneath you and travel down and past the fruit. You can safely follow behind him until you reach the power pellet.
  • The pattern should have you arriving in time to pick up the first fruit of the level. Since the pattern is a little more open ended, you should feel free to pick up the second fruit if it's safe to do so.
  • Before grabbing the second power pellet in the southeast corner, I like to do a little "clean up" in the alleys to the left of the pellet. If you don't feel that it is safe to do so, grab the pellet first and then clean up the remaining dots.

Goodrich and Butcher Cherry pattern [ edit ]

Pac-Man Lvl1pat.jpg

  • Pac-Man Pattern for the first level created By Ben Goodrich and Austin Butcher. This pattern gets most of the dots and it eat 4 ghosts with the first power pellet. (Does not work on lv. 2)

Goodrich Midfruit pattern [ edit ]

PM lvl2-3-4.png

  • This pattern created by Ben Goodrich gets most of the dots and both fruits.
  • At point A where you get the second fruit is freestyle time.
  • Pattern works for lvls 2, 3, and 4.

Goodrich Apple through 1st Bell pattern [ edit ]

PM lvl5through11.png

  • Pattern created by Ben Goodrich and clears all the dots.
  • The patterns changes at the 2nd Bell

Goodrich 9th key pattern [ edit ]

PM lvl21+.png

  • Pac-Man Pattern for the 21st level and higher created by Ben Goodrich. This patterns gets all the dots.
  • This pattern should take 53 seconds to complete.

Classic Arcade "apple and up" pattern (Eric TB ETB) [ edit ]

Pacman Pattern.png

This pattern was learned by watching people in the arcades, for the 5th board (apple) and later. It takes you through both fruits, and leaves only the immediate dots surrounding the energizers.

  • You approach Pinky head on, and right as you're about to collide, duck to the right. It won't work if your timing is slow (like getting stuck somewhere, even if you've done everything right).
  • Pinky is right on your tail (sometimes literally!) through this entire lap. Again, if you're slow, he'll catch you. If it looks like you won't make it, you'll have to cut away somewhere and abort the pattern. Sometimes, probably from being a few pixels off somewhere, things will be off, and Pinky will end up a bit further behind you. So there will be no danger of him catching up to you, and even though all the other monster positions will be different (Like you won't see #4 at all), this pattern will still work.
  • On the upper levels, beginning with the third key when the pattern changes slightly, Blinky will cut you off here. (This due to him speeding up earlier, when his "Elroy" dot count goes up) [1] . Head back the way you came, around that block, and pick up the pattern around the pen, through the key, etc. You'll have to go back for any remaining dots later.
  • It looks like you'll collide with Pinky here, heading downward from his corner, but he'll cut to the left through the tunnel, while you head upward. (This due to his target point lying in the tunnel when you turn in that direction)
  • Now, all the dots, except the ones surrounding each energizer, will be cleared, You have your pick of which one to head for. If you head for the lower left first (the inner path next to the pen seems safest), the monsters will usually gather down there together and be nearby when you eat the energizer.

For lower board versions of this pattern, since the monsters are slower, it basically involves stalling along the way, sometimes going around an extra block or something, and then continuing along the pattern.

a. On the cherry, duck to the side and eat the two dots first, then go back and resume the pattern. This will give Pinky time to get in position for point 1, and then they'll pretty much move similar, allowing you to grab the fruit, and continue the pattern to point 2, with Pinky a safer distance behind you.

Where you may get hung up, is right before point 3, clearing Blinky's area while he's patrolling it. This is the point at which they reverse, going into chase mode, and then not only him, but also Pinky come directly after you and trap you at point 3 (and you've already likely skipped over some of the dots to the right to avoid Blinky when he reverses).

b. On the strawberry and oranges, stall a couple of times in this area, and then clear all the dots around the block at point a. (left two first, then counterclokwise). This will give Pinky time to get in position for point 1 and beyond. You may get through point 3 with this, but since it's hard to make the same exact stall move, the results will come out differently. A monster may cut you off right before point 2 when coming up from beside the "T". You may still run into the problem right before point 3.

256 Board - Split-screen [ edit ]

PM pac-split2.png

When you reach the ninth key, it will continue until you reach the 256 board. This is the split screen.

There are patterns for this, and also nine hidden dots on the right side. If you have five men, you can lose a life and gain 90 points, resulting in a maximum score of 3,333,360.

Also, don't forget that a bug will let you pass through the ghosts unharmed.

Navigation menu

Crochet Pac-Man and Ghosts


Introduction: Crochet Pac-Man and Ghosts

Crochet Pac-Man and Ghosts

Pac-Man and his ghosts! This started as a project to just crochet Pac-Man. Then this expanded to making the ghosts, then to making the ghosts with movable eyes, and lastly to adding in covers to make the ghosts switch to dark blue. I am most pleased with how the ghosts turned out. Hope you enjoy!

pac man ghost pattern

Step 1: Supplies


  • Yarn (I used Red Heart yarn to get these results) ( Yellow , Light Pink , Red , darker yellowish tan or gold , aruba sea , dark blue , black )
  • Black and White Felt
  • White Thread
  • Sewing Needle
  • Good Scissors
  • Button (optional for tracing)

Step 2: Making Pac-Man

Making Pac-Man

Pac-Man is really simple. The main body is Yellow and his mouth is Black.

Body : (in Yellow)

  • Magic Ring 5, ch 1, turn (I tried to do this with just chaining 2 and then crocheting 5 sc. into the second st. from the end, but this caused a big hole to show so I think a magic ring works better because it makes the stitches tighter)
  • Skip first st., Inc across (10) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next st., inc. in next] Repeat (15) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 2 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (20) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 3 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (25) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 4 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (30) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 5 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (35) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 6 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (40) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [Sc. in next 7 sts., inc. in next] Repeat (45) ch. 1, turn (It might help later to keep a marker here)
  • Sc. across (45) ch. 1, turn
  • Sc. across (45) ch. 1, turn (It might help later to keep a marker here)
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 7 sts., dec.] Repeat (40) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 6 sts., dec.] Repeat (35) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 5 sts., dec.] Repeat (30) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 4 sts., dec.] Repeat (25) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 3 sts., dec.] Repeat (20) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next 2 sts., dec.] Repeat (15) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., [sc. in next st., dec.] Repeat (10) ch. 1, turn
  • Skip first st., dec. (5) slip stitch closed and tie off

Mouth : (in Black)

  • Chain 8, turn
  • Sc. across (7) ch. 1, turn
  • Sc. across (7), tie off

You will have to decide how long the mouth piece needs to be based on how big your Pac-Man's body ends up being.

