Did you know? Artificial intelligence already existed in the ghosts of ‘Pac-Man’

Pac Man“, the electronic game that has conquered generations since its launch in 1980, reveals an intriguing primitive application of artificial intelligence (AI). Today in a wide sphere of study, a more rudimentary AI has found an important role in this arcade classic.

With vibrant colors, the game’s four antagonists, Blinky, Pinky, Inky and Clyde, display distinct behaviors. This enriches the gaming experience and ensures the continued relevance of “Pac-Man” in video game culture.

How does each ‘Pac-Man’ ghost work?

The AI ​​used in this context follows the paradigm of Limited Artificial Intelligence, or weak AI, operating according to pre-defined parameters in a controlled environment.

The behavior of ghosts is segmented into four modes: chase, scatter, fear and devoured. The last two are activated when the player devours a special pellet, making the ghosts vulnerable.

The essence of the ghosts’ strategy lies in alternating between pursuit and dispersal modes, increasing aggression as the levels progress.

Toru Iwatani, the designer of “Pac Man“, aimed to provide a balanced challenge to the player, avoiding an incessant chase that could be stressful.

Therefore, the ghosts attack in waves, retreating and regrouping in a cycle that repeats itself, creating a more natural and less oppressive game dynamic.

See below, in detail, how each of them works.

1. Clyde

Image: Pac Man/Reproduction

The unpredictable Clyde appears disinterested, wandering a safe distance away from “Pac-Man.” However, as he approaches, his artificial intelligence changes tactics, adopting a chase mode similar to Blinky’s, before resuming his casual stroll upon reaching the safe shore eight spaces away.

2. Pinky

Image: Pac Man/Reproduction

The strategist, Pinky, always seeks to be two steps ahead of the player. Anticipating “Pac-Man’s” movements, he tries to shorten paths, aiming to corner the player.

During scatter mode, Pinky heads to the top left corner, awaiting the next round of chase.

3. Blinky

Image: Pac Man/Reproduction

The tireless pursuer, Blinky is the first threat to be faced. Your modus operandi It’s simple: identify “Pac-Man’s” position and chase him, deciding your route based on the distance between them.

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During “spread” mode, he heads towards the top right of the screen, but once he reaches a certain count of devoured balls, Blinky becomes relentless in his pursuit.

4. Inky

Image: Pac Man/Reproduction

The enigmatic Inky takes a more complex approach, remaining motionless until 30 marbles are consumed.

His pursuit behavior is influenced by the positions of both “Pac-Man” and Blinky, creating a triad of calculated movements that challenge the enemy. player thinking quickly.