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Pac-Man: 12 Valuable Life Lessons We Can Learn From the Game

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

 Man playing with pac-man arcade console
Canyalcin /

Anyone who knows the game will tell you that Pac-Man is not just a game. Playing can actually present you with a variety of life lessons. If you played the game as a kid, you might have already been exposed to these lessons. In fact, you might even be able to tell how playing the game impacted your life. 

Not many people would believe that a video or console game could teach valuable life lessons, but Pac-Man is proof that they can and do. Granted, some games don’t teach much, but Pac-Man is quite the opposite. As you read this article, it will become undeniable that the lessons taught in this game can be positive and helpful.

Of course, modern versions of Pac-Man are available, and the game might just be what you are looking for, for your next family games night. 

These are 12 life lessons we can learn from Pac-Man:

1. Choose your path wisely.

If you don’t carefully choose your path in a game of Pac-Man, you are going to run into trouble and end up losing. This is much the same in life. You can’t just blindly take any path that presents itself to you. Instead, you need to consider all of your options and try to make a choice that seems to be best for your future. Thinking about the right choice will ensure a greater chance of safety and success. 

2. By being alert and aware, you can get out of potential trouble.

Sometimes you don’t initially see that you have made a poor decision in a game of Pac-Man, but soon danger presents itself. As a player, you need to be quick and change your course of action. It’s exactly the same in real life. 

You might not notice that you have made a decision that puts you in danger, but if you are alert and aware, you will soon realize that you have made a mistake. Much like in the game, there is often time to change your course of action. Choose a new route. Run from the danger. 

3. Not everyone is on your side (trust cautiously).

When playing Pac-Man, you will realize quickly that not all the characters are “friendlies”. In fact, most of them are out to get you. As a player who wants to survive the game and beat the top score, you need to realize this quickly and learn avoidance tactics so that you don’t fall victim to the characters that want to catch up to you. In life, it is very similar, and so this lesson can be quite powerful. 

You may not know initially whether people can be trusted or not, but once you know, you can find ways to avoid such people. You can’t “make friends” with your enemies in a game of Pac-Man. It’s nothing personal. And it’s much the same in real life. 

4. Use your time wisely – don’t be reckless.

In Pac-Man, every second that you play is a matter of life or death. You learn very quickly to get things done as quickly as possible without taking much risk along the way. If you do take a risk, it fills you with fear! This motivates players to use their time in the game as wisely as possible and without being reckless. This is a lesson and skill that can filter positively into real life. 

In real life, using your time wisely should be a main objective. You can apply what you have learned in Pac-Man and learn not to be reckless with your time. 

5. Life is uncertain.

Nothing in a game of Pac-Man is guaranteed. You have no sure-fire way of winning no matter what. Different variables can end in different game outcomes. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. If you learn to deal with the losses as well as you deal with the wins when playing Pac-Man, you can apply those same handling skills to your real life. 

concept for lost, confusion or decisions

It’s a reality that sometimes you will win, and sometimes you will lose in real life. There is no guaranteed outcome for your life. There isn’t even a guaranteed outcome for your day. Pac-Man can teach people to better handle the losses they experience in life. 

6. Decisiveness and confidence are important in decision-making.

If you hesitate when playing Pac-Man, you are going to regret it. Players learn this quickly and start reacting quicker and with more confidence the more the game goes on. This is because the game is teaching players to be more decisive and confident in decisions. These are skills that prove helpful in real life. In fact, these skills are essential when it comes to decision-making in real life. 

7. Sometimes “getting more” isn’t worth it. 

In a game of Pac-Man, if you become obsessed with chomping all the cookies, you might find yourself in a dangerous situation. You might end up running right into one of your enemies and losing the game. 

Sometimes you have to leave a few of those dots behind, if you want to succeed. This can teach you to be less greedy in the game. It’s similar in real life. Greed only leads to trouble, especially if you let it get out of control. 

8. Things aren’t always what they seem.

In a game of Pac-Man, you can be trundling along, munching dots and getting ahead, and then bam, you’re head to head with a ghost…and ghosts are not your friend. This will teach you to be aware and alert; always looking out for possible dangers or sudden surprises. Knowing that things can suddenly change without warning can prepare you for real life. 

In real life, things may seem as if they are going well, but then suddenly, things go wrong. You need to be dynamic to turn things around. If you can’t turn things around, you need to have the coping mechanisms to accept that. Pac-Man can prepare you for this.

9. All choices have consequences.

Everything you do in a game of Pac-Man will have a consequence. If you try to munch extra dots, you could end up losing the game. If you try to avoid one ghost quickly, you can run into another. 

Action and consequence are something that every player learns in a game of Pac-Man. Knowing this can really help you to handle action and consequences in real life. It’s a great lesson, particularly for younger players. 

10. Focus is important for achieving goals.

If you want to win a game of Pac-Man, you have to learn to focus. If you aren’t focused on the game and get easily distracted, you are going to lose. Learning how to focus on the game can teach a valuable lesson of the direct correlation between focusing and achieving goals. 

If you play Pac-Man often, you might be inclined to apply the same amount of focus to other areas of your life, such as school projects, studies, work projects, and more. 

11. Life can be dangerous, but also fun. 

rafting on a large boat on a mountain river

Playing a game of Pac-Man isn’t plain sailing. It’s a game that can be fun, but is also fraught with fear as you worry about the dangers that lie just around the next corner. Pac-Man can teach someone, especially children, that while there is a lot of fun to be had, there are real dangers that lurk. This knowledge and awareness can be applied to real life.

12. Practice makes perfect.

When kids are first exposed to Pac-Man, they aren’t very good at it. They have to spend some time playing the game in order to become familiar with the nuances of the game, and get better at it. This drives home the message of “practice makes perfect”. 

The more time and effort a player is willing to put into the game (and practicing the game), the more they will improve and the greater their top score will become. This is a lesson that can certainly filter into real life. 

In real life, you don’t simply excel at something. It takes time, effort, practice, and patience to become a “pro” or good at anything. Kids that learn to win at Pac-Man have a jump start on learning this valuable life lesson. 

In short

Now that you think about it, do you see how playing Pac-Man can teach these life lessons? It probably doesn’t feel obvious while playing the game, but with a bit of consideration, it becomes quite clear: Pac-Man is a game jam-packed with life lessons!

So, if you’re wondering what can be learned from playing Pac-Man, the abovementioned pointers can shed some light. It’s certainly the type of game that offers good clean fun and drives home a variety of positive life lessons, especially to kids and teens.

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This article was co-authored by our team of in-house and freelance writers, and reviewed by our editors, who enjoy sharing their knowledge about their favorite games with others!

JC Franco
Editor | + posts

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.