how to install pygame on mac

The Ultimate Guide on How to Install Pygame

Looking to create fantastic games? Do you want to code with Pygame, but are unsure of how to install it on your computer?

Installing this game dev library can be challenging, especially for beginner Python coders – but don’t worry, we will show you how to do it in this article.

With our comprehensive guide, you can learn what you need to know step-by-step. Soon, you’ll be having fun with interactive games in Pygame!

What is Pygame Used for in Python?

boy plays computer-game at home

Pygame is a sought-after library used in Python for numerous purposes. It provides an extensive set of resources and tools that can aid both amateurs and professionals in creating top-notch graphics and games with ease.

This advanced library makes 2D game creation with rich audio and graphics easier for game developers, making it the preferred choice for spectacular player engagement.

Pygame is also a versatile option for scientific computing and data visualization, making it an essential toolkit for programmers across various industries. With Pygame, the possibilities of exploring creativity are within your reach, making its addition to your Python toolkit invaluable.

Is Pygame Good for Beginners?

Pygame can be an excellent starting point for individuals who are new to game development. It’s easy to learn and its flexibility encourages creativity.

You can re-create classic games such as Mario or Tetris or take on the challenge of inventing something exceptional.

Ample online resources are available to assist you with any obstacles you might encounter. There are many communities online that can provide advice as well.

Pygame is a user-friendly, entertaining, and accessible gateway to game development.

How to Install PyGame via Pip in 3 Steps

Before learning how to install the Pygame module, make sure you have Python and Pip installed. Then, follow these three easy steps to install Pygame using pip.

Step 1: Open Terminal

Open Terminal using the Spotlight search or by navigating to the Applications > Utilities folder.

Step 2: Install Pygame Using the Following Command

In the Terminal window, type the following command to install Pygame using pip:

pip3 install pygame

You will see an output similar to the one below:

Collecting pygame
  Obtaining dependency information for pygame from
  Downloading pygame-2.5.2-cp310-cp310-macosx_11_0_arm64.whl.metadata (13 kB)
Downloading pygame-2.5.2-cp310-cp310-macosx_11_0_arm64.whl (12.2 MB)
   ━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━ 12.2/12.2 MB 5.2 MB/s eta 0:00:00
Installing collected packages: pygame
Successfully installed pygame-2.5.2

Note: the versions you will see in your output will depend on your version of Python and on the latest version of PyGame available at the time of the installation.

Step 3: Verify that Pygame is Installed

You can check if Pygame is installed when the installation is finished by launching a Python shell in the Terminal and importing the Pygame module:

# python3
Python 3.10.9 | packaged by conda-forge | (main, Feb  2 2023, 20:26:08) [Clang 14.0.6 ] on darwin
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pygame
pygame 2.5.2 (SDL 2.28.3, Python 3.10.9)
Hello from the pygame community.

As you can see from the output, after importing the Pygame module successfully, you will see an “Hello” message. If there are no error messages, Pygame is successfully installed on your system.

Note: the output you will see after opening the Python shell depends on the version of Python installed on your computer.

Troubleshooting Common Installation Issues

ImportError: No module named ‘pygame’

Pygame ImportError in Python occurs when Python is unable to import the Pygame module due to an incorrect or lack of installation. Here are a few solutions to resolve this error. 

Solution 1: Install Pygame

Ensure Pygame is installed on your system by using pip. You can follow the previous steps in this guide to install Pygame.

If Pygame is already installed, try reinstalling it to ensure proper installation.

Solution 2: Python Version Check

Python Version Check

Ensure that your Python version is compatible – Pygame requires Python 3.6 or later. To verify your version of Python, simply enter the following command in your command prompt:

# python3 --version
Python 3.10.9

From the output above you can see that the version of Python I’m currently using is Python 3.10.9.

If you have multiple Python versions installed, make sure you’re installing and managing Pygame with the correct version.

Solution 3: Check PYTHONPATH

If, for some reason, you have installed Pygame outside of the global default location for Python libraries (lib/python<version>/site-packages directory), verify that your PYTHONPATH environment variable includes the correct directory for the Pygame installation.

To check your PYTHONPATH variable execute the following command in your Terminal:


If you discover Pygame’s installation is not visible in the PYTHONPATH, add it manually. Here’s how: 

Open the Terminal, and run the following command:

export PYTHONPATH=$PYTHONPATH:/path/to/pygame

You will need to update /path/to/pygame to the right directory path where you have installed Pygame.

Solution 4: Check sys.path

To ensure that Pygame’s directory is included in your sys.path list, check that it has been added in by utilizing this Python code:

import sys

If Pygame’s directory isn’t visible in the sys.path list of directories, add it to the path with the following code:

import sys

Remember to replace /path/to/pygame with the correct directory where you installed Pygame.

