Maze (video game genre)

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A maze game is a video game genre in which a player must solve or traverse every passage of a maze, often with pursuers. It is one of the oldest video game genres, dating back to 1959.

History

The very first maze video game was Mouse In the Maze (1959) where you had to make a maze for a mouse to solve. However, since you couldn't solve the game yourself, it was more of a toy than a game. In the early 1970s, maze games were becoming larger and required the player to solve a randomly generated maze. The predecessor of Maze War, Maze (1973 video game) was the first first-person perspective maze game, and Maze (1974) and Maze Tracing (1974) were the first traditional maze solving games. Atari created probably the first maze pursuit game with Gotcha (1973), and other companies were hot on the trail as first generation home video game consoles included Amazing Maze (1976), Videocart-10: Maze (1977), and Super Maze (1977). The first maze traversal game, where the player is expected to walk through the majority of the passages in a maze, was Pac-Man (1980).

Categories

There are several sub-genres of maze games.

Sub-Genre Description Examples
Standard Maze The player is expected to solve a maze from beginning to end while viewing it from a top-down perspective. Maze (1974), Maze Tracing (1974).
3D Maze The player is expected to solve a maze from beginning to end while viewing it from inside the maze in a first-person perspective. Maze (1973 video game) (1973), Escape! (1978).
Maze Pursuit The player is expected to avoid opponents in a maze. Gotcha (1973), Heiankyo Alien (1979).
Maze Traversal The player is expected to traverse all of the passages of a maze. Pac-Man (1980), Lock 'n' Chase (1981).
Grid Capture The player is expected to surround and "capture" areas of a maze. Amidar (1981), Triple Punch (1982).

Personal

I'm pretty sure the first maze video game I ever played was the arcade version of Pac-Man around 1985. My family also had Maze Craze and Pac-Man for the Atari 2600. I never really cared much for any of these games, and none of the sub-genres appeal to me either.

Games

This is a list of maze game that are important to me. For all games in this genre, see the maze category.

Title Released Developer
Pac-Man 1980-10-26 Namco

Links

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