MadMaze was an online video game playable through the now-defunct Prodigy service. It was designed by Eric Goldberg and developed by Greg Costikyan
in 1989, and was the first online game to draw over a million players. The game disappeared in 1999 with the death of the Prodigy service, but has since been rehosted by fans of the game, with permission from the service and the game's creator.
The player takes on the role of a boy hailing from the Village of Weith. Wellan, the Village Elder, explains to you that The Mad One, an insane deity born of primal chaos
, has awakened, and is slowly reclaiming the world, transforming the land it controls into a sprawling and hazardous maze. Now, the MadMaze approaches Weith, and threatens to engulf the village. The boy is tasked by Wellan to travel to the center of the MadMaze and recruit the help of a wizard named Moraziel
on the pretext that only with his help can the Mad One be defeated.
The Mad Maze
is divided into three "levels" that themselves are divided into "sections".note
The gameplay is comprised of two elements - exploration
, and interactive scenarios (A.K.A. Places of Power).
The maze itself is composed of straight, homogenous
corridors and right-angle turns. Each section can be easily mapped out on a sheet of graph paper, and beyond the first level, this becomes necessary. You must navigate the sprawling labyrinth in a first-person perspective and locate Places of Power.
At Places of Power, you encounter people, animals, places and/or objects. PoPs are mostly text-based, in contrast to the graphical interface of the mazes. You are presented with a series of choices, usually in the context of a conversation
. Correct choices will grant you access to the next section, and the best choices will reward you with some valuable information for future PoPs. However, bad choices will result in your untimely death. These text-based scenarios are the heart of the game; the mazes in between can mostly be considered Filler
At any time outside of a PoP, you can save your game, though you only have one save file available. There is also a password system, but as it was dropped entirely from the second level onward, you can only use it to warp to two PoPs in the first level.The game can be found here
, but it requires Internet Explorer to play.Discussion of the game can be found here.
This game provides examples of: