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)Multidirectional shooter
Gameplay screenshot

Maelstrom is a video game developed by Andrew Welch, released as shareware in November 1992 for Mac OS.[1] The game is an enhanced clone of Atari, Inc.'s 1979 Asteroids arcade game with a visual style similar to the Atari Games 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 much interest, despite the dated concept, and led to the creation of Ambrosia Software.

The game was later released as free and open-source software, resulting in ports for other platforms.


Maelstrom is played in 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. The ship can move in any direction across the screen and also has a limited amount of shield. The player may also pick up power-ups 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 assembly language.


In 1993, Maelstrom won "Best New Macintosh Product" in the "Shareware Industry Awards for Best Game,"[3] as well as receiving other awards.[4]


Welch gave the source code to Sam Lantinga, who created a SDL port and released it in 1995. It included networked multiplayer.

In 1999 Ambrosia Software released Latinga's version 3.0 as open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).[4] In 2010, Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman released the game's contents under the free Creative Commons license Attribution,[5] which makes Maelstrom completely free and open-source software.


  1. ^ answer from the official FAQ on the release date
  2. ^ "Maelstrom for Macintosh". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 January 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ 2000-1992 SIA Winner on "1993 Winners - Almanac, Maelstrom, [...]" (archived)
  4. ^ a b "Into the Maelstrom". The Mac Observer. 1999-12-08. Archived from the original on 24 May 2000. Retrieved 2011-04-28. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ 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)

External links[edit]