Maelstrom (1992 video game)

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Developer(s)Ambrosia Software
Publisher(s)Ambrosia Software
Designer(s)Andrew Welch
Platform(s)Mac OS, Linux
Genre(s)Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s)single player
Maelstrom Screenshot

Maelstrom is a 2D video game developed by Andrew Welch, released in November 1992 for Macintosh.[1] The game is an enhanced clone of Atari's 1979 Asteroids arcade game with a visual style similar to Atari's 1987 sequel, Blasteroids.[2] Maelstrom was released when there were few action games for the high-resolution color displays of the Macintosh, so it garnered interest (despite the dated concept) and led to the creation of Ambrosia Software. The game was later released under GPL and Creative Commons license as Free and open-source software. Ports for operating systems, such as Linux, MacOS and Windows, resulted from this.


Maelstrom is played as a 2D overview in a section of space. The object of the game is to reach the highest score possible by shooting asteroids with a plasma cannon from a spaceship that the player controls. The ship can move in any direction across the screen and also has a limited amount of shield. The player may also pick up powerups throughout the levels and encounter unusual objects and enemies throughout the game.



Maelstrom was created using THINK C and uses 18,000 lines of C code with 9,000 lines of inline assembler. The game was initially released in November 1992 as unlimited shareware for the Macintosh. Ambrosia Software gave the source-code to Sam Lantinga, who created a SDL port from it and released it in 1995. Latinga's version also included some novelties like networked multiplayer gaming.

Open source release[edit]

In 1999 Ambrosia Software released Latinga's version 3.0 as Open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).[3] In 2010, Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman released the game's contents under the free Creative Commons license Attribution,[4] which makes Maelstrom completely Free and open-source software which can be therefore also included into Linux distributions.


In 1993, Maelstrom was chosen "Best New Macintosh Product" by the "Shareware Industry Award for Best Game"[5], as well as receiving other awards.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ answer from the official FAQ on the release date
  2. ^ "Maelstrom for Macintosh". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 January 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Into the Maelstrom". The Mac Observer. 1999-12-08. Archived from the original on 24 May 2000. Retrieved 2011-04-28.
  4. ^ Mercurial > Maelstrom / changeset on "Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman allow the artwork and animations to be used under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license" (15 April 2010)
  5. ^ 2000-1992 SIA Winner on "1993 Winners - Almanac, Maelstrom, [...]" (archived)

External links[edit]