These steps are not required if you have installed Pygame in the default global location for Python libraries. At the same time, these commands show you how to troubleshoot errors that can occur when importing the Pygame module.

Pygame Window Does Not Appear or is Frozen

If the Pygame window is not visible or remains frozen, there may be a few reasons for it. Here are some potential solutions to try:

Solution 1: Review Your Code for Errors

Check your code to ensure there are no syntax or logical errors that may be causing the issue with the Pygame window failing to appear or update correctly.

Solution 2: Upgrade Pygame

Be sure that the latest Pygame version is installed. Depending on how you installed it, you can use Pip to upgrade it. 

The following command updates Pygame via pip in the Terminal:

pip install --upgrade pygame

Solution 3: Pygame.display.update() Function

When creating an animation or updating the window contents using Pygame, incorporate the Pygame.display.update() function to reflect any changes made.

Solution 4: Correct Event Handling

Effectively handle events in code to ensure proper Pygame functionality.

Pygame uses an event loop to manage events and user input, so if you don’t process events appropriately, the Pygame window may appear to be frozen.

Ensure that Pygame.event.get() function is called to collect events from the queue, and that events are handled systematically.

Solution 5: Confirm System Resources

Verify that there are enough system resources to support the Pygame application, otherwise, the Pygame application may not perform effectively.

Close applications or processes that may be using system resources, and attempt to run the Pygame application again.

Sound and Music Not Working in Pygame

If you’re experiencing sound and music issues with Pygame, here are some possible solutions to try:

Solution 1: Ensure Compatible Sound File Formats

Before playing sound files, confirm that they are in the right format. Pygame supports various sound file formats including WAV, MP3, and OGG. If they are incompatible, you can convert them using a file converter program.

Solution 2: Load Sound Files Properly

To load sound files the right way, use Pygame.mixer.Sound() function as shown below using your Pygame code:

import pygame

sound = pygame.mixer.Sound('path/to/sound/file')

Solution 3: Check Sound Volume

The sound volume may be at zero or too low. To adjust the volume, use Pygame.mixer.Sound.set_volume() function like this:

import pygame

sound = pygame.mixer.Sound('path/to/sound/file')
sound.set_volume(0.5) # Set volume to 50%

Pygame is Not Detecting Keyboard or Mouse Events

If Pygame isn’t detecting keyboard or mouse events, there are several possible explanations. Here, we’ve provided some solutions to try:

Solution 1: Confirm Your Event Loop

Verify that event handling is properly organized in your event loop. Pygame relies on this function to detect input events such as key presses and mouse clicks so it’s a crucial part of getting things working.

Solution 2: Check Your Event Types

Ensure that you’re correctly checking event types inside of your event loop. Pygame uses different types of events to signify various actions, like pygame.MOUSEBUTTONDOWN for a mouse click or pygame.KEYDOWN for a keyboard key being pushed down.

Solution 3: Double-check Event Handling Code

Make sure the event handling in your code is correct. For example, if you wish to move an object when using the keyboard, ensure that you’re appropriately updating the object’s position when the key is pressed.

Solution 4: Confirm Input Focus

Check that your Pygame window is focused on your input. If another window has focus instead, Pygame may not be able to identify your inputs.

Solution 5: Look for Conflicting Event Handling Code

Check for other sections of code that may be conflicting with Pygame’s event handling.

If there is another GUI library in use that also handles input from the keyboard or mouse, it may cause issues with Pygame’s event handling.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Pygame use CPU or GPU?

Pygame primarily uses the CPU for its processing needs. While some GPU features can be utilized in certain cases – mostly when it comes to rendering graphics –  the majority of the library’s functionalities are reliant on the CPU.

However, this does not imply that Pygame is slow or ineffective. It’s actually an effective and potent Python package that makes it simple for developers to produce visually beautiful games and other applications.

Does Pygame cost money?

Not only is Pygame open-source, but it is also free. Therefore, Pygame is unquestionably a tool to take into consideration if you’re looking for a cost-effective way to create excellent games.

Is Pygame pure Python?

Pygame is a robust library coded entirely in Python, which makes it effortless to create engaging 2D games, animations, and multimedia applications.

You don’t need to learn another programming language to utilize Pygame.

Final Thoughts

Are you looking to enhance your game development? Consider learning how to install Pygame.

It provides immense power and an easy-to-use interface for creating amazing games. Moreover, the platform installs quickly and easily with our step-by-step guide.

Related article: To learn more about extending your application using modules go through the Codefather tutorial about Python modules.

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