What started out as a simple toy, a hand-held dexterity puzzle gave rise to a wide range of platform games.
How to Play Ball-in-a-maze Puzzles
Whether you have a traditional toy or you want to play this game on your computer or console the aim of this labyrinth puzzle is to guide the ball or balls towards a designated goal.
Traditional toys are made out of wood or plastic and the top of the board has a transparent plastic cover so there can be no fiddling with the balls. In the most basic game you have to tilt the board to guide the ball and prevent it from falling into holes until you reach the goal. Other variants have two little knobs that allow you to control the movement of the ball.
Also, there are some versions that use magnets you can use to steer the metallic ball.
History of the Ball-in-a-maze Puzzle
This fun toy was invented back in the 1880s by American toy-maker Charles Martin Crandall and it was first sold as ‘Pigs in Clover’.
In 1946, Swedish company BRIO came up with a version of this game called simply ‘Labyrinth’ and the aim is the same, guiding the steel ball to the end of the puzzle.
‘Perplexus’ is a 3-D version of the old Ball-in-a-maze, but in this case you have to guide the ball through a very complex labyrinth encased in a transparent plastic sphere.
Video Labyrinth Puzzles
There is a huge number of platform video games that use the Ball-in-a-maze principle. One of the most popular is ‘Super Monkey Ball’, created in 2001 by Sega. Instead of a steel ball, the player has to guide through the maze one of the game’s four monkeys which are encased in transparent ball across a series of platforms which make up a floor.
Another game using the same principle is ‘Marble Blast Gold’ which was released in 2002 and was pre-installed on some Apple computers, but was later made available for Windows or Linux computers.