Maelstrom (1992 video game)

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Developer(s)Ambrosia Software
Publisher(s)Ambrosia Software
Programmer(s)Andrew Welch
Platform(s)Mac OS, Linux
Genre(s)Multidirectional shooter

Maelstrom is a multidirectional shooter developed by Andrew Welch and released as shareware in November 1992 for Mac OS.[1] The game is an enhanced clone of Atari, Inc.'s 1979 Asteroids arcade video 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, and the game attracted attention despite the dated concept. The response led Welch to start Ambrosia Software.

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


Gameplay screenshot

Maelstrom is played in a 2D in a section of space. The goal is to shoot drifting asteroids with a plasma cannon from a spaceship and avoid being hit by the rocks and other enemies. The ships is moved by changing its rotation and pressing a key to apply forward thrust. It has limited amount of shield. The player may also pick up power-ups.


Maelstrom was created using THINK C and uses 18,000 lines of C code with 9,000 lines of inline assembly language.[citation needed]


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 an SVGAlib and later SDL port for Linux 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". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-05-15.
  2. ^ "Maelstrom for Macintosh". GameSpot. Retrieved 22 January 2010.[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.
  5. ^ Mercurial > Maelstrom / changeset Archived 2011-07-16 at the Wayback Machine 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)

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