While any casual player of Pac-Man can recognize the franchise’s core four ghosts (red, blue, pink and orange), the Pac-Man Universe is teeming with ghoulish friends and foes that everyone’s favorite yellow chomping… thing has come across. And they all have different personalities, fashion tastes, and ghost success rates.
Thirty-five years ago Pac-Man was released in arcades, rapidly becoming one of the greatest and oddest pop culture touchstones of its era. People got really excited about what looked like a half-eaten pie taking pills. You could celebrate this anniversary by singing the unofficial Pac-Man song, playing the original game in your browser, or watching the trailer for that Adam Sandler Pixels movie. Some of those options are surely better than others.
I celebrated by making a text adventure inspired by Pac-Man. I think you might enjoy it. It has highs and lows and multiple endings — nothing like the original Pac-Man. I guess you could say my game is even better. You could say that, but you shouldn’t.
However you choose to mark this occasion, just remember one thing: Ms. Pac-Man is a superior game.
Some may fall out of canon—yes, there’s actually an established Pac-Man continuity—but EW has decided to take every ghost into consideration for a ranking of the top 10 ghosts in the PMU in honor of Pac-Man’s 35th anniversary.
- Clyde (Pac-Man)
Clyde is one of the classic four ghosts, so that earns him a spot on our list no matter what. But… his name doesn’t even rhyme with the others, completely breaking the flow they establish. They need to be a team if they’re going to take Pac-Man down.
- Sue (Ms. Pac-Man)
Just the female Clyde, and Clyde is pretty much awful. But she has a better fashion sense than him so…
8/7. Tie: Butt-ler/Dr. Buttocks (Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures)
Look, it’s a tough enough life to exist as a ghost, but then to have your name be a butt pun? It takes some serious fortitude to go on being undead like that.
6. Inky (Pac-Man)
Inky sits comfortably in the middle of the core four ghosts. He’s no leader, but he’s no Clyde either. He keeps his head down and is the goofball of the group. Everyone’s circle of friends has an Inky, and we like him, even if we don’t love him.
5. Orson (Pac-Man World)
Orson is the brains of the ghost world, and though he can be a bit of a party animal, he raises the general IQ of the entire ghost population. Plus, he’s one of the few ghosts to actually help Pac-Man.
4. Yum-Yum (Jr. Pac-Man)
- Her name is Yum-Yum.
- That bow on her head is adorable.
- She’s Blinky’s ghostchild (that’s a conversation for another anniversary).
- Her name is Yum-Yum.
3. Kinky (Pac-Man Arrangement)
Kinky is another case where the ghost’s name bumped it up a few spots on this list, but Kinky is actually fascinating. Only seen in Pac-Man Arrangement, Kinky is a yellow ghost that can merge with the core four in their pursuit of Pac-Man and provide them with new abilities. And thankfully that makes Clyde a bit less useless than normal.
2. Pinky (Pac-Man)
Right out of the gate, Pinky shattered gender norms of the ghost world and proved it is not a (ghost) man’s world. She takes the clever tactic to ambush Pac-Man rather than chase after him, and it’s for that ingenuity that she earns such a high spot on the list.
The original leader, the one who put the ghosts on the map, Blinky is undoubtedly the reigning champ of the ghost world. Even if the core four may have lost prominence in recent years, Blinky was and will forever be the ghost nearest and dearest to our hearts. Even if he let Clyde on the team.