I want to use pygame, but I am having trouble installing/using it. It appears to be installed, but Python cannot find it. I know there are several similar questions about this, but none of them gave an answer that worked for me.

​I used ​sudo apt-get install python-pygame. ​The installation appeared to complete successfully.​ ​When I redo it I am told that I have the newest version, so that should be alright.

S​till, this happens:

>>> import pygame
Traceback (most recent call last):
  File "<stdin>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named pygame

​ ​When I look for information I find on AskUbuntu that some people have a similar problem, but the only answer I could find was that they had been using Python 3, and that had caused the problem. ​I am using Python 2.7 (I tried to import in both python2 and python3, but no luck.

Then I tried compiling myself according to the instructions here: http://www.pygame.org/wiki/CompileUbuntu I got this message:

Package ffmpeg is not available, but is referred to by another package.
This may mean that the package is missing, has been obsoleted, or
is only available from another source

E: Package 'ffmpeg' has no installation candidate

So ​I removed ffmpeg and did everything else, which seemed to work.​ Running sudo python setup.py install did lots of stuff and did not throw any errors or warnings that I could see. But when it was finished, it is still impossible to import pygame.

I also found something about 32 bit vs 64 bit problems. Could that be it? In which case, how can I install the correct pygame version when sudo apt-get doesn't know it? These related questions made me think it might be a 32/64-bit-issue (they are about Pygame on other OS than Ubuntu):

​My Python version:

Python 2.7.8 |Anaconda 2.0.1 (64-bit)| (default, Jul  2 2014, 18:08:02) 
[GCC 4.1.2 20080704 (Red Hat 4.1.2-54)] on linux2

OS: Ubuntu 14.04​LTS​, 64-bit


Pygame works when I use /usr/bin/python and thus run this version of Python instead:

Python 2.7. (default, Mar  22 2014, 22:59:56) 
[GCC 4.8.2] on linux2
  • @MadMike I added this information, and it seems Sylvain Pineau had the correct answer. My Anaconda version of Python seems to be 64-bit. It doesn't say what the 'normal', but I guess it might be 32-bit then. Not sure though.
    – PaulMag
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


The default python 2.7 on 14.04 is 2.7.6:

Python 2.7.6 (default, Mar 22 2014, 22:59:56) 
[GCC 4.8.2] on linux2

So I think that you installed your own python version which does not see the modules installed by apt-get.

Try instead to call python this way (the version installed in /usr/bin):

$ /usr/bin/python
Python 2.7.6 (default, Mar 22 2014, 22:59:56) 
[GCC 4.8.2] on linux2
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
>>> import pygame
  • That's it, running Python like that fixed it! But should not version 2.7.8 be backwards compatible with 2.7.6? Pygame claims to be compatible with versions (2.7 <= x < 2.8). The third digit is only supposed to be backwards compatible patches/bugfixes. It feels very strange to have to use an older version of Python like this.
    – PaulMag
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:01
  • 2
    I don't think this is a compatibilty issue between python version or 32 vs 64-bit. I rather suspect that the "other" python sets it paths on where to look for packages differently than the ubuntu-python does. You can fire up both python versiosn and do a "import sys; print(sys.path)" and compare the result.
    – MadMike
    Oct 23, 2014 at 7:43

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