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Is Pac-Man Faster Than The Ghosts?

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Have you ever been playing Pac-Man and wondered if he was actually faster than the ghosts? Maybe it seems like the ghosts are far faster then you when you play, but other times it seems like you are faster. Do they change speeds? Well, in this article we will go over everything you need to know about Pac-Man and the ghosts. 

So is Pac-Man faster than the ghosts?

Although there are different modes for the ghosts in the game, overall, Pac-Man is typically faster than the ghosts on the first levels but the ghosts get increasingly faster and faster and will eventually be faster than Pac-Man on a straightaway. Pac-Man can go around corners than the ghosts so constant turning is needed on later levels to stay ahead of them. 

If you want to know more about playing Pac-Man and the ghosts, you will want to keep reading this article. You can also check out this video to see the first ever person beat the entire game of Pac-Man.

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What is Pac-Man?

Pac-Man is a maze arcade game developed which was released by Namco in 1980.

The enemies in Pac-Man are known variously as “ghosts”, “goblins”, and “monsters”. Despite the seemingly random nature of the enemies, their movements are strictly deterministic, which players have used to their advantage.

The game is very simple. The player, here Pac-man, is placed in a maze filled with food which are shown in the game as specs or dots. Pac-man needs to eat all of it to advance to the next level. This task is made difficult by four ghosts who keep chasing Pac-man along the maze. If Pac-Man makes body contact in any way, 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.

The ghosts

  • Blinky

Blinky (the red ghost), is the main ghost who is the man chaser of Pac-Man. Blink chases Pac-Man constantly and once he is after Pac-Man it is hard to get away from him. Blinky is mainly programmed to directly go to the tile which Pac-man occupies at that time, giving an illusion that he’s chasing the player. As the game progresses, Blinky has the ability to increase his speed and he can at times become faster than Pac-man.

  • Pinky

Pinky is the pink ghost and his personality is described as “machibuse” which translates somebody who can ambush. She attempts to ambush Pac-Man by moving parallel to him. For that you surely need both reflexes and speed to be at the correct position to ‘ambush‘ those who are to be “ambushed”. English arcade version of the game, Pinky is also known as Speedy but the name is a bit wrong as Pinky’s speed is lower than that of Blinky. Even though Blinky is the fastest of the ghosts there are times she can actually move fast and anticipate Pac-Man’s moves and ambushes him.”

  • Inky

Inky is the blue ghost. Inky remains inside the ghost house for a small duration of time in level one of the game, and is not into the chase until Pac-Man has managed to eat up at least 30 of the dots. Inky, is one of the more difficult ghosts to avoid for seasoned players, because of his erratic movement. So Pac-man has to always be on his toes whenever he is near Inky.

Inky’s movement is complicated. 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.

  • Clyde

Clyde is the orange host and his movements are based on how far away he currently is from Pac-Man. Whenever Clyde is around a certain distance from Pac-Man, his moves are similar in a way to that of Blinky. In that case he will move to whichever tile Pac-Man is currently occupying. However, as soon as Clyde comes within 8 tiles where Pac-man is presently, he will run away to the bottom left corner of the screen and hide there.

What are the different modes of the ghosts?

Ghosts have three possible modes at any one time. Chase Mode, Scatter Mode and Frightened Mode. Although each one of these modes are different, this does not make the game impossible to beat, or to win a single level. 

  • Chase mode

In chase mode, the ghosts will try to find and capture Pac-Man in chase mode. Each of the four ghosts has a unique behavior while chasing Pac-Man. Blinky the red ghost shows aggressiveness while chasing Pac-Man follows Pac-Man in his own style. Pinky the pink ghost attempts to ambush Pac-Man by trying to get in front of him and cut him off. Inky the blue ghost will start late. He will start chasing Pac-man after he has eaten 30 of the dots. Clyde the orange ghost is moving in a random fashion and attacks Pac-man in an indirect manner.

  • Scatter mode

After a few moments of game play, the ghosts will enter into the next mode, Scatter Mode. in this mode they will all move towards different corners 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 favorite corner. This makes them move in circles. The ghosts can enter scatter mode for a maximum of four times in any level of the game, and at this point they’ll enter chase mode indefinitely.

  • Frightened mode

In the Frightened Mode whenever Pac-Man eats a Power Pellet, all the ghosts turn blue and run away, at which point Pac-Man can eat them.

Although some of the ghosts can move faster than Pac-Man some times, for example, Blinky when he becomes Cruise Elroy, Pac-Man can outrun them because he can turn corners instantly, but the ghosts must stop for a brief moment, turn and then continue moving.

But then in game the player becomes the Pac-man and controls it, so the reflexes of the players plating the game as well the decisions he makes in that actual instant, changes many scenarios. If the player playing the game is smart and fast, he can beta all the ghosts most of the time and eat them. That is natural because if the ghosts were designed to be faster than pacman then every time somebody played the game, he would have turned up loser.

All these shows that Pac-man is mostly faster than all the ghosts except Blinky. When his speed becomes more than that of Pac-man, he can then catch Pac-man. Ultimately it is all in the algorithms and how they are coded and kept in the interest of the players so that the game could come to a favorable end, Pac-man is always the winner here.


Now that we know that Pac-Man is faster than the ghosts, in some modes, but not in others, we can see why he can still get caught, but if you are perfect at the game then he will not get caught. This is why many people love to play the game as it challenges them to be perfect and almost know the moves of the ghosts. No matter what level you are playing, you can still have fun and beat the game as you are faster and can outsmart the ghosts.