Older folk often get a wry smile and glint in their eye when Pac-Man is mentioned. That’s because decades ago, Pac-Man wasn’t just a game. It was a staple in many kids’ lives. It was the way you spent your spare time; trying to beat top scores and outrank other players.
Pac-Man was the game kids saved their pocket money for. They would head on down to the nearest arcade and play for hours. Nowadays, Pac-Man can be played on a computer, mobile phone, game console, or digital gadget.
There are just so many benefits to expect when playing Pac-Man. For starters, if you’re a parent and your child enjoys Pac-Man, you can rest assured that you have a valuable virtual babysitter that isn’t tainting your child’s bran. Free time and a little rest and repair may be on the cards for you while your children spend an evening or afternoon battling it out for the top score.
Of course, that’s not the only benefit… Back then, playing Pac-Man came with a lot of key benefits, just like it does today.
These are 16 ways in which playing Pac-Man can be beneficial to kids and adults:
1. Boosts concentration.
Pac-Man is a game that requires a considerable amount of concentration. You can’t multitask while playing the game. Your eyes have to be on your little yellow man, and your head has to be fully in the game. This game can help young children struggling with concentration and focus. It can be just as beneficial to the elderly who want to keep their concentration skills up.
2. Teaches independence.
Pac-Man is not a group game. Players must play alone to win each round. If children wish to play against each other, they must learn to take turns and be independent. This can be a valuable lesson, especially for children who are struggling to step out and do things on their own.
3. Speeds up decision-making.
Pac-Man is a game of quick thinking. In order to ensure that your Pac-Man isn’t chomped and eliminated along the way, you have to make quick decisions. This type of quick thinking in a game can filter into other areas of life.
4. Encourages healthy competition.
Competition is not an unhealthy thing. If it is managed correctly, it can be really good for a person. It can help a person to consistently do their utmost best. Pac-Man is a non-violent game, and because players try to beat top scores, it can promote the type of healthy competition that gets players focusing on their own game and improving on their own skills.
5. Teaches the younger generation that some things never go out of fashion.
Younger people/children may roll their eyes when you tell them about the good old days. They may even find your ideas, memories, and possessions outdated and old-fashioned. It’s hard to get someone much younger to see the value in the era you come from, unless there is a link or common ground between the two eras. Pac-Man can serve as that link.
Something that older people truly enjoyed many years ago is still enjoyed today (albeit in modern formats) – this is something that the younger generation can understand and appreciate.
6. Promotes strategic thinking.
To win a Pac-Man game, you must be strategic. This isn’t about forming one strategy and using it over and over. The game keeps changing, so your strategies need to change. Because of this, people playing Pac-Man learn to be strategic thinkers and quick reactors in all areas of life.
7. Encourages action-taking.
Playing Pac-Man may inspire players to take action in various areas of their lives. The game demands that the player makes decisions and acts on them quickly. There is no time to simply let the game run, as you certainly won’t make it. This can teach children that in order to achieve your goals, you have to be willing to take action.
8. Teaches “practice makes perfect”.
When first introduced to Pac-Man, children and adults may be low scorers. It’s only with exposure to the game and regular practice that someone can become good at it. Because players want to improve their skills and win the game, they practice by playing the game regularly. Along with this practice, players learn that there is truth in the saying of “practice makes perfect”.
9. Reduces the risk of cognitive decline.
According to the outcomes of the Advanced Cognitive Training in Vital Elderly study, it makes sense that a person at risk of cognitive decline can delay symptoms or even deter it by keeping their minds busy and active. Pac-Man is known to be a great game to keep the mind active with the hope of reducing the risk of cognitive decline.
10. Delivers a valuable life lesson: don’t rush; instead, take your time and make good decisions.
One of the greatest benefits of any game is the underlying life lessons that come through in them. When it comes to Pac-Man, the underlying message is clear: don’t rush things and try to make good decisions along the way. Players who rush the game and make rash decisions don’t end up winning (or higher scores).
11. Teaches kids that there is value and fun in simplicity.
Many modern kids believe that the more complex games are the only ones worth their time. Once they have played a few games of Pac-Man, they may just realize that a simple game, without the sound and graphics of modern games, can be just as entertaining (potentially even more entertaining) than high-end console games.
12. Distracts from regular violent themes of most games available then and now.
Most console games are based on violence nowadays. First-shooter and war games seem to be the norm. Playing Pac-Man can distract young children from the violent themes they are usually attracted to and show them a whole new way of having fun.
13. Provides an opportunity for good clean fun.
Kids need more opportunities to have good clean fun. Pac-Man is exactly that. It’s a game that appeals to all ages, it’s non-violent, and it encourages healthy competition. It’s a game the whole family can play.
14. Teaches the importance of focus and dedication.
Children, in particular, quickly learn that if they don’t focus on the game and dedicate time to practicing, they will never get the top score. This inspires children to spend more time focusing on what they can do to become better at the game. This is a lesson that can filter through to other areas of life, especially in studying and career.
15. The game concept can also be used for physical education/exercise.
Some teachers have found that they can use kids’ love of Pac-Man to inspire some physical exercise. A real-life recreation of Pac-Man can be used to get kids competing, running, and having fun. A physical education teacher shares his experience on how he recreated the game in a physical form, which you can read here.
16. Good for mental health.
A great deal of mental health depends on what we do with our free time and how we keep our minds occupied. Some people read, play sports, do puzzles, or whip up challenging recipes. Others love to play games. If you’re one for games, Pac-Man is a fine choice for mental health as it’s designed to keep the brain actively thinking, processing, and responding.
As you can see, playing Pac-Man wasn’t (and still isn’t) just about having mindless fun. It’s a simple yet challenging game that really gives the brain a workout. As kids and adults playing the game, there really is a lot to learn.
If you are the type of person that picks and chooses games based on the benefits thereof, put Pac-Man on the top of your list. It’s good for you, your kids, and even your elderly family members too.