Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
30 Genres of Christmas
Maze Games
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 17, 2009   |   Episode 22 (Show Archive)  


It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're counting down the days until Christmas by looking at 30 different video game genres. From the most popular games to the tiniest niche titles, everything fits into a genre and we're going to be there to shed absolutely no new information about that genre in this month-long feature. Join us as we celebrate this joyous season with the 30 Genres of Christmas!

Before the invention of GPS, Rally-X might as well have been a simulation racing game!
How Do You Know You Are Playing a Maze Game? Have you ever watched the news and heard about some crazy farmers who built a huge corn maze out of somebody's face? You see the kids getting lost while navigating their way around President Obama's head, all with the hope of eventually finding the exit and not living the rest of their lives outside in a complicated corn maze. Well, Maze Games are a lot like that ... only without the fear of your parents and friends forgetting about you and nobody realizing you're missing until next year. The Maze Game genre comes in a number of different types, including the traditional 2D top-down perspective (Pac-Man, Rally X) and the 3D perspective (Alien Maze, 3D Monster Maze). No matter what, the whole idea is to keep yourself from getting lost, all while picking up items and getting a high score.

Patron Saint: That one time when you got stuck in a haunted mansion and couldn't find your way out.

Typical Story: Jimmy is lost. He was told that if he could survive the labyrinthian hallways of the Von Kempt's estate that he would earn a small fortune. Unfortunately Jimmy is starting to think that maybe he won't be able to complete that relatively simple task. He's been wandering the halls for hours trying

If Namco ever decides to reboot the Pac-Man series, I hope they'll model it after this obviously fake NES box cover!
to figure out the pattern, all while dodging obstacles left down by the previous tenants. It's up to you to help Jimmy navigate his way through the maze and steal the money.

What Your Talking Hamster Says: "Look, I get it, you want to be me. No, I understand what you're saying. I mean, who wouldn't want to be a hamster? All we do is run around mazes and work out on fun exercise machines. And, as we all know, everybody loves working out and getting stuck in brain busting mazes. I totally see the appeal. But do me a favor, don't get stuck playing one of those Maze Games. Remember, I may be cute had have an envious lifestyle, but that doesn't mean I want you forgetting about feeding me and taking the hamster droppings out of the cage."

Want a Maze Game? There's an app for that!
Not a Maze Game: Despite often feeling like a maze, the levels in early first-person shooters (Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, etc.) are not part of the Maze Game genre. These games are tried and true first-person shooters, which is to say that they qualify as something entirely different from Pac-Man or Wizards of Wor. I'm half -tempted to name Metal Gear Solid a Maze Game, but that's only because the story often feels like a labyrinth.

Then vs. Now? You don't see a lot of Maze Games these days. Outside of The Last Guy on the PlayStation 3 and an iPhone game called Choobrie, modern day game developers don't seem interested in adding to this interesting sub-genre. Heck, even Pac-Man has abandoned the traditional mazes. Modern Pac-Man games have featured everything from 3D platforming to kart racing. Pac-Man: Championship Edition proves that there is still some life in this genre, if only somebody could figure out how to use today's technology to add to this ancient genre. For now I have no other choice but to say that Maze Games were better back in the day.


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