Mazes vs. Labyrinths. What’s the Difference? | Intrism

Mazes vs. Labyrinths. What’s the Difference?

How are mazes and labyrinths different?

Remember those mirror houses from your childhood you anxiously walked into one step at a time with no idea if you would walk straight into a mirror or be one step closer to the exit? Or those corn paths at the local farm during Halloween that had seemingly no end in sight. And we can’t forget the classic 2D marble games with two knobs used to maneuver a marble carefully along a path. So what are these called? Mazes or labyrinths?

What's a maze?

Mazes and labyrinths are both puzzles but with different characteristics. In a maze, the goal is to find your way through an intricate branching pathway that may have multiple entries and exit points. The branching pathways add a high degree of difficulty to navigate with countless dead-ends along the way. Corn mazes would fall into this category.

What's a labyrinth?

On the other hand, labyrinths generally offer one path, making it simpler to complete. Though there may be bends and turns, the path does not branch off into dead ends. Our 2D marble game example would fall into this category, where the real challenge is crossing the obstacles in the way rather than identifying the correct path.

Both mazes and labyrinths have been celebrated for hundreds of years, from commissioned landscaping such as the Hampton Court Palace in England to the main plots in celebrated Hollywood films like Steven Speilberg’s The Maze Runner and Harry Potter’s third task in the Triwizard tournament in the goblet of fire. 

The ultimate showdown. We love a good debate.

Within our team, we’ve been going back and forth on whether Intrism puzzles are labyrinths or mazes. The complex 3D structure of Intrism Pro and Mini create a real challenge to identify and navigate the correct pathway, which puts them in maze territory. However, since they both do just have one correct pathway with many obstacles along the way, they could be considered labyrinths. What do you think? Can a puzzle be both a labyrinth and a maze? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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