Before starting with the know-how stuff, here’s to all of you a Pac-Man and the ghosts in light! You can find this picture in silviaN’s flickr photo stream described as ‘Pac-Man lights found at a festival in Geneva’.
Toru Iwatani, the designer of Pac-Man revealed these little known facts at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. Point one to note is that Pac-Man was designed for females and families, to enjoy games as there were no such games to be played at home. The aim was to attract females to the arcade center to make it a more tidier place [which otherwise weren't!].
Since females were being targeted, the name of the game also needed to be such so as to please them. He brainstormed about likings of girls when he came upon the fact that girls enjoyed desserts. Well, his wife did and thus was born the theme of the game. He decided upon the name Puck-Man because in Japanese ‘puck-puck’ is similar to ‘munch-munch’. The name was changed to Pac-Man for U.S. as a certain business man felt there was a need as ‘P’uck-Man could easily be changed into a not so decent word.
Coming to the ghosts, you obviously know them as chasers but instead of the known belief that they are in constant pursuit of Pac-Man each has its own line of duties. Blinky, the red ghost is the only one which constantly chases while Pinky and Inky respectively the pink and blue ghosts try to maintain a fixed distance [32 pixels for Pinky] from Pac-Man as it moves about. Little did you know that orange Clyde moves absolutely in random!
As for the color of the ghosts, there’s also a chapter to it. During the production days, the ghosts initially were ordered to be of the same color [red] by the president of Namco. She thought of gamers confusing certain ghosts as Pac-Man’s accomplice. Toru Iwatani wasn’t convinced and upon a cumulative feedback from different testers who likened the ghosts with multiple colors, the decision resulted in…well you know.
Lastly, there was a certain element that Iwatani at that time wished to design for the iconic game. “I wanted to have a shelter and it would move up and down,” he says. “When the ghost comes, the ghost would be pinched by the shelter which would disfigure the ghost.” The limitations of technology in those days might have provided hindrance to it but now he is happy with what was decided and undoubtedly so are we!