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, Mobile phones
Release date(s) 1992
Genre(s) Multi-directional shooter
Mode(s) single player
Maelstrom Screenshot

Maelstrom is a 1992[1] clone of Asteroids with an improved interface and better graphics.[2][3]

It was created using THINK C and uses 18,000 lines of C code with 9,000 lines of inline assembler.

Sam Lantinga created a GPL port that runs on many operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.


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 or "waves" and encounter unusual objects and enemies throughout the game.


Maelstrom was initially released in November 1992 as unlimited shareware. It was created by Andrew Welch, president of Ambrosia Software, and led to the formation of that company. At the time of its release, Maelstrom took full advantage of the Macintosh's multi-media capabilities and broke ground for further developments of the platform in the “anti-productivity software” arena. In 1993, Maelstrom received the Shareware Industry Award for Best Game.[4] More recently, Ambrosia Software gave the source-code away to Sam Lantinga, who created a SDL port from it and released it in 1995 as Free Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). Sam's version also included some novelties like networked multiplayer gaming. In 2010, Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman released the game's contents under the free Creative Commons license Attribution,[5] which makes Maelstrom a completely free game.

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