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 2D arcade video game developed by Ambrosia Software, released in November 1992 for Macintosh.[1] Being a clone of Asteroids the game features an improved interface and graphics.[2][3] The game was later released under GPL and Creative Commons license as Free Software. Ports for many operating systems, such as Linux, Mac OS X 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 or "waves" and encounter unusual objects and enemies throughout the game.


Maelstrom was created by Andrew Welch, president of Ambrosia Software, and led to the formation of that company. It 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. 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] and other awards.[5]

Ambrosia Software gave the source-code away 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. In 1999 Ambrosia Software released Latinga's version 3.0 as Open-source software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL).[5] In 2010, Andrew Welch and Ian Gilman released the game's contents under the free Creative Commons license Attribution,[6] which makes Maelstrom completely Free Software.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ answer from the official FAQ on the release date
  2. ^ "Maelstrom Release Information". Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  3. ^ "Maelstrom for Macintosh". Gamespot. Retrieved 22 January 2010. 
  4. ^ 2000-1992 SIA Winner on "1993 Winners - Almanac, Maelstrom, [...]"
  5. ^ a b "Into the Maelstrom". The Mac Observer. 1999-12-08. Archived from the original on 24 May 2000. Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  6. ^ 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)