To attach the mouth on the body, start at one corner of the black piece and one corner of Pac Man's mouth. I single crocheted around with yellow yarn. If you marked where you stopped increasing and started decreasing you should be able to match up the corners of the black piece easily to the corners of his mouth. To make it easier and make sure the piece attaches evenly, use paperclips to hold the mouth to his body. It will look like he has many lip piercings.

I put in some stuffing when I started to make it easier to grab him and then finished stuffing him before I finished crocheting him up.

Step 3: Ghosts


I really like crocheting the ghosts. Especially the little ghost feet! You will need your Pink, Turquoise, Red, and yellowish Tan color yarns.

  • Magic Ring 6
  • Inc. around (12)
  • Sc. in first st., inc. Repeat (18)
  • Sc. in first 2 sts., inc. Repeat (24)
  • Sc. in first 5 sts., inc. Repeat (28)
  • Sc. in first 6 sts., inc. Repeat (32)
  • Sc. in first 7 sts., inc. Repeat (36)
  • Sc. around (36)
  • Sc. around (36)*
  • [sl. st., sc., inc. dc., inc. dc., sc., sl. st.] Repeat (48)
  • [sl. st., sl. st., sc., inc. dc., inc. dc., sc., sl. st., sl. st.] Repeat (60) tie off

*Author Nina Tangled recommends on round 16 to stitch around in front loop only use the back loops to sew in the bottom piece

Ghost's Bottom :

  • Sc. in first 3 sts., inc. Repeat (30)
  • Sc. in first 4 sts., inc. Repeat (36) sl. st. closed and leave a tail to use to sew to body

Step 4: Ghost Eyes and Putting Them Together

Ghost Eyes and Putting Them Together

  • Cut out 8 3/4 inch by 3/4 inch square pieces of black felt
  • Cut out white circles about 1 1/4 inch in diameter (I used a botton as a guide) (Picture 4)
  • Put a dab of hot glue on the head of the brad and stick it to the center of the back square. Do this for all of the back pieces. Hot glue is the best because it dries fast (Picture 5)
  • Fold over and glue the four corners of the black square. (Picture 6)
  • Fold over and glue the four corners you just created by folding over the other corners. Be very careful. I dabbed on a bit of hot glue and let it cool a bit, then pushed it down and held it with your finger, but you should of course not do this because you will burn yourself (Picture 7)
  • Take one of your circles and cut out an "X" off to the side but not too close to the edge
  • Stick the brad through the hole and you have your eye (Picture 9)
  • I lined up the black brad with one of the front feet and went down about 8 rows. Make sure you like up the black brads together or the eyes will look odd (Picture11)
  • Bend the back of the brads inside the body, but not right next to the body. ( Picture 12) You want there to be a little room so you can move the white part of the eye.

Sewing Ghost Together :

Sew the circle to the bottom of the ghost. Not counting row 19, count up 3 rows and sew the circle to that row only sewing to the inside of the stitches so they cannot be seen from the outside of the ghost. I lined up the points of the circle (since it is more of a hexagon with the dips of the ghost feet (Pictures 18 - 21). It helped to turn the ghost feet out as in Pictures 22 and 23. Don't forget to stuff the ghosts.

Pictures 13 - 17 show how you can move around the white part of the eye to make the ghost look in any direction.

*Author Nina Tangled recommends dipping the feet of the ghost in glue to give them more stability so they don't curl.

Step 5: Blue Ghost Cover

Blue Ghost Cover

You need the dark blue yarn for the ghost cover. It is pretty much the same as the ghost except you expand to 42 stitches around, you crochet 3 extra rows of 42, and you add an extra double crochet (dc) to the center of each foot in each foot row.

Blue Ghost :

  • Sc. in first 5 sts., inc. Repeat (42)
  • Sc. around (42)
  • [sl. st., sc., inc. dc., dc., inc. dc., sc., sl. st.] Repeat (54)
  • [sl. st., sl. st., sc., inc. dc., dc., inc. dc., sc., sl. st., sl. st.] Repeat (66) tie off
  • I used a button again to trace and cut out the yes for the ghost
  • Draw out a squiggly mouth
  • Sew on all your pieces
  • Make sure the eyes are level with each other

Putting the blue ghost over a regular ghost :

  • I turned the ghosts' eyes so they were looking up, this will make it so you won't damage the white part of the eyes
  • Slip the blue ghost over the colored ghost (Picture 6)
  • Once it is on, tuck up the colored ghost's feet so they don't show (Pictures 8 and 9)

Step 6: The Whole Gang!

The Whole Gang!

Now you have the whole gang ready!

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patterns > Megan's Crochet Market Ravelry Store > Reversible Pac-Man Ghost

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pac man ghost pattern

Reversible Pac-Man Ghost

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This pattern is made as a charity item to raise money for the Burlington Humane Society. If you are downloading this pattern, in lieu of payment, please consider donating to your local humane society or donating to the cause here:

Thank you Love, Pix Stitch and Megan’s Crochet Market

Supplies: 3.5mm hook Size 4 yarn Darning needle Sewing pins Stitch marker (optional but helpful) Scissors

Skills: Mc: Magic Circle Sc: Single Crochet Inc: Increase Working in the round Basic Sewing skills

Amigurumi Vulpix pattern

  • First published: December 2021
  • Page created: December 11, 2021
  • Last updated: December 13, 2021 …
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Pac-Man Guide

