Pac-Man Principles for Principals

Don’t forget Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde

How the Pac-Man Principle Affects Our Work In Schools

In spite of being 36 years old, Pac-Man’s popularity shows no sign of decline. Well over 90% of Americans recognize Pac-Man, giving this character greater brand awareness than Super Mario. Pac-Man was designed to be non-violent and to appeal to children and females. Here are 12 ways to use Pac-Man principles to up your principal game:

1| Navigate the Maze

Pac-Man needed humans to guide him through his maze. As you navigate your school, use Pac-Man principal principles to help teachers and students find their way too.


2| Be Pac-Man in a World of Space Invaders

Pac-Man arrived just when Space Invaders ruled arcades. Gamers initially weren’t interested in the alternative to more violent games. The creator wanted to find a game to appeal to women outside of the typical gaming community. The game went on to be a blockbuster success. Being innovative as a principal as others play an old game can bring new ideas that work.

3| Every Game Is Different

The Pac-Man ghosts (Inky, Blinky, Pinky and Clyde) had their own personalities to make the game more interesting. One ghost only chased Pac-Man. Another one constantly changed course. In your school, you may have a teacher chasing new concepts while another one can’t focus. Recognizing every teacher as an individual is key in helping them move forward to the next level.

4| Take A Coffee Break


The creator of Pac-Man introduced mini-breaks labeled “Coffee Breaks” into the game. A giant Pac-Man appeared on the screen to chase a new ghost. The breaks were designed to inspire players to the next level with a break in playing. Encourage your teachers to really take breaks to renew and get ready to move into the next nine weeks of school.

5| Clean Up The Game

Pac-Man’s sole goal was to eat the white maze pellets. Who needs 100 copies of outdated curriculum or materials taking up space? Pac-Man your way through the storage cabinet maze.

6| Don’t Let Youth Hold You Back

The creator of Pac-Man was only 25-years-old. He had a strong vision when he created Pac-Man. If you are a new principal, approach each day with the same excitement as Pac-Man took on every new maze.

7| Translate Your Ideas

Pac-Man comes from the Japanese Pakkuman or Paku meaning to eat or chomp. Translate your innovative school ideas into action.

8| Be Inspired by Others

Pac-Man’s creator was inspired by Casper the friendly ghost, manga, and animation. As you lead, think about who and what inspires you. Surround yourself with supportive, innovative people who inspire you.

9| Go For a High Score

Gamers stood in arcades for hours trying to beat other player’s Pac-Man scores. Be competitive with your leadership plan and learn from others playing the same “game” alongside you.

10| Be Timeless

In 2010, Google made their daily doodle a playable anniversary Pac-Man version. Players spent nearly 5 million hours playing the game 30 years after its introduction. As you work, think about being that timeless principal that teachers remember. Ask yourself how can you leave your mark on your school?

11| Find a Mentor

Pac-Man had Ms. Pac-Man as his maze-traveling partner. Find your Ms. Pac-Man mentor and fight “ghosts” together.

12| Put on a Happy Face

Part of Pac-Man’s appeal was his happy face. The designer wanted to bring joy to arcade gamers. Maintain a positive Pac-Man attitude even in the face of challenges.

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