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How to Win at Pac-Man: 17 Tips / Tricks (and Hacks) – For Beginners

Last Updated on January 25, 2024 by Gamesver Team and JC Franco

Man playing with pac-man arcade console
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Playing Pac-Man and consistently winning at Pac-Man are two very different things. Those who achieve the highest scores game after game undoubtedly have the secret(s) to success! The good news is that you, too, can enjoy a winning streak when playing Pac-Man. Believe it or not, there are several tips, tricks, and hacks to improve your game.

Who said playing Pac-Man has to be hard? With the right strategies, you can start improving your score and get rid of that “ah no, I died again” frustration that often comes with playing arcade-style games. If you’re new to the game or a little rusty, perhaps you should read on…

These are 17 tips, tricks, and hacks to get better at Pac-Man:

1. Memorize logical and repeatable patterns. 

Some of the top Pac-Man winners spent a considerable amount of their youths trying to figure out if Pac-Man has a pattern – and it did. Of course, the game owners switched things up when they realized that players had cottoned on to the patterns, but that just led to more patterns. 

There are 3 main patterns that are at play in Pac-Man. To improve your game, look them up and start practicing them. The patterns are called: Cherry Pattern, Mid-Fruit Pattern, and Apple Pattern. 

2. Eat the pellets just above the regeneration box before you do anything else.

When a ghost is eaten and he heads off to the regeneration box, the very first place he will shoot out of is by the dots that are just above the box. As you start the game, head to those dots and get them cleared out of the way; otherwise, you will find yourself losing several lives just to get them. 

3. Find the maze’s secret hiding spot and use it to your advantage.

Just below the regeneration box, you will find a T-shaped maze section. If you look just below that T-shape in the right corner, there’s a pretty unseen spot to hide. In fact, if you head there when the ghosts are looking away from you, they won’t know you are there. 

4. Use the art of hesitation to lure the ghosts into their doom.

If you are near an energizer and want to use it to gobble up some ghosts, don’t just make a dive for the energizer. Instead, hesitate by it so that the ghosts are drawn to you. As soon as they get closer, gobble the energizer and finish them off. Hesitating buys more time to eat the ghosts when they are closer. 

5. Take your time; there’s no need to rush.

There’s a general sense of panic for speed when playing a game like Pac-Man, and that can lead to making silly mistakes. If you’re rushing and feeling stressed, you’re not going to be as successful as taking your time to consider all of your options. 

6. Practice, practice, and practice.

Even if you know and study every single tip and hack out there, you won’t get any better at winning Pac-Man unless you put it into practice and then practice and practice a whole lot more. When it comes to Pac-Man, you get out what you put in, so be prepared to dedicate some time to the game. 

Pac-Man a video game character
catwalker / Shutterstock.com

7. Only eat energizers when 3 ghosts are following you. 

Of course, you don’t want to waste energizers, so ensure that you have at least 3 ghosts following you when you head for one. This will have the best impact on your game win. 

8. Lure ghosts through the tunnel to buy some time.

As it turns out, ghosts happen to be slower than Pac-Man through the tunnel. If you want to get away and save a bit of time, head for the tunnel and let them follow you through. 

9. Focus on clearing one corner of yellow pegs before moving on.

A meticulous approach to eating yellow pegs is definitely needed if you want to win without wasting time. If you are chaotically darting around the maze, you have more chance of losing your life, and you’ll probably not get all the pegs. 

10. Collect Pac-Dots instead of chasing ghosts when using a Power Pellet.

It’s tempting to chase after ghosts to get your revenge when you get a Power Pellet, but don’t waste your time. Use the Power Pellet to boost your Pac-Dot collecting. It could be the difference between winning and losing a round. 

11. Keep a close eye on Blinky (Red) and Pinky (Pink).

If you spend some time watching the game, you will notice that Blinky and Pinky are the fastest and seemingly smartest ghosts in the maze. 

12. Keep an eye on the ghost’s eyes when regenerating.

When you eat a ghost, their eyes drift up to the regeneration box where a new ghost is formed. Keep an eye on the eyes as they float up as it will give you some warning as to when a new ghost is on its way out of the box. 

13. Study how the ghosts ‘think’ and behave.

Nothing is truly random in the game of Pac-Man. Each ghost has its own personality, and it behaves in a specific way. Spending some time monitoring their behavior could provide you with the upper hand. 

14. Only eat ghosts when there is blue time in the round. 

If you eat multiple ghosts when they are blue, their point value will increase. Make sure that you’re not still chasing ghosts when they flash white and return to normal. In fact, when you see a white flashing ghost, run for your life!

postage stamp printed in France showing an image of Pac-Man
catwalker / Shutterstock.com

15. Choose safety first, always. 

There’s no reason to be a hero and try to eat more pellets even when your life is in danger. There’s no rush, remember. If you see your life is in danger, rather focus on getting to safety instead of making a desperate lunch to get more pellets. 

16. Don’t get over-confident as ghosts get faster with each round.

You may get used to the entry rounds with slow-ish ghosts and predictable risks. Know this; as you progress through the stages, the ghosts will get faster, so don’t get over-confident too soon. 

17. You go faster when you’re not eating dots.

If you need a quick escape and there’s no time to spare, head for the clear route instead of heading to a fresh batch of dots. In Pac-Man, you go much faster when you aren’t eating dots. 

Last Word

Pac-Man is a fun game, but for many, it has become an obsession. It’s been at the forefront of the gaming industry since it was introduced to the market in the 1980s, and it doesn’t seem as if it is going anywhere. 

If you’re already addicted to the game and want to see yourself getting better scores and seamlessly transitioning from level to level, it’s time to brush up on your skills. You can use the abovementioned tips, tricks and hacks to improve your game. Spend some time studying the pointers and do extra research where required. Here’s to becoming a Pac-Man champion! Good luck!

JC Franco
Editor

JC Franco serves as a New York-based editor for Gamesver. His interest for board games centers around chess, a pursuit he began in elementary school at the age of 9. Holding a Bachelor’s degree in Business from Mercyhurst University, JC brings a blend of business acumen and creative insight to his role. Beyond his editorial endeavors, he is a certified USPTA professional, imparting his knowledge in tennis to enthusiasts across the New York City Metropolitan area.