Playing Pacman is easy to learn and hard to master (like all classic games). Simply score as many points as you can eating the small dots all around the maze. 10 points per dot (240 of them). Big points come when you eat 1 of the 4 Big flashing dots called Energizers worth 50 points located in each corner of the maze. You can gather a possible 14,600 points for each level, and if you gobble up a few fruits you add to the level. The first fruit, the cherry, gives a small bonus of 100 points, progressing to higher levels like the Key level you can receive as high as 5000 point per fruit eaten. Once you eat an energizer, all the monsters in the maze turn blue and run away from you. At this point you can eat the monsters for points effectively doubling the points from 200 to 1600 per monster you eat. The monsters will only stay blue for a limited time, or until you eat them all. Once you eat a monster it's eyes are the only thing left until they return to the monster bull pin, and the monster regenerates back, comes out of the monster bull pin, and is on the move again though the maze. It is fairly easy to eat all the monsters during the limited time of the Energizer phase, however the more mazes you clear, the shorter the Energizer phase is. Sooner or later at this point, it's a good thing that fruits are worth more points because the monsters start getting so fast that you almost can't even see them turning blue, and even later they do not even reverse at all. Every Pacman attic has a love-hate relationship with the monsters. You've got to eat them for points, however you want to stay far away as long as possible. Serious players will start to understand the personality of each of the monster and use this to their advantage. Once you're read this web page, take a few days to practice up on your newly honed skills. Then challenge your friends to a game of Pacman. You'll amaze them with your skill.

Pac-Man Pattern Theories

In order to go though each level faster and faster, you must form logical and repeatable patterns. The Cherry partner is the first of three logical patterns. If these patterns are followed with accuracy, the Pacman will safely outwit the monsters and get a huge majority of the dots on the maze at the same time. Once you memorize the patterns, you'll be able to relax and play just like a pro. Many people are even seen yawning during the first few levels. The toughest part about running patterns is that fact that you must move your Pacman around following the precise pattern. Failure to follow the pattern without hesitation, can throw the timing off enough to lose the pattern. Certain situations can look like certain death, be brave and run full throttle around ever single corner. To do this you must train yourself to have the joystick already going in the direction that you want to go, a split second before the actual turn. Pacman Pros can't stress this enough.

The Cherry Pattern

Pac-Man Cherry PatternStart of by going left. (A) Make sure that you clear the entire bottom row of dots. You can stay out of the danger area if you do this quickly first. If you miss one dot, and have to return it, will blow the entire pattern. (B) Three monsters will be coming at you here. Don't hesitate and make the pattern as quick as possible. (C) Here eat your Energizer, then kill the three monsters running from you. The fourth monster will be running toward the bottom screen. Chase him to kill for 1600 point while he's still blue. (D) Once you've reached this area, you're on your own here. A few monsters will be following you at this point. Eat the top right energizer and kill the monsters. If the monsters stop following you and retreat, clear as many dots as possible on the top part of the screen and head for the energizer on the top left. The monsters will eventually close in, where you can eat the energizer and kill them.

The Mid-Fruit Pattern

Pac-Man Mid-Fruit PatternThe pace picks up at bit here with the second mid fruit pattern. This pattern works with the next three screens. The first will have a strawberry: the second will have peaches. The monsters don't stay blue as long as they did in the first pattern. Point values for eating fruits are going up. The tunnels become more effective as the speeds increase here. Start off going to the left again. (A) Clear the bottom row of dots again, but this time retrace your steps on that bottom row. (B) Again, turning this corner is critical. Do not hesitate. The monsters are charging faster than the first maze. If you're slick, you'll survive. (C) Eat this energizer and kill the three monsters. One will try to escape though the tunnel, go get him before he goes into the tunnel. Then go to the bottom to get the forth monster for that 1600 points before they turn back from blue. (D) Once here, you're on your own once again. The strategy is similar again here. If the monster keeps after you, eat the top right energizer and kill them. If the monsters retreat, eat the dots on the top of the screen and make your way over to the top left.

The Apple Pattern

Pac-Man Apple PatternThe Apple pattern is the third and final Pacman pattern. If followed correctly, with hesitation, you'll successfully gobble up most of the small dots on the screen before you eat any monsters or energizers. Play these corners to your own style, but keep in mind that the monsters only stay blue for a very limited time now. You might be able to only eat 1-2 before they turn back. Do not get to greedy on eating monsters, your bigger points will come from eating the 2 fruits per level that this pattern will let you get. (A) Unlike the first two patterns, you clear only half the bottom row of dots, and move upward first. (B) at this point you have already been though here, but guide your Pacman down to the corner here, then double back. This is a decoy and will make the monsters slip right on by you. When the coast is clear, you resume the pattern. (C) 2 dots will remain here. Quickly, and we do mean quickly, snatch up these dots, reverse, and continue up. If you lagged previously in the plan, you may not be able to snatch up these dots. If you can do it, it will leave a nice clean maze. (D) If a monster is charging you right at this point, hesitate, and let the monster go past under you. Follow the monster though the tunnel, but do not overtake him. If no monster is approaching, simply follow the plan as show. (E) Go though the tunnel. At this point near 80% of the maze will be clear of dots. The only remaining dots will be conveniently around the energizers. Play each corner with your own style. Shake the joystick to lure the monsters into the energizer trap. Some screens during various levels keep the monsters blue for longer. Make sure you give yourself time needed to eat the monsters while there still blue if your going after them.

Pac-Man Pattern Variations

After Pacman developed a dedicated audience of followers in arcade, people started learning patterns and scoring huge scores while tying up the games for hours. By demand from Arcade owners, Midway came up with some variations in the ROMS, throwing off patterns so that original patterns didn't work anymore. It became evident that Midway had simply switched the orders of the patterns. Combine this with the bootleg roms out there, the general public didn't know what game version you we're playing on. It's important that you figure out which version of Midway game you we're playing on. This can be done by watching the behavior of the monsters first.

Upon the start of the first maze, if the light blue monster "bashful" stays in the monster bull pin, you're on a 1-2-5 machine. This means that the cherry pattern is used during the first maze; the Mid-fruit pattern on the screen 2,3,and 4; and the apple pattern from screens 5 on till your arm falls off. If "Bashful" leaves the monster bull pin and goes stair-step fashion downward to the bottom right part of the screen, you're on a 1-3 design type machine, where the mid-fruit pattern is used on screens 1 and 2, and the apple pattern is used from screen 3 onward until you get throw out of the Arcade. If "Bashful" doesn't behave in any of these ways, most likely your on some type of machine that is a variant, bootleg, or other non-Midway machine. You can try to devise your own plans, but this web page is mostly made up for Midway Original machines.

