Amazing Maze

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Amazing Maze

Amazing Maze - ARC - USA - Cabinet.jpg

Arcade cabinet - USA.

Developer Dave Nutting Associates
Publisher Midway
Published 1976-??-??
Platforms Arcade, Astrocade
Genres Active puzzle, Maze, Puzzle, Single-screen
Multiplayer Simultaneous versus
Distribution Commercial

Amazing Maze is an active puzzle maze solving video game developed by Dave Nutting Associates and published by Midway in 1976. It was originally designed as an arcade, but was later ported to the Astrocade. The cabinet uses an Intel 8080 CPU.

The objective of the game is to solve a maze faster than your opponent. The game randomly generates a maze with openings on the left and right and starts each player starts at one of the openings. Players must direct their on-screen character through the maze to the other side, with the winner being whoever reaches the opposing exit first. In two-player mode, the winner is the best two out of three mazes. In one-player mode, the human player races against an AI for three guaranteed mazes, but, as long as the player keeps winning after the third maze, they can play as long as they like. However, winning becomes more difficult over time because the AI increases its speed and never makes a mistake.

Personal

Own?No.
Won?No. As far as I know, the game doesn't have a win condition.

In my search to find the first video game to use lives, I discovered this game. It uses a prototype of lives by ensuring the player will always be able to have three tries. I found it to be a rather quaint game and wanted to make a page for it.

Review

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2 2 1 1 2

Best Version: Arcade

Good

  • Maze generation had been around since the 1950s, and it was used in several earlier computer titles, but this game was one of the first to commercially gamify the process.
  • Having a primitive AI opponent was an impressive feature for 1976.
  • Giving the players five seconds to study the maze before the game starts is a nice way to give players an edge while also inducing anxiety.
  • Some strategy is added to the game by being able to see your opponent's position and using it to help solve the maze. This is especially beneficial when playing the AI because it always follows the direct path to the exit.

Bad

  • Since the AI knows the solution to the maze and never makes a mistake, it's a rather boring opponent. Had the developers allowed the AI to make the occasional mistake, but move faster, it would make it more interesting.
  • The maze appears to be generated using Prim's algorithm, which doesn't create very complex mazes, so most solutions take a pretty direct route.
  • The arcade game doesn't offer any meaningful configuration options. You can't adjust the number of mazes to play, the complexity of the maze, the speed of the AI, or anything else, only the cost of a credit and the 2-player time limit. The Astrocade port at least lets you adjust the maze complexity.
  • It's a minor thing, but every bottom-left corner of the maze is missing a pixel.

Ugly

  • The game is severely lacking in media. The display is monochrome, the graphics are line art, and the audio is just beeps. To be fair, nothing better was really possible at the time.
  • Since there isn't anything to the game beyond solving small mazes, it very quickly becomes boring. And, without scoring or a high score list, players can't leave their initials to prove their skill.
  • The controls are pretty bad. The game doesn't nudge the player's box around walls, so trying to enter a path that isn't at a corner can be frustrating, especially when you're trying to race through the maze.

Media

Cover Art

Documentation

Screenshots

Videos

Gameplay - Arcade - Emulated.
Gameplay - Arcade - Cabinet.
Gameplay - Astrocade.

Representation

Strong female character?FailThere are no characters.
Bechdel test?FailThere are no characters.
Strong person of color character?FailThere are no characters.
Queer character?FailThere are no characters.

Credits

Role Staff
Designers (Arcade) Dave Nutting, Jamie Fenton, Jeff Frederiksen
Porter (Astrocade) Bill Jahnke

Titles

For the arcade original, the bezel reads, "Amazing Maze," the title screen reads, "The Amazing Maze Game," and the cabinet art simply reads, "Maze."

Links

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