Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
MIDI Maze was an early first person shooter video game for the Atari ST developed by Xanth Software F/X , published by Hybrid Arts , and released around 1987. It is mainly remembered now for the innovation multiplayer "deathmatch" combat by the construction of networks using the MIDI interface.
Up to 16 computers could be networked in a "MIDI ring" by connecting one computer's MIDI-OUT port to the next computer's MIDI-IN port, although more than 4 players tended to slow down the game to a crawl and make it unstable.
Graphically the game was very simple with a humorous twist. The game area itself occupied only roughly one fourth of the screen and consisted of a first person view of a flat-shaded Pac-Man-like maze with a cross-hair in the middle. All players were shown as 3D-rendered smileys in various colors. Bullets were represented as small balls.
The game was started by one designated master machine which set rules, divided players into teams and selected a maze. A number of mazes were supplied with the game and additional mazes could be constructed using one of various 3rd party tools. The game was very popular at gatherings of Atari ST users until the end of the Atari ST era circa 1993.
MIDI Maze also exists for Atari 8-bit family. It is possible to connect ST and 8 bit to network and play together.
MIDI Maze II
MIDI Maze II was later developed by Markus Fritze for Sigma-Soft . This game was released as shareware and contained gameplay improvements over the original.
A Nintendo Game Boy version was developed by the original developers, Xanth Software F/X, and published in 1991 by Bullet-Proof Software under the title Faceball 2000. It is notable for being the only Game Boy game to support 16 simultaneous players, using a special hardware device and cables created by the game programmer, Robert Champagne . A Nintendo SNES version, also programmed by Robert Champagne, was released the following year, supporting two players in split-screen mode. A Sega Game Gear version, programmed by Darren Stone , was released to the Japanese market, supporting two handhelds connected by a cable. A variety of in-game music for Faceball 2000 was composed by George "The Fat Man" Sanger. A multiplayer networked PC version of the game was prototyped but never released.
An unofficial free tribute game called Faceball 3000, written in Macromedia Flash, is also available.
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