Tricks, Zones, and Hiding Spots

(A) and (C) These areas marked in red lines, are areas that have been designated as Danger Zones. These are areas in which you have to remember to spend the least amount of time in as possible. Scoop up the dots as fast as you can, and stay out if at all possible. (B) The tunnel can be used as an effective tool, especially in the higher levels as it slows down monsters going though, and this can buy you a little bit of time if the monsters are hot on your trail. However, do not stay in the tunnel for any amount of time, use it for going though over and over, but don't hang around it or go from side to side to side. The monsters will know what you're doing, and will cut you off.

Whether or not Midway intended it, there's a secret hiding spot in the Pacman maze. This magical spot will keep you safe from all monsters for as long as you like, but only during the cherry and mid-fruit phases. (D) Simple enter this area when the monsters are looking away from you. Once there, the monsters will not be able to see you, and will dart around looking for you in a repetitive pattern. This hiding spot comes in handy for these breaks like going to the bathroom, and getting something to eat.

Fakeouts and Lures are the hallmark of a good Pacman strategy. Although they are ingenious individual techniques, all fake outs build on a basic concept: Misdirection. It is at the heart of every good chase and is what makes Pacman so apealing. Once you've been playing long enough, you'll notice certain patterns that each one of the monsters carry out. In order to catch you, they must corner you. In order to corner you, they have to cooperate jointly. One monster will always pursue you, while others try and think one step ahead, and cut off your routes. This gives you an advantage once you discover that your being set up. By heading toward one direction, you can simple circle around a block in the maze suddenly going in the other direction. Most of the headoff monsters will be sent flying in the wrong direction. Since the monsters usually take their routes, this buys you time in order to pick up more dots usually on the other side of the maze. In certain cases if you are near an energizer and would like the monsters to be close so you can eat them for points, you can get the monsters attention by using the hesitation method right before you eat an energizer. This creates a good lure to bring them close to an Energizer when you eat it.

Finally, be sure to take your time. There's no time limit on finishing a maze up, and the monsters don't get smarter or faster despite what you might here in the game. Treat it as if you have all the time in the world to just go around the maze in some kind of illogical pattern of directions. You'll find that you play much better with this in mind. Make the maximum out of the first levels. Get as many monsters using the energizers as possible, later on this becomes very difficult as the monster don't stay blue very long at all. And finally, don't eat the last dot next to the energizer just yet. Wait for those monsters, eat the energizer, kill the monsters, then go back and get the last dot. But do it after they turn back from blue. I know it looks like you just want to finish off the maze, and get to the next already, but it's easy points right before you finish the level.

Pac-Man Pattern Fever

Pac-man’s fun and addictive nature captured public imagination and kicked off an entire culture of video game mastery that’s still going strong today..

 Filed under: arcades , games , mame , pac-man , pac-man fever , repetition , video games , vintage gaming

Hey all, Ernie here with a piece from David Buck , who spent a lot of time recently researching obscure patterns that once took the arcades of the world by storm. It’s time for a little Pac-Mania!

Today in Tedium: As a kid, I owned the Atari 2600 port of Pac-Man . I enjoyed the game from that moment onward, even if it wasn’t the ideal introduction to Pac-Man . The rich history of the game, its sequels, and spin-offs is well covered around the internet , but the act of playing the game and perfecting one’s own performance within its legendary mazes doesn’t seem to generate much buzz in the 21st century. The Pac-Man patterns are one of the most interesting aspects of the game’s entire history. In today’s Tedium we’ll be revisiting Pac-Man through the many ways it has been—and continues to be—played, mastered, and adored today. So get those patterns committed to memory and don’t forget to eat plenty of fruit before you do. — David @ Tedium

Today’s issue is sponsored by Lemonade . More from them in a second.

The final stage of the arcade version is Pac-Man. After 255 levels of normal play, the game experiences a glitch where half of the screen becomes a jumbled mess and effectively ends the game. This kill screen is occasionally the subject of great fascination among fans and programmers. In 2007, Don Hodges broke down the reason why the kill screen appears as a problem in the code, where the program messes up as it attempts to draw the fruit. He goes on to offer a potential fix for the code in his article, so if your Assembly isn’t too rusty , you can always try it at home.

1119 pacman

Precise turns and patterns galore

Pac-Man was a cultural phenomenon from the beginning , but evolved into a beloved, inclusive , and instantly recognizable part of modern day pop culture. The game spawned animated TV shows, several arcade variants, home versions, and music since its initial release on May 22, 1980 .

Playing and mastering the game became the subject of intense research and study on the part of the game’s players. While eye-hand coordination and making quick turns are vital to Pac-Man success, players began developing patterns of taking Pac-Man through each maze in a way that maximized scores and a series of established patterns for the mazes emerged.

Several books arrived in the early 1980s that sought to assist Pac-Man players in their eternal quest to obtain the highest score. By establishing patterns that would help Pac-Man clear each maze quickly while avoiding the ghosts, enabled players to engage in an early sort of gaming fandom and community contributions. The perfecting and sharing of patterns became so popular that at one point, Bally Manufacturing Corporation—who licensed the arcade version at the time—changed the programming on some of their games to render the established patterns completely useless .

This didn’t deter players from creating and perfecting new patterns, and Bally would later leave arcade licensing behind to focus on fitness . The “new chip” programming provided more of an opportunity for engaging in Pac-Man pattern perfection. Author Ken Uston (more on him later) would write about in his revised version of Mastering Pac-Man , noting that, “For every countermeasure, there’s a counter-countermeasure” and that experimenting with various patterns, he was able to get a few of his established ones to work while developing new ones dedicated to the new chip programming.

While Uston’s Mastering Pac-Man provided an in-depth look at the Pac-Man patterns, with a revised edition that covered the Atari version, knock-off games, and the expanded chip, other books arrived to provide a more accessible portal into the hobby.

1119 killscreen

The ultimate goal of a good Pac-Man player.

April, 1982 brought Pac-Man practitioners The Video Master’s Guide to Pac-Man from authors Jim Sykora and John Birkner. The 95-page tome boasted “new secrets” for both stand up and sit down arcade version of the game and also featured a workaround for the pattern-squashing chip.

