The Origins of the Scary Maze Game

The third level from the Scary Maze Game.

Jeremy Winterrowd

The third level from the Scary Maze Game.

John Rubino, Staff Writer

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From the mid to late 2000s, there was a trend of jumpscares being discreetly embedded into videos and other forms of media on the internet, designed to frighten unsuspecting viewers. These pieces of media were often used as a prank by people wanting to scare their friends and family members. One of these jumpscares was in the form of an infamous flash game known as the Scary Maze Game.

The Scary Maze Game is a flash-based web browser game created in 2003 by American game developer Jeremy Winterrowd, and the game itself can still be played via his website where he published the game at Winterrowd World (www.winterrowd.com).

The goal of the Scary Maze Game is to navigate your mouse cursor through a multi-level maze without touching the walls, requiring intense concentration and precision.

Once the player reaches the end of the third level in the game, a picture of Regan McNeil’s face (the possessed girl from the 1973 horror movie The Exorcist) suddenly pops up on the screen, accompanied by a loud scream.

This picture of Regan MacNeil appears at the end of the third level of the game.

The Scary Maze Game began to gain steam a few years later in 2006 when a reaction video was uploaded to YouTube on May 20, 2006. This video showcased a young boy playing the Scary Maze Game and being brought to tears upon seeing the screamer pop up on his computer screen at the end of the game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oh87njiWTmw

This video spawned a trend of Scary Maze Game reaction videos on YouTube and other video sharing platforms, where people convince unsuspecting friends or family members into playing the game and recording their reactions to the jumpscare that appears at the end of the game, making for some great comedy.

The Scary Maze Game became so popular that mainstream media began making direct parodies/skits of the game, with the most notable example of this coming from Saturday Night Live in 2010. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0I3Ql3kBMK4

Jeremy Winterrowd, the developer behind the Scary Maze Game.

Despite a lack of public information about the game’s creator Jeremy Winterrowd, he is without a doubt the godfather of internet jumpscares and you more than likely have seen his work at some point before if you have spent a significant amount of time on the internet over the years. Jeremy Winterrowd has forever impacted horror culture across the internet for the greater good!

As mentioned in this article earlier, Jeremy Winterrowd published the game onto his website where the Scary Maze Game can still be accessed to this day. Play the game if you dare! http://www.winterrowd.com/maze/

Happy Halloween!


Sources:
Dictionary.com: https://www.dictionary.com/e/memes/scary-maze-game/
Screamer Wiki: https://wiki.screamerfanbase.com/The_Maze