PAC-MAN is an arcade game and is one of the most popular games around the world. But, do you have any idea that what affects the movement of the ghosts? Also, how do they even challenge the hero in the game? If you are curious to learn about the game patterns of the most enduring little enemies in the game, then have a look at this article.
About the game
Toru Iwatani designed the PAC-MAN game. The set comprises 255 levels that are normal to win, but it has another level 256th that can neither be won nor you can lose due to a technical glitch. The red ghost is called Blinky, the pink ghost is called Pinky, the orange ghost is called Clyde, and the blue is called Inky. Your player is the titular hero of the game who is directly chased by the red ghost, while the rest of ghosts have different movements and do not directly track the hero but get influenced by the positions of the PAC-MAN. The game is separated into grids of 8 by 8-pixel squares, known as tiles. The game also comprises of three different modes like Chase Mode, Scatter Mode, and Frightened Mode.
The movement of the ghost
Iwatani stated that the design of the movement of these ghosts works with a simple set of algorithms. All the ghosts in the video game have distinct personalities that affect their mobility. It was deliberately created by the designers to make the video game exciting and alive. Because if all the ghosts would chase the PAC-MAN, then the game would become flat and tiresome.
- The Blinky is programmed to target the tile which PAC-MAN has currently occupied to give an illusion of chasing. As the game progresses, the speed of the Blinky increases to a limit that even becomes faster than PAC-MAN. Blinky is known as ‘Shadow’ in the English version of the game because of its programming.
- The Pinky is programmed to stay either 16 pixels or two tiles in front of the PAC-MAN to trap him. Interestingly, if PAC-MAN is facing upwards, then Pinky will either land on four tiles in front of him either on four tiles to its left. It is because the pink ghost is programmed to stay right ahead of PAC-MAN, and it is easy to chase her by aiming your movement towards her. In the official version of the video game, she is ofter considered as Speedy because she can foretell the PAC-MAN’s move and get ahead of him to catch him.
- Inky, the blue ghost is the most challenging ghost to avoid even for an experienced player because its movement is very erratic than any other ghost. Its action determines both the position of Blinky and PAC-MAN. It stays two tiles ahead of PAC-MAN, and it takes place at a doubled distance from Blinky. Inky has a very complex targetting program; thus, it is called Bashful in the official version of the video game.
- Finally, the movement program of Clyde is according to its distance from PAC-MAN. Its movement is identical to Blinky, and whenever, it is more than eight tiles apart from the hero, he tries to towards the current location of PAC-MAN. He can stay a maximum of 8 tiles away from the hero, be it in any direction. Clyde is often known as Pokey in the English version of the game.
All these factors are combined to make the four ghosts impossible to avoid for new players at higher levels, and this is how the ghosts of PAC-MAN decide their location.