Perhaps the most succinct (and engaging) book, however, was How to Win at Pac-Man . Written by the editors of Consumer Guide Magazine and published by Penguin Books in 1982, the book is a vastly more entertaining presentation of the Pac-Man patterns, but lacks the depth and analysis of other books. How to Win at Pac-Man presents the three primary patterns and the famous ninth key pattern, along with tips about using the tunnels, misdirecting the ghosts, and using the hiding places on each board. The tome also explores patterns for the Atari 2600 version that work great—at least they worked fine when I played the game as a kid.

The patterns are still being used by players today—and continuing to be perfected by an entirely new generation of Pac-Maniacs.


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The maximum score a player can achieve in the arcade version of Pac-Man . A lively debate about why the game’s maximum possible score peaks at this seemingly random number can readily be found online, but according to the online Pac-Man museum . Apparently, this total is the sum total of all the pellets, fruit, and ghosts found through the game’s 255 regular levels. In 1999, hot sauce manufacturer Billy Mitchell ended up achieving the score after a six-hour marathon session during which he basically finished the game by reaching the jumbled mess of level 256. From then on, he continued his attempts to set high scores in other games. Later, Mitchell was accused of using emulation to accomplish high scores in Donkey Kong , and his scores were subsequently removed from both Guinness World Records and Twin Galaxies. He’s been fighting a legal battle to get them restored ever since—despite the fact that many of the scores have been surpassed in recent years by other players.

1119 mastering

Mastering Pac-Man was written by a guy known for getting kicked out of casinos.

How a professional gambler helped breathe life into the Pac-Man Pattern phenomenon

Before he developed an interest in computers and arcade games, Ken Uston was a consultant/financial planner . When he became a professional gambler , Uston made a name for himself as Blackjack expert in 1974, authoring several books on the subject and at times, playing Blackjack in disguise at casinos that had previously thrown him out . He was not cheating, but simply cultivated a high level of skill in the game—a concept he applied to just about everything in his life and work.

A growing fascination with computer and arcade games in the early 1980s led him to writing about them and forging professional relationships with some of the companies he wrote about. His book, Mastering Pac-Man , was essentially a textbook for conquering the game. Uston’s manual is pragmatic and straightforward, but also realistic and even a bit cautionary. He never offers the patterns as a one size fits all solution to the game, but rather a tool to achieve excellence in Pac-Man . Toward the end of the book, he cautions readers that the patterns may not always work as well as intended:

In Pac-Man, remember you are playing an electronic opponent. There will be times you think you’ve played the pattern exactly—with no delays—and yet the monsters move differently than expected. This is because you can never distinguish a millisecond delay (thousandth of a second) in your pattern—but the computers can and do. One way to minimize human delay in Pac-Man is to turn the control knob in the desired direction before Pac-Man enters the intersection at which the turn is to be made. Thus he will turn “immediately” in accordance with the delay time of the Pac-Man electronics, and there will be no human-delay time. Obviously, if you turn the control knob prematurely, you’ll turn too early, at the wrong intersection. Even using this approach, you will inadvertently cause delays—delays which will seem instantaneous to you but which are interminable to the Pac-Man computer. Fortunately, small delays can usually be handled by the patterns described in this book. In most cases, you will know when you’re delayed by the movement of the monsters. I have included in the patterns, when appropriate, some of the more common delays, as well as advice on how to correct for them—if indeed the delays are correctable.

Uston’s patterns are broken down piece-by-piece in a very analytical way, but they tend to work pretty well—especially his meticulous 9th Key patterns. Patterns aside, Uston still had a bit of gambling on the brain when he wrote the book. On page 29 of the revised edition of Mastering Pac-Man , author Ken Uston asserts that one can potentially use the Pac-Man patterns presented in the book to hustle other players for money and that hustling Pac-Man games for $50 or $100 was a thing in “certain Las Vegas bars” at the time of the book’s publication. Later in the book, he once again discusses hustling Pac-Man by telling the player not to disclose his or her knowledge of patterns to their potential mark and advises players to vary their patterns a bit while gambling over Pac-Man. In a way, Uston may have unknowingly predicted the future of gambling: In 2017, casinos ran with the idea of gambling via Pac-Man with slot machines and a competitive version of the game called Pac-Man Battle Casino that featured betting and a four-player mode.

Compulsive gambling is fun, isn’t it?

Betting on Pac-Man Battle Casino ranges from $2-$20 —depending on what the casino decides they want to require for the minimum bet. A wheel is spun to determine the winner’s payout and the game begins. Something like Bandai Namco’s Pac-Man Battle Casino makes sense in 2019, but in the early days of the Pac-Man , the legality of video-style games of skill was still being determined . But the popularity of the game, in combination with some enterprising agencies, brings us to a world where Pac-Man slot machines exist. It was only a matter of time.

“Pac-Man is, hands down, the most popular video game in history. It speaks to players of all adult ages. They remember playing Pac-Man as kids. People are just going to love it—because everyone loves Pac-Man.”

— Mike Dreitzer , president of the North American branch of Ainsworth Game Technology who released the Pac-Man Wild Edition slot machine in 2017. Per Ainsworth game development director Cody Herrick, a second slot machine — Pac-Man Dynamic —was released a year later and loaded with audio and visual references to the arcade classic.

1119 pattern2

The Cherry pattern, used in early stages. (via “How to Win at Pac-Man”).

Pac-Man patterns in black & white

The Pac-Man patterns may be established, but they’re not set in stone. Over time, numerous variations have come up and are still pursued in some online circles today. A Pac-Man pattern isn’t difficult to come up with on your own. The folks over at offer a reasonable three-step process for creating your own Pac-Man patterns:

A pattern should have at least three qualities that make it worthy of remembering and using. A pattern must: 1. Be easy to remember 2. Be easy to execute (no timing hesitations) 3. Gather most of the available points on the level All patterns I post here are my own and work on the authentic Midway Pac-Man arcade game in its original, unmodified form. I don’t care for patterns that miss the “fruit” and give up those extra points. I try to stay away from reverses and never use timing hesitations. Most of all, a pattern should be fun to play.

1119 pattern1

The Apple Pattern.

