How to Beat "Pac-Man"

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It takes a special kind of guy to perfect a classic arcade game and sell hot sauce on the side. If the King of Kong himself inspired you to find your inner Billy Mitchell, you'll need to use expert tips to take on the legendary "Pac-Man" and the hard-to-achieve perfect score.

Basic Rules

  • Most people know the basics of "Pac-Man:" Eat all the pellets and don't touch the ghosts. Each white Pac-Dot is worth 10 points, but the larger Power Pellets earn you 50 points and the chance to eat the ghosts for up to 3,000 extra points. The most obvious strategy is to stay alive, but try not to rush it; there is no time limit, but you do have finite lives, even if you do get another for every 10,000 points.

Becoming an Apprentice

  • The primary goal is to get the most points possible, so be sure to gulp up the two fruits that appear on each level. At first you'll see cherries worth 100 points, but later stages display new fruits like the 1,000-point melon in round 7. Try steering into a corner near a Power Pellet to draw the ghosts closer to you; when enough are nearby, eat the pellet and start eating the ghosts in succession. If they're scattered around the maze, you won't ever have enough time to catch them otherwise, and there aren't many ways to earn a quick 3,000 points.

Advanced Tricks of the Trade

  • Many people don't realize that the ghosts have personalities; each ghost acts in a different way, whether it's Pinky's constant attempt to intercept Pac-Man or Clyde's more random traversing. Try to keep the Power Pellets for last, too; the ghosts are more likely to gang up on Pac-Man the closer he is to completing the round. You can also take advantage of the ghosts' tendency to return home; when ghosts suddenly stop chasing you and snap backward, they've started returning to their home corners. This seconds-long period gives you brief immunity to backtrack and pick up some previously skipped pellets; just be careful when the ghosts come knocking again.

Perfecting Your Score

  • The highest possible score that you can achieve in "Pac-Man" is 3,333,360; this requires eating absolutely every pellet across every stage, including ones hidden in special levels. Gobbling all the ghosts in each level is especially tricky with the limited time to eat each one; the only way to achieve this would be memorizing the patterns for individual mazes -- all 255 of them. It's not hard to see why so few people have achieved this monumental score!

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