Mazes & Labyrinths
Route finding puzzles
The dictionary defines Maze and Labyrinths this way: n. A maze is a tour puzzle in the form of a complex branching passage through which the solver must find a route. This is different from a labyrinth, which has an unambiguous through-route and is not designed to be difficult to navigate.
Labyrinths, Traditional Mazes, Single Rule Mazes and Multiple Rule Mazes, and other types of route-finding puzzles. They can be hard or easy. But always fun.
Mazes and Labyrinths have existed for thousands of years and have always been surrounded by a sense of mystery and magic. On this website we concerned with all sorts of mazes and labyrinths that are puzzles for recreation and entertainment but many ancient labyrinths were designed to be places for meditation and sometimes even initiation rites.
Modern uses for the maze can even be found in the laboratory where they are often used by scientists to determine the pace of learned behaviour in laboratory rats. Rats first traverse the maze to a food reward by mere wandering. But after more tries they take less time as they learn the path. So mazes can even be a useful scientific tool.
Puzzlers enjoy mazes in many formats. From books for young children where the challenge is to draw a line from start to finish through to whole corn fields turned into a maze that may not just be a simple pathway but rather have bridges over paths, or one way doors leading into another section to solve. Other puzzles might involve a level of dexterity and getting a ball or other object along a path to solve the puzzle.
On this website you will find cast metal mazes like the MÖbius loop or the Cuby puzzle from Hanayama, you’ll find a maze that is inside an egg where you traverse the path with a special wand, a maze inside a sphere where you can only move the ball bearing through 99 stages along the path by manoeuvring the outside sphere, maze books, a modern stylus driven maze where you create your own unique pathways every time you play, amazing wooden puzzles from Jean Claude Constantin created in Europe that have hundreds of steps to solve and many, many more. We even have a maze puzzle alarm clock; solve the maze or it will not turn off.
Mazes were even featured in some of the original video games like Atari’s Gotcha where players chase each other through a maze.
A common theory of how to solve a maze is the Right Hand Rule. But does it really work? It can work but with caveats! If the maze is a standard maze, with no bridges over paths it can work. To make it work you must begin to follow the right hand wall immediately you enter the maze. If you are already lost within the maze it might not work because you could be following an island wall and go around and around in an endless loop.
Usually a labyrinth is a single path that has no junctions or choices but can still confuse when trying to find your way through. Puzzling items are more likely to be called maze because they will have choices of route, some leading to dead ends, many leading to complex choices so the puzzler can carry on and exit the maze. The origins of the word maze come from the Middle English word meaning “delirium” or “delusion”. Now you know why they are so confusing and annoying yet addictive all at the same time!