Friday, April 3, 2015

NumberMaze (at last)

I'm finally back, and I'm finally making that post about NumberMaze. I have fond memories of this game, because much like Learning Voyage, it was included in Classworks Gold. Also like Learning Voyage, I re-discovered it recently thanks to the power of Google.

Now, NumberMaze is not quite as obscure as Learning Voyage, by which I mean people other than me remember it. However, I still count it as a pretty obscure game, because it's not well-known by a large number of people. That may change soon, because a certain YouTube celebrity owns a copy and has told me that he may review it at some point. And during all of April, he's reviewing edutainment games.

But to him I say, "Ha! I beat you to it!" (Please note that I like the guy in question, and I respect his work.)

Now, onto the game itself. NumberMaze was made by Great Wave Software and released for the IBM PC/compatibles and the Macintosh in 1988 and 1990, with an updated re-release sometime in the mid-to-late 90's, adding support for Windows in addition to enhanced graphics and sound. There were other games in the series as well, such as Reading Maze, Decimal & Fraction Maze, and a sequel called NumberMaze Challenge (which was NOT used in Classworks, contrary to what I had said in an earlier post).

The game starts off with a name selection screen. As with a lot of edutainment games, you either choose from a list of names or add a new entry for yourself. When you add a new entry, there's also an option for a password.

No idea what the password does, by the way.
After selecting your name, the game (Mac version for me) opens with some beautiful PCM audio, followed by a beeping rendition of "Dance of the Reed Pipes" from the Nutcracker Suite.

So. Much. Nostalgia.
After this, you are greeted with the maze itself. Now, most of my screenshots feature a race car, but that's just because the computer kept choosing the race car. You can also get a horse, a mouse, and I think a few others, but I can't remember them now.

It's a-maze-ing... that I'm using that overused pun.
Your goal is to make it to the castle at the end of the maze, but since you're surrounded by walls, that's impossible, right? Wrong! See those yellow walls? Touch them with your game piece (I think that's what they call it), and you're greeted with a counting problem (on the first levels, anyway).

Suddenly I'm hungry for strawberries.
After you type in the correct answer, you'll get a piece of something to get past the obstacle (usually a ladder or staircase of some kind, although occasionally you'll have to open a locked door or clear away some rubble, and every so often the wall itself will open up).

Not pictured: the fact that this was on Counting B.
After you make it to the castle, it opens up and you're greeted with a screen showing the contents of your castle, and a beeping rendition of another song from the Nutcracker Suite, "Russian Dance" (also known as Danse Russe). For some reason, you don't get anything added to the castle after beating the first level, so you move on to the second level.

Not pictured: anything in the castle.
Now some of the walls are blue. These are locked walls. You need to move your game piece over to a key, then unlock one of the walls with it. After this, you can touch the wall and solve math problems like normal.

They're blue, da ba dee, da ba die...
Beating the second level actually does give you something to add to the castle.

Your swords are enough.
After answering enough problems, you get a certificate saying that you're a total math nerd... er, saying that you've cleared the difficulty level you were on. You can print it if you still have an old computer and an old printer, but printing from an older OS is difficult when you use an emulator like I do.

Um... count the strawberries?
The third level spices things up a bit more: you have to collect books in order to get rid of the walls surrounding the castle before you can actually get to it.

Don't ask me how books can get rid of walls.
And that's about it. Rinse and repeat. I'm pretty sure you eventually move on to different subjects for the problems (I think addition is one, and I know it also has everyone's favorite: word problems). Unfortunately, I got pretty bored by this point, and I didn't want to play any more... at least not for the blog. There may be an ending. Who knows? I don't.

Oh yeah, I should also mention a few things: the version I used for this review is in color (duh) and doesn't talk. There's also a talking version, at least for the Mac. The Mac version of Talking NumberMaze uses the built-in MacinTalk voices. There's also a monochrome version, and the color version may appear in monochrome if you don't set the colors properly (16 colors). Also, since it's such an old game, I recommend using Basilisk II rather than SheepShaver.

Let me tell you also, this game was a pain to get working properly. I would love to own a physical copy, but it's rare and demands a ridiculous price on Amazon. I am very jealous of the YouTube celebrity I mentioned earlier.

But that's neither here nor there. I need to mention something before I go: I'm actually not running out of obscure computer games! The next one that I have planned is the Mac version of Davidson's Spell-It Plus. Hopefully I'll remember the others I had in mind relatively soon. Anyways, see ya then!

-Johnny

5 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh, i have been looking for this game everywhere, I did find the Mac version, but I played the Windows version at school, sadly I can't seem to find that version, I've spent years and years searching for it online!

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  2. Hey! Where can you find this magical thing?

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  3. omg i've looking everywhere for this nostalgia bomb, i kept searching for "windows maze game mouse cheese" i didn't remember that the thing you control, then i just looked for windows 90s maze game and just scrolled for images and found this page!

    Thank you for making this!

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