The main patterns are the Cherry Pattern which covers the first stage, the Mid-Fruit Pattern for the next three stages, and the Apple Pattern that should work up until stage 16. For later stages in the game, the 5th and 9th Key pattern—when nine keys appear at the bottom of the screen—come into play, with the 9th key pattern becoming the way to finish each level from stage 25 up until the end of the game:

Variations of the 9th Key pattern come up regularly, but ultimately, it’s the pattern that will help you win the game. Just for fun, we attempted to translate some of the patterns to the NES version of the game—to varying degrees of success. The Cherry Pattern worked on the first board, while the Mid-Fruit and Apple patterns both worked for their respective stages until my poor reflexes ended the game (stages 2-4 for the former, and 5-8 for the latter). Do the 9th Key patterns work on the NES version? It’s always a possibility .

“I’ve got all the patterns down, up until the ninth key …”

— Buckner & Garcia , from the title track of their LP of songs about video games, Pac-Man Fever . Even the guys who wrote the song on the subject struggled with learning this important pattern, but such is the way of Pac-Man pattern play.

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The record sleeve for “Pac-Man Fever” included patterns, too.

That time the phenomenon of Pac-Man branched off into unexpected territory—the pop charts

This issue of Tedium wouldn’t be complete if we didn’t discuss the equally unique cultural phenomenon of songs about Pac-Man. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s made a parody of The Beatles’ “Taxman” early in his career about the game. As is typical of Al, “ Pac-Man ” pays homage to the game in a humorous way, but it lacks the comedic edge of his later work. The song remained unreleased until Al’s career spanning Squeeze Box boxed set arrived in 2017—although one could find it in the archives of a certain radio show prior to the official release, if they knew where to look .

The most famous Pac-Man song, however, came from the Ohio-based duo of Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia (known on record as Buckner & Garcia). The duo were songwriting partners who ended up with a hit and a full album of video game related songs. Later attempts at follow ups were met with indifference, but Pac-Man Fever is a true time capsule of the early 1980s that is still a fun listening experience today.

There seems to be a trend online where some writers like to mention how their song “Pac-Man Fever” hit the Billboard charts , but leaves it at that . Pac-Man Fever seems to get dismissed, as many novelty records do. But the album isn’t as bad as the hyperbole would lead you to believe. Rather, the music is well produced, catchy, and ultimately just as fun as playing the games in the arcade, circa 1983. Listening to the LP today feels more nostalgic than dated and the LP’s inner sleeve contains all of the Pac-Man patterns in full glory. Theoretically, one could listen to the record while memorizing the patterns from the sleeve and achieving a high score in the game—at least up until the 9th key, of course.

Other album tracks like “Centipede,” “Froggie’s Lament,” and “Do the Donkey Kong,” all feature stellar musical arrangements with fun and funny lyrics. The duo attempted numerous follow-ups to Pac-Man Fever , but never quite managed to gain any steam. Gary Garcia sadly passed in 2011, but the song remains an integral part of Pac-Man history—and an equally important part of pop culture history. If Pac-Man Fever isn’t exactly to your taste, you can always listen to the theme song performed in a multitude of styles instead.

The year Disney’s Wreck-It Ralph was released into theaters . The movie features a lovable Donkey Kong clone named Ralph who longs for more in his world of the arcade—and jumps into a racing game to find it. Pac-Man appears in one scene of the film and we never see or hear anything about patterns, but there’s a broader connection to “Pac-Man Fever” in the film: the movie’s theme song . Buckner & Garcia were responsible for writing and performing the catchy tune, harkening back to the glory days of Pac-Man Fever .

People like to spend a great deal of time thinking about Pac-Man these days.

In Ernest Cline’s 2011 novel Ready Player One, a perfect game of Pac-Man is an integral part of the story’s conclusion. While the fictional version of Billy Mitchell’s victory made a dent in pop culture, things get a bit more interesting in real life. Sometimes it leads to a bizarre interpretation of the game’s central themes, but the legacy of Pac-Man extends beyond high scores. The game did wonders for igniting interest in the world of video games on both the pop culture and development ends of the spectrum.

Per Gamasutra , the creator of Pac-Man intended the game to appeal to women. And it did; Pac-Man not only saw more women to play arcade games, but it helped to encourage more women to pursue game development in the future.

The game is still incredibly popular and can be found just about everywhere. The ability of a little yellow arcade game character to transcend its status as a mere game and fuel the imaginations of players for almost four decades is a remarkable feat—one rarely accomplished by any character. And what about those patterns? Variations of them are still being developed today. Not bad for a simple arcade game with a heart of gold.

Find this one an interesting read? Share it with a pal ! And thanks to Lemonade for sponsoring.

David Buck

Your time was just wasted by David Buck

David Buck is a former radio guy/musician who researches and writes about all manner of strange and interesting music, legacy technology, Nintendo and data analysis.

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Pac-Man – FAQ

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FAQ (2600) by girth

Version: 1.0 | Updated: 05/03/2003

View in: Text Mode

Gaming History: Discovering Deep Ms. Pac-Man Secrets

By chris higgins | apr 24, 2008.

pac man ghost pattern

I played a fair amount of Ms. Pac-Man in my youth, sometimes plugging my entire $3 allowance into the machine at the movie theater, or the one at the pizza parlor near my grandmother's house. I was never any good at it -- never much good at any arcade games, really -- but my father and brother were skilled Ms. Pac-Man gamers. They preferred Ms. Pac-Man to the original Pac-Man, but I don't recall ever getting an answer about why. (I must have assumed that her little red bow was the killer feature.)

Now, the original Pac-Man was famous among game nerds for its nonrandom ghost behavior. There were stories of people playing the game for days at a time by using the "hold" position -- a specific location on each board where you could park Pac-Man and he'd never be hit by a ghost, since the ghosts moved in a repeating pattern. (You'd use the hold in order to go to the bathroom, get a bite to eat, and then continue playing -- assuming you had a compatriot who would make sure no one touched the machine.) I heard legends of Pac-Man players (think Billy from King of Kong ) who had racked up unbelievably high scores by memorizing the ghosts' nonrandom movements and liberally using the hold positions over multi-day marathon sessions.

