"Shift" key adds credits and "enter" starts the game.

By Mark Nobes, chief editor

In the early 80s, Ms. Pac-Man was released as an unauthorised sequel to the original by Midway (in 1981). Due to its incredible popularity, it was then officially licensed by Namco. The arcade game is very much an updated an improved version of the original Pac-Man game.
It is one of the few games from the era to have a large female following, although the original game also had a big female fanbase.

Further down the page you'll find a video comparing different versions of the game, along with a rather nice selection of photos.

Firstly, though, here we have a free version of Ms. Pacman (Flash not required) which will play on PC or Chromebook. It's pretty authentic and details of controls are given by pressing the controller icon at the bottom of the start screen.

What are the Differences Between Pac-Man and Ms. Pac-Man?

Firstly, the Ms. Pac-Man character is a female version of the pill-munching Pac-Man, with the addition lipstick and a hairbow

The game itself is visually different, with the walls being displayed in a solid colour, rather than just an outline, and this make it much easier for the player to see the paths.

The game also has different sound effects and music.

The game features four different mazes that appear in four different colours, and three of these have two sets of warp tunnels, whereas the original Pac-Man has just one.

The ghosts have different behaviour patterns to the original game due to their semi-random movement. This makes it impossible for the player to follow a pattern in order to complete a level, making the game considerably more challenging to play.

In the original Pac-Man, the fruits appear in the centre of the maze. In Ms. Pac-Man, they bounce around the maze and also enter and leave through the warp tunnels. Once the player has viewed all of the fruits, they then appear in a random sequence for the remainder of the gameplay. Bonus points are awarded for consuming the fruits.

Clyde (the orange ghost) is now called Sue, which just happens to be my late Mum's name, although she didn't seem too excited to have a video game character named after her.

The object of the game is still pretty much the same, in which the player must help the lead character to gobble-up all the pills to complete a level.

As in the original game, the ghosts must be avoided unless the player has just munched a larger power pill, in which case you can munch the ghosts for a limited time and gain extra points.

Have a munchingly good time! Have I just created a new word?


Ms. Pac-Man started life as Crazy Otto, which was an enhancement kit for Pac-Man created by programmers at the General Computer Corporation. However, the company was barred from selling their kits without consent from the original manufacturer (following a lawsuit from Atari over Missile Command), which meant that the game was almost scrapped.
The programmers decided to offer the game to Midway, who just happened to be looking for a sequel to Pac-Man, so they bought the rights and developed the game further, titling it Super Pac-Man.
As the original game had such a big female following, Midway were keen to create  a game for this audience, and so the lead character was changed to a female character and the name changed another four times to Pac-Woman, Miss Pac-Man, Mrs Pac-Man and finally, Ms. Pac-Man. 
In this fantastic video, no less than 23 versions of the game are played and compared, starting with the coin-op arcade game and finishing with the Coleco table-top version. Even the Atari Lynx version is included which is nice to see.

Ms. Pac-Man Atari 2600 Version

Released in 1982, The VCS/2600 version is vastly superior to the much-criticised Pac-Man port. It features four different-coloured ghosts, for a start, with the option of choosing how many would be in the game. There is also moving fruit, which did not feature in the Pac-Man game, along with multiple mazes. Considering this was all created with just 8kb of code, there was some clever programming going on here.
Ms. Pac-Man Atari 2600 Game Cartridge and Box
The game cartridge for the Atari 2600 console

Ms. Pac-Man Atari 2600 screenshot

Screenshot from the Atari 2600 version.

Ms. Pac-Man - 1980s arcade game cabinet
Creative Commons image of an original Ms. Pac-Man arcade game from the 1980s. A table-top version was also released by Coleco in 1983.
Ms. Pac-Man flyer by Bally Midway (1982)
Promotional flyer/poster by Bally Midway for Ms. Pac-Man