Unraveling the curious historical past of videogame mazes and labyrinths

Games Review


The historical past of mazes and labyrinths is a maze itself. The primary recorded labyrinth was commissioned by the Egyptian king Amenemhet III hundreds of years in the past: not like the Minotaur labyrinth of Greek fable, this was constructed to be lived in, with banqueting halls, temples, and workplaces. Since then, mazes have been minimize from turf, mosaicked on cathedral flooring, stamped on cash, hacked into cornfields, fashioned by parking tourbuses, and customary from hedgerows as dallying spots for English aristocrats. 

Mazes and labyrinths generate a shocking vary of feelings. Partly, it’s because the previous is not fairly the identical because the latter. The associations of the noun ‘maze’ are largely damaging, referring to bewilderment, deceit and worldly distraction. A labyrinth is a equally complicated construction, however the phrase has acquired extra constructive senses over time—it could possibly function a spot for reverie and contemplation. Psychotherapists like Dr. Lauren Artress have even prescribed labyrinth-walking as a type of meditation. Integral to this distinction is the concept whereas a maze might have many paths, a labyrinth has just one, nonetheless winding.

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(Picture credit score: Future)

This text first appeared in PC Gamer journal problem 355 in April 2021. Each month we run unique options exploring the world of PC gaming—from behind-the-scenes previews, to unbelievable group tales, to fascinating interviews, and extra. 

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