But the nonrandom ghost behavior is specific to the original Pac-Man . Ms. Pac-Man was supposed to be different. I just came across an article from 1984 revealing how a secret "hold" position was actually discovered (through extensive trial-and-error) in Ms. Pac-Man when it was thought impossible due to randomized ghost movement. Here's a tidbit:

Pac-Man was a game you could beat. You could beat it by memorizing patterns. The ghosts, you see, weren't programmed for randomness. If you zigged and they zagged, they'd do the exact same thing in a similar situation. It wasn't long before everybody knew the patterns to beat Pac-Man. Ms. Pac-Man is a different story. The ghosts are programmed for randomness, so there isn't a pattern that exists to beat it-the ghosts behave differently in each game. But there is one technique that will earn a player an incredible amount of points [called] "Grouping." If you can induce the ghosts to move close to one another, you can stay alive and get 1,600 points when you gobble them near a power pill. This is the story of three guys from Montana who got together and figured out how to give Ms. Pac-Man a beating she'll never forget.

Read the rest for a nice story of kids overcoming obstacles to achieve the "impossible." (Note: the original article is by Paul Stokstad from Computer Games magazine, June 1984. It's reprinted in the linked blog with a source credit at the bottom.)

(Via the most-excellent Anarchaia .)

  • Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures
  • View history

The Ghosts (also known as Monsters or Ghost Monsters ) are a recurring race of species and are the main enemies of the Pac-People , all of Pac-Land and Pac-Man's worlds. Ghosts tend to generally be mischievous, mostly terrorizing, haunting, attacking, or creating mischief for the people they encounter.

The most notable recurring ghosts - Blinky , Pinky , Inky , and Clyde form part of the Ghost Gang and act as the main antagonists of the Pac-Man series. Though they have mostly appeared as antagonistic characters towards Pac-Man and his family, they have been occasionally allied with Pac-Man on certain occasions.

Like the Ghost Gang, some ghosts tend to be nice to the other characters. Ghosts turn blue and scared when a Pac-Person uses a Power Pellet , which allows the user to eat the Ghosts with ease, with the exception of their eyeballs. They are spectral beings that dwell in Ghost Land and will sometimes travel to Pac-Land to cause havoc and mischief.

  • 1 Concept and creation
  • 2.1 Weakness
  • 2.2 Varieties
  • 2.3 In-Game Behavior
  • 3.1 Ghost Gang
  • 3.2 Other Notable Ghosts
  • 5.1 Group Pictures
  • 7 References

Concept and creation [ ]

Pac man 1980 ghost sprite concept art

Concept art from Pac-Man (1980), showcasing the earliest sprites sketches of the Ghosts

Namco became accustomed to the video game industry following the releases of Gee Bee , Bomb Bee, and Cutie Q ; despite the titles being considered commercial failures. In Japan, video games had surged in popularity following the success of games such as Space Invaders and Breakout . At the time, game developer Toru Iwatani felt arcade games only appealed to men for many games sharing themes of crude graphics, shooter gameplay, and violence. He decided to create a concept for a game with cuter characters that would appeal to women, as he believed that making a game that would appeal to women would make arcades appear more family-friendly, since he felt that arcades at the time had seedy environments. [1] [2] [3] The game and its concepts went into development in 1979 alongside Namco's shooter game Galaxian , which would be Namco's first video game with an RGB video display, allowing for colorful palette selections and graphics. The RGB display would be pivotal for the idea of the project which eventually became Pac-Man, so it could display vibrant colors for the titular character. [4]

Ghosts were chosen as the game's main antagonists because they were used as villainous characters in animation. [5] The four ghosts were designed to be cute, colorful, and appealing, using bright, pastel colors and blue eyes. [6] Toru Iwatani cited the inspiration of the ghosts from Casper the Friendly Ghost and the manga Obake no Q-Taro . [7]


All the ghosts were originally intended to be red until Toru Iwatani opposed the idea

When the ghosts were decided as the antagonists, Namco president Masaya Nakamura requested that all ghosts be colored red and indistinguishable from each other. The idea was opposed by Toru Iwatani, who thought the ghosts should be colored differently; this idea was supported by his colleagues. During an internal vote, all of Namco's staff were in favor of the multicolor ghosts on a 40-0 vote; Nakamura agreed to let the ghosts be multicolored. [8] The ghosts were given different personalities and methods of chasing Pac-Man in order to balance the game difficulty and prevent the game from becoming boring. Each of the ghosts were given character names to distinguish their methods of pursuing Pac-Man, and would become more difficult to avoid in later rounds. [9]

Biology [ ]


Several varieties of Ghosts as seen in Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures .

In the original games and cartoon, the Ghosts were originally portrayed as monsters that wore cloaks and were considered being tangible, as well as having feet that could only be seen visibly under their cloak. However, they had a few ghostly traits such as being able to levitate.

In the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures animated series and games, the Ghosts are portrayed as spectral ectoplasmic entities with the common ghostly traits of being semi-intangible, being able to levitate, and can leave trails of ectoplasm on living beings. They also do not appear to have a very good diet, with much of their "food" appearing to be made up mostly of inedible and gross muck like garbage, worms, body parts, and other unidentifiable substances and slimy goo, however, due to being spiritual entities without organs, these substances do no permanent harm to them. The fact that they have things such as sewers and sewage implies they still need to expel bodily waste products like Pac-People. Blinky has even admitted to passing gas on one occasion, which, sad to say, dramatically improved the smell of their food. With proper seasoning, their food can be made edible to Pac-People.

It appears that the majority of ghosts are former Pac-People, but usually bare no resemblance to their living selves, and apparently they come in a wide variety of colors and types apart from the usual standard ghostly appearance, with some appearing gigantic, cycloptic, octopus-like, etc, and it appears that they may be able to freely change between these forms depending on their moods and personalities, a likely benefit of no longer being restricted by physical forms. However, ghostly animals appear to still somewhat resemble their living animal forms, unlike Ghostly Pac-People.

They mainly attack Pac-People by biting them despite many having no visible teeth, covering them in slime, or eating them alive (according to the Atari 2600 manual of Pac-Man ).

Weakness [ ]

In the original games and cartoon, their main weakness is the Power Pellet, which can be eaten by almost any type of Pac-Being, such as Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man , Jr. Pac-Man , other Pac-People, and Pac-Animals. When eaten, Pac-People posses the ability to eat them and it causes them to turn blue with fear. Once eaten, their empty bodies will return to a chamber in the center of a maze where Pac-Man has no access and return to their original forms to continue chasing him.

In the Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures animated series and games, Pac-Man is the only one capable of eating them due to his status as a "Yellow One" and can do so even without berries in certain games while in others it is required. Power Pellets have also been replaced with Power Berries which simply act as empowering items that can give Pac-Man unique abilities that can defeat Ghosts more easily, but are still not required for eating Ghosts.

