I fulfilled a life-long dream and picked up a Pac-Man arcade game (cabaret size) this fall. Since then, I've been obsessively playing it, learning the patterns. Most everyone has an initial distaste for the idea of using patterns, but I recommend giving them a try. It's actually more challenging than you might expect, as they require you to pre-turn the joystick at every intersection. This is absolutely necessary, as turning a corner in this way is a split-second faster than the usual way. (Knowing this is enormously helpful in shaking off a persistent monster on any board!) Missing a corner or two will usually screw up the pattern.
I don't have any personal interest in scoring a perfect game... while patterns exist for this, they require insane amounts of precision. Alternately, some players have mastered the art of grouping that can let you eat all the ghosts each time for maximum points, but that takes a great deal of time and patience. My personal goal is a million points.
You might think that should be easy once you've learned the necessary patterns, but let me tell you, it isn't. Why? Because once you reach the 9th key, the game becomes mercilessly difficult. The energizers no longer turn the monsters blue (this happens a few times before the 9th key as well.) Your Pac-Man slows down significantly, while the monsters remain viciously fast. There are, of course, patterns to get you past these screen from the 9th key to screen 255 (which are all exactly the same) but again, you have to execute them perfectly. And, at least for me, this is damn hard! I'm using what is generally considered to be the easiest 9th key pattern called "Stacked" and it still requires absolute precision when executing a series of pretty rapid corners. I'm at the point now that I can usually pull that off roughly 90 percent of the time, but when I mess it up even a tiny bit, the pattern goes to hell and it usually takes 2 lives to finish the board. So even giving myself a full set of five Pac-Men, you can see how a 10 percent failure rate would cut short my game well short of the million point goal.
I do feel like I'm getting a bit better with regular practice but it's slow going! I have a high score of around 427,000 points now. I expect it will take weeks more of practice to achieve that goal.