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Blog for the Maze War 30 Year Retrospective

We welcome your stories about Maze, how it changed your life (or didn't)!

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Jeremy Schmutz

I grew up playing Mazewars over appletalk on the earliest Macintoshes. As I understand it the first Macintosh implimentation also caused work stoppages at Apple computer where my father worked. We used to have 4 player games in our our basement when my dad's friends would stop by with their Macs, and the rest of the time it was just my siblings and I killing each other. It was great fun as an 10-12 year old. There were some additions made to include multiple maps with warps between then that might have been specific for Apple as they expanded the original 4 person game to hundreds of Apple employees and added multiple eyeball models including my favorite: the cowboy boot (it was always hard to tell if the boot was facing you!). They even kept scoreboards at Apple Chicago, just another way to let off office stress. It was spooky to peek around the corner and see that eyeball just floating there staring back at you. The tradition continues to this day in my family (not just Christmas holiday fragging) as my siblings and our dad get together from the diverse locations we've ended up in to play Unreal Tournement on-line. Playing Mazewars as kids, my brother was infamous for peeking over your shoulder to see where you were located in the maze and ambushing you, I could never figure out why he was so darn good...

Greg Corson (Greg_Corson@acm.org)

Hi, In the late 1980's I wrote a game for the GEnie on-line system called A-Maze-ing which was based on the same general idea as mazewars.  It was a Mac only graphical game where you moved around a multi-level maze and, similar to Mazewars, shot at other people who looked like eyeballs (though later, the graphics became user definable).  In addition to the run-and-gun aspects it also had various things like teleporters and special items (various guns, shield/energy boosters...etc) that periodically appeared and could be grabbed by the first player who found them.

The game also was the first that I know of to be based on distributed processing, that is the host (GEnie's mainframe) acted only as a recordkeeper and communications switchboard.  All the game functions were distributed out to the player's computers.

When I saw your article about the upcoming Mazewars aniversary I decided to do a bit of Google searching on my old game.  I was surprised to discover that a number of people credit it as being the first on-line First-Person-shooter game.  I never really thought of it this way myself, because mazewars was really first and was on-line on the early internet.  Though I suppose A-Maze-ing was probably the first on-line FPS game that ran on a computer anyone could buy (Mac) and on an on-line system that anyone could subscribe to and use (GEnie).

Let me know if you would be interested in more information.

Brandon Valentine (digibarn@brandon.dvalentine.com)

In reading your history of Maze War I was reminded of an old MacOS shareware game I haven't seen in ages, Scarab of RA.  Scarab of RA appears to be largely inspired by Maze War, though it's single-player and has introduced levels and objectives to the maze to accomplish the single-player aspect.  The vector graphics and 90 deg angles inside the maze are unmistakably Maze War-like.  At one time when I was doing lots of programming in school computer labs outfitted with 68k Macintoshes myself and many others carried a floppy around containing Scarab of RA binaries.  If we had had multiplayer/network capabilities on those Macs, I'm certain that Maze War wouldn't have been far behind.  It looks like the publishers of Scarab of RA have more information about the game here:

HTH,
Brandon

Ray Sanders

Maze Wars was seen running on the early Macintosh 128k and 512k systems in 1984-85 time frame. It first appeared under the name "Bus'd Out". Bus'd Out was written (or ported) by someone at Apple as a testing tool for early versions of the AppleTalk stack. AppleTalk existed on the earliest Mac systems, but there was almost nothing to use it until the first LaserWriter appeared in 1985. Bus'd Out later reappreaed on the Mac with the name Super Maze Wars. I believe there may have been another version between these two. The one peculiarity of the original Bus'd Out was that it required the AppleTalk connector to be plugged into the Modem serial port rather than the usual Printer serial port (both ports being AppleTalk capable). One other bit of trivia, early AppleTalk was compatible with an old Apple // networking product called School Bus. I would not be surprised if there were an Apple // version back in those days also.

HTH, Ray Sanders

D. Hugh Redelmeier

MidiMaze for the Atari ST seems to be of this family.
The Atari ST didn't have a conventional network interface, but it did come with MIDI connections.  MidiMaze worked by connecting a set of 2 to 16 Atari STs in a ring.  I currently have a ring of 6 set up.

See http://www.midimaze.de/  I cannot read German, so I don't really know what they say.

Neil Cresswell

"Someone reported to us that they believe that Maze War was ported to the NeXT workstation so it could well be that it continues to live on."

Yes, that was me. I remember that the versiob that shipped with the original NeXT had a built-in cheat (press i to become invisible.)

Lucas Martin-King

I believe there was a game on the early Apple Mac's (system 6, 7 or so) called "Super Maze Wars". It seems to be another port of Maze War.

The only major difference I can remember is that your player is represented by a pyramid which points in the direction you are travelling.

Apart from that, it seems to be the same (from what is described on the page) ;D

Cheers,
-Lucas

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