Varieties [ ]

In Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures , Ghosts, especially the Ghosts of Pac-People, come in a wide variety of shapes and forms but the majority usually appear to resemble the most common appearance of ghosts with round heads and ghostly tails but with a wide assortment of colors.

  • Alien Ghosts - a species of extraterrestrial ghosts that has a symbiotic relationship with Ghosteroids. they protect the ghosteroid and in return, the ghosteroid shelters them
  • Aqua Ghosts - ghosts that can travel effectively in water
  • Cyclops Ghosts - The second largest species of ghosts even dwarfing some monsters in the Netherworld.
  • Drill Bit Ghosts - ghosts forced to be used as the tip of huge drills.
  • Fire Ghosts - a species of ghost that conjures fire. Lord Betrayus is the most notable one.
  • Green Ghosts - ghosts that can attack with slime more effectively than others.
  • Ghosteroids - The largest species of ghosts, they are a species of extraterrestrial ghosts that have a symbiotic relationship with Alien Ghosts, the Ghosteroid shelters the alien ghosts and in return, the alien ghosts protect it.
  • Ghost Sharks - Ghosts of deceased Pac-Sharks. can also fly too.
  • Guardian Ghosts - Royal guards of the Netherworld.
  • Ice Ghosts - a species of ghost that conjures ice.
  • Jellyfish Ghosts - The smallest species of ghost, which are nonsapient and can be found in Pac-World 's seas. Their faces resemble scaredy ghosts.
  • Lightning Ghosts - a species of ghost that conjures electricity.
  • Tentacle Ghosts - a ghost that resembles a squid and/or octopus.
  • Vulnerable Ghosts - a form ghosts take when they start panicking.

In-Game Behavior [ ]

Ghosts in the original Pac-Man are limited by not being able to turn unless they reach an intersection. Each ghost will behave differently once it has reached an intersection. Some will move randomly, while others focus on chasing Pac-Man or ambushing him. Other times, the ghosts will revert to scatter mode where they try to spread themselves among the four corners of the maze.

Notable Ghost characters [ ]

Throughout the series, there have been a notable amount of Ghosts appearing within the Pac-Man games and media.

Ghost Gang [ ]


The Ghost Gang as they appear in their standard designs: Blinky , Inky , Pinky , and Clyde .

The Ghost Gang refers to the original antagonists of the first Pac-Man game, who return in most of the other games in the Pac-Man series. The group is comprised of four ghosts named Blinky , Pinky , Inky , and Clyde . In some appearances, they are joined by a fifth member named Sue , who originated from Ms. Pac-Man in place of Clyde.

Their roles in the series have mostly varied; they were originally portrayed as villainous, but are friendly in some later appearances. However, most of their solo villainous efforts usually consist of them just teasing or chasing Pac-Man (and family), while in others they take on a more antagonistic role due to being ordered to do so by their superiors (e.g. Spooky or the Ghost Witch ). Nonetheless, it appears they usually antagonize others simply for the fun and joy of scaring and pranking them, rather than genuine hate or malicious intent.

Throughout the series, the roles and names of Blinky and Clyde are often mixed up; this has been commonly referred to by fans as the Clyde and Blinky error .

  • Character: Bad-tempered, crude, bossy, bully, fast, bratty, grouchy, dangerous, mean, sarcastic, greedy, mostly aggressive, he's the responsible leader of the four and the arch-nemesis of Pac-Man .
  • Color: Pink (or sometimes magenta)
  • Character: Mischievous, persistent, tricky, cute, adorable, beautiful, happy, lovely, has a big crush on Pac-Man from time to time. In the original arcade game, she's the only female ghost.
  • Color: Cyan (or sometimes blue or light blue)
  • Character: Goofy, shy, unpredictable, wacky, shattered-brained, a little reckless, dizzy, can also sometimes chase Pac-Man aggressively like Blinky.
  • Color: Orange
  • Character: Cowardly, lazy, stupid, brainless, hopeless, seemingly dumb, but may be smarter than he lets on and doesn't really care about chasing Pac-Man . He always distracts himself.
  • Color: Purple (originally orange in Ms. Pac-Man )
  • Character: Sly, Sneaky, Flirty, Annoying, Powerful, Slow. She's the arch-nemesis of Ms. Pac-Man .

Other Notable Ghosts [ ]

Throughout the many spin-offs of Pac-Man , other ghosts have been added.

  • Dinky , the nephew of the Ghost Monsters. He is a spoiled child and tends to annoy the Ghost Monsters most of the time and demands ice cream cones.
  • Fairy-Ghost Mother , the fairy godmother of the Ghost Monsters who gives the Ghosts a magic fairytale book in order to stop Pac-Man, but fails in the end.
  • Miru (Pac & Pal, 1983)
  • Kinky , when fusing with members of the original Ghost Gang, transform into various Kinky Mutation (Pac-Man Arrangement, 1996)
  • Spooky , The All-Powerful Leader of Ghosts from Ancient Times.
  • Miscellaneous Ghosts
  • Wandy (Pac-Man All-Stars, 2002)
  • Ghost House
  • Ghost Shield
  • Golvis (Pac 'n Roll, 2005)
  • Spectral Monsters (Pac-Man World 3, 2005)
  • Captain Banshee
  • The Creepies
  • Dr. Buttocks
  • Glitchy (Pac-Man 256, 2015)
  • Punky (The Sandbox Evolution, 2017)
  • Winky (Pac-Man Pop!, 2017)
  • Creepy (Minecraft, 2011)
  • Bash (Sonic Dash, 2018)
  • The Pac-Man ghosts were originally known as, and were intended to be, monsters . They were renamed to ghosts later on; this was mainly popularized by the Atari 2600 version of Pac-Man .
  • Pac-Man series creator, Toru Iwatani , has cited that Obake no Q-Tarō ("Little Ghost Q-Taro") was a source of inspiration for the Pac-Man ghosts.

Gallery [ ]

For this page's full gallery, see Ghosts/Gallery .

Group Pictures [ ]

The Ghost Gang's 8-bit look in the original Pac-Man arcade game

See also [ ]

  • Spectral Monsters

References [ ]

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