Maze Books Made by Dad When He Was a Kid:

MAZE CRAZE - Volume III: Time Machine Chase

This set of mazes is a bit different. First, instead of being based on classic video games, it is based on a set of classic game books, very similar to Choose Your Own Adventure. This inspiration was the Time Machine series. Second, your progress through the pages of the maze book is itself a maze.

Maze Craze #203

Book Number 3

My first maze Magnus Opus!

Choose Your Own Time Machine Books

I think any fan of mazes, puzzles, and games of my age has to have had at least some interaction with the young adult book genre known as game books. The most famous of these is without a doubt the Choose Your Own Adventure series. Operating almost a mazes themselves, each story passage within these books would bring you to a story choice, the results of which would direct you to a particular page number to proceed.

CYOA#1 - Cave of Time

Interactive Fiction is Born

Before the age of Infocom and the debut of computerized interactive fiction, the success of the Choose Your Own Adventure series spawned a number of similar efforts and imitators. The publishers of Choose Your Own Adventure themselves, Bantam Books, struck out in a new direction with the Time Machine series. This series focused on one specific point in history per book, and often relayed a lot of interesting historical facts about the period it conveyed.

TM#3 - Sword of the Samurai

Your Passport Into Time

In addition to being mildly educational, the Time Machine series of books solved a problem that I had with the Choose Your Own Adventure series: arbitrary game over states you would achieve due to a choice, prompting you to start the book over. No one ever did that. You kept a finger in the book at the page where you made your last risky choice, to go back to if you got "The End." This finger is the prototype for the (forgive the pun) "manual save system" in video games today. "Save scumming" simply involved multiple fingers! The most advanced readers of non-linear fiction min-maxed the experience to read the book in the most non-linear fashion possible!

Your Passport Into Time

Repitition Leads to Mastery

By contrast, the Time Machine series of game books featured fewer choices and branches, but with more story passages and developments devoted to each branch. As a consequence and a benefit, zero pages were devoted to game over "The End" states. When a reader was presented with a choice in a Time Machine book, it was a choice that ideally should have informed by something the reader learned about the period in a previous passage, and not something arbitrary and unpredictable. In essence, the questions were little quizes about the period you had been experiencing and its key figures (i.e. who to trust? etc.). If you made a bad choice in the Time Machine series, you would be thrown back to an earlier passage in your stream of choices, very much like how modern video games determine an autosave point from which you can continue after failing.

Ancient Egypt Maze Preview

My First Multi-Maze Book

In taking inspiration from the book series for a Maze Craze maze book, it was clear I had to make the entire book a maze, much as these game books were themselves. I, however, was unable to resist the temptation to build a few dead ends into the experience! A modern browser should help you with all the save scumming you should wish to do. Each maze will be preceded by a Key (or Legend), describing the dangers and tools you can find within each maze. Please note that all these Maze Craze books come with a high-res PDF, ready to print if you like to tackle mazes the old-fashioned way: with a pencil!

START THE MAZE! - Time Machine Chase

Maze Craze #203 PDF

Text Link to PDF Version