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!
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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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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?
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!
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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 midlifegamergeek.com, 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.