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<Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior ⁄ >




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Pac-Man is one of the most iconic video games of all time, and most people (even non-gamers) have at least a passing familiarity with it. The purpose of the game is very simple - the player is placed in a maze filled with food (depicted as pellets or dots) and needs to eat all of it to advance to the next level. This task is made difficult by four ghosts that pursue Pac-Man through the maze. If Pac-Man makes contact with any of the ghosts, the player loses a life and the positions of Pac-Man and the ghosts are reset back to their starting locations, though any dots that were eaten remain so. Other than simply avoiding them, Pac-Man's only defense against the ghosts are the four larger "energizer" pellets located at the corners of the maze. Eating one causes the ghosts to become frightened and retreat for a short time, and in the early levels of the game Pac-Man can even eat the ghosts for bonus points during this period. An eaten ghost is not completely eliminated, but is returned to its starting position before resuming its pursuit. Other than eating dots and ghosts, the only other source of points are the two pieces of fruit which appear during each level near the middle of the maze. The first fruit appears when Pac-Man has eaten 70 of the dots in the maze, and the second when 170 have been eaten.



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