Reading a recent article on Kotaku about the amazing programmer Tim Sweeny made me start reminiscing about some of the games I wrote on the Commodore 64 in my younger days. It would be a huge understatement to say that it’s regretful that all of those floppy disks containing thousands of boy-hours of programming work were lost many years ago — actually, think “boy losing his teddy bear”. One of those disks contained (and may still contain, probably in a landfill) a game written entirely in BASIC called The Maze. The original Maze may be lost, but watching the video of Sweeny’s ZZT — which I really want to play now — reminded me that there is one game that is still around: a QuickBasic port of The Maze that I wrote in college in an attempt to relive my childhood programming days. The Maze for QB retained a lot of the same features like a level editor, enemies that chased you, sound effects, save points, and a 30-room-based layout. I don’t think I’ve shared this game with anyone before, so I thought it might be fun to put out there for someone to try. (Eh, who am I kidding?) To this day, writing a decent video game, big or small, is still one of my life goals. This is not that game. :)
So here it is:
You’ll need 7-zip or be on Linux to extract it, and DosBox to be able to play it. Just extract, run DosBox, “mount” the C drive by typing (press [Enter] after each line, and replace the path in the first line with the path you extracted to on your PC):
mount c: /path/to/maze/folder c: GAME.EXE
I recommend cranking up the CPU cycles (Ctrl-F12) to keep the enemies from slowing down the screen (did I mention I wasn’t a very good programmer?). Also it depends on having the keyboard repeat rate up fairly high, if it’s not you will have trouble running from enemies.
Object of the game:
Explore, collect diamonds, open doors with keys, avoid enemies, find the treasure. There are also warp tiles, traps, mines, and save points. If you’re clever you can kill enemies by luring them into traps or mines.
- Cursor Keys: movement
- E: enter editor
- Esc: Quit
- -/=: Speed up/slow down enemies
- L: Load new world file (don’t type the .dat extension)
- Left Mouse Button (in editor): Place the currently selected object type
- Right Mouse Button (in editor): Remove currently selected object type
That’s it, enjoy! Trust me, you will be underwhelmed and frustrated. :)