So how long are the ghosts blue, anyway?

Happy 2015, all.

Well, I guess I’ll just jump right in without waxing philosophical about the new year, the holidays, and the weather.

Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man – Cantaloupes and Flagships!

Last time I posted, I spoke of how on Ms. Pac-Man, you have to pay close attention to when the ghosts flash between blue and white and to stop chasing the ghosts when your count gets to eight flashes (four on some levels). That strategy, by the way, also applies to Pac-Man and Junior Pac-Man, whether it be the standard speed or turbo, difficulty DIP switch set to “normal” or “hard.”

It occurred to me that I really don’t know which levels give you eight flashes and which levels give you four, however. All I know is that on Ms. Pac-Man, you get no ghost vulnerability on the fourth time you see the pink version of maze 3, and then two levels later the ghosts are never vulnerable again for the rest of the game. In retrospect, it’s probably because of my lack of knowledge as to what levels give you four flashes versus eight that it took me so long to get my Ms. Pac-Man Turbo high score — at a certain point of the game I’d chase the ghosts assuming I’d get only four flashes but then miss lots of scoring opportunities because I really had eight flashes.

I spent some time coming up with a matrix that shows 1) how long the ghosts are solid blue (if at all), and 2) how many times the ghosts flash between blue and white, for each level up until the ghosts are no longer edible after an energizer is eaten. Unsurprisingly, Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man are in sync with each other; after all, Ms. Pac-Man is a hack of (a hack of) Pac-Man. Jr. Pac-Man also is a hack of Pac-Man, but the ghost vulnerability stats are different for that game, no big surprise given the oversized mazes. Please note that the “seconds of solid blue” time is approximate.


So…why is the last “key” bordered? Uhh…I have no idea. This is a screen cap from a spreadsheet I made, and I’m guessing I had the cursor on that cell when I did the screen grab, so just ignore it. Notice that I have columns for “Normal” and “Difficult.” So how do you know whether you’re playing a game set to “Normal” versus “Difficult”? Simple: watch the ghosts’ pen when the game starts. If three ghosts leave the pen right away, you’re on a “hard” machine; otherwise it’s normal.

You might be scratching your head over a couple of the names of the Pac-Man prizes…cantaloupe?? Folks, this is coming straight from Namco, specifically the port of Pac-Man available for OSX via the Mac App Store. It’s basically an emulated version of the arcade game, but when a prize appears beneath the ghost pen, the name of the prize shows up in the bottom margin of the screen; that’s also where “flagship” comes from.

As for Ms. Pac-Man, I’ve included which maze is on which level. Level 18 gives you “maze F,” and then 19 through 21 also have “maze F.” After that, the mazes rotate from C through F, four levels each. I’m sure it goes without saying, but on the off chance it doesn’t, here are mazes A through F, respectively:


Maze “A”


Maze “B”


Maze “C”


Maze “D”


Maze “E”


Maze “F”











Jr. Pac-Man – as if it isn’t hard enough already!

Here’s a similar chart for Jr. Pac-Man — again, this applies to both standard and “turbo” speed:


Unlike with Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man, a Jr. Pac-Man machine set to “hard” (or “difficult”) has not three monsters leaving the pen at the beginning of the level, but all four, so best of luck! On the hard setting, the ghosts are solid blue only on the first level, and just for approximately two seconds, so beware. (Betcha didn’t know that Jr. Pac-Man could be harder than the machines you’ve seen set to “normal” difficulty!)

Again, in case it doesn’t go without saying which mazes are which:


maze “A”


maze “B”


maze “C”


maze “D”


maze “E”


maze “F”


maze “G”

 Whither Super Pac-Man, Baby Pac-Man, and Pac’n’Pal?

Ha! Are you kidding me? Super Pac-Man and Pac’n’Pal have so many difficulty settings that it’d be virtually impossible to come up with a simple matrix. Also, these games don’t have a “rack test” setting, and I’m not good enough to advance level-by-level without cheating on those games! I do promise that if I observe any particular patterns when playing these games, I’ll be sure to post my tips here. As for Baby Pac-Man? Just…no.

Next time I think I’ll introduce my “Pac-Man That Isn’t Pac-Man” feature, starting with K.C. Munchkin. Meanwhile, be careful chasing those ghosts!


About pacmaniax

Sean is a web developer whose obsession with the Pac-Man franchise goes back to 1981, when he first played Pac-Man as an 7-year-old who didn't quite understand that you need to eat one of those big, blinking things first before you attempt to eat the ghosts. For one brief moment, he thought he held the world record for Jr. Pac-Man Turbo in October 2012, but it was actually only the second-highest score on record, and even that ranking only lasted under a day. A music buff, you can see Sean posting not only on and as "dauber," but also on various forums that obsess over The Beatles and Brian Wilson. Sean is also cohost of Pie Factory Podcast.
This entry was posted in Game Strategy, Jr. Pac-Man, Jr. Pac-Man Turbo, Ms. Pac-Man, Ms. Pac-Man Turbo, Pac-Man, Pac-Man Turbo, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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