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Not sure if they're ghosts or monsters, but what are the names of those chasing our beloved and fearless hero, Pac-Man, around the maze?

Do they even have names? Do they also have distinct personalities?

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Just a note to anyone curious; all the answers are incorrect regarding behaviour; none of the ghosts move randomly. A full, detailed analysis can be seen here. –  Schism Apr 18 '13 at 22:06
    
@Schism That's a fascinating article. And it makes me wonder why you left this as a comment rather than just answering the question? –  SevenSidedDie Nov 7 '13 at 0:41
    
@SevenSidedDie I commented since it was an old question that focused more on the names than the behaviour, so I didn't feel it was significant enough to warrant being an answer. I'm also not confident in my ability to summarise the article. :P –  Schism Nov 7 '13 at 2:00

3 Answers 3

up vote 36 down vote accepted

The Character (Personality), nicknames and behavior for the enemies are:

  • Red: Shadow "Blinky" In Japan, his character is represented by the word oikake, which means “to run down or pursue”. (Chases Pac-Man all the time, Also speeds up after you've eaten a certain amount of dots, which gets less for each level.)

  • Pink: Speedy "Pinky" In Japan, he is characterized as machibuse, meaning “to perform an ambush”. (Fast but random movement.)

  • Cyan: Bashful "Inky" In Japan, he is portrayed as kimagure, meaning “a fickle, moody, or uneven temper”. (Shy and tries to stay away from pac-man, unless approached too much, after which it will chase Pac-Man too.)

  • Orange: Pokey "Clyde" In Japan, his character is described as otoboke, meaning “pretending ignorance”, and his nickname is “Guzuta”, meaning “one who lags behind”. (Slow and Random Movement)

Now, on the ghost vs. monster topic, The arcade cabinet refered to the enemies as "monsters", but the when the Atari 2600 home version was released with pale, flickering enemies, the manual dubbed them "ghosts", to add to the confusion, the TV series refers to them as "ghost monsters" (I personally prefer ghosts.)

Source for the behaviours:

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Uncited, but I have heard that Pinky endeavors to flank Pac-man, as does Clyde, and that Inky is the only one who will actively 'run away' from Pac-man. –  Zibbobz Apr 2 at 18:48
    
More accurate and detailed info: home.comcast.net/~jpittman2/pacman/pacmandossier.html –  alexanderpas Apr 16 at 22:21

The ghosts have both names and distinct personalities. Here is a detailed description (and another one). The summary is:

  • Blinky (red): Speeds up after you've eaten a certain amount of dots. Tends to chase more closely than any other ghost.

  • Pinky (pink): Tends to move anti-clockwise. Is usually the first ghost to scatter to the corners of the maze.

  • Inky (blue): Takes seemingly random decisions at junction points, so is harder to predict than the other ghosts.

  • Clyde (orange): Often gives up the chase, so is the easiest of the ghosts to avoid.

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The original game called the creatures monsters when they are chasing you (red, pink, blue, orange) and called them ghosts when they are running from you (purple/peach) after you eat an energizer.

The Japanese names for the monsters are:

  • Red: Oikake a.k.a. "Akabei" (the chaser)
  • Pink: Kimagure a.k.a. "Pinky" (fickle/whimsy)
  • Cyan: Machibuse a.k.a. "Aosuke" (the ambusher)
  • Orange: Otoboke a.k.a. "Guzuta" (plays dumb)

(The pink monster had the nickname "Pinky" in both the U.S. and Japan.)

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