Codex Gamicus

Maxwell's Maniac is a computer game originally part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack series. Loosely based on the concept of the Maxwell's demon thought experiment, the object of the game is to separate the red and blue molecules into their respective color-coded chambers using a sliding door. It is superficially similar to JezzBall in layout.

Maxwell's Maniac was programmed by Dima Pavlovsky, developed by Marjacq Micro, and introduced in 1992 as part of the Microsoft Entertainment Pack for Windows.


The game progresses by stages; the player begins with four lives. Once the molecules are separated by color, the stage is over and a new stage begins. There is a time limit, divided into two phases: good time and bad time. While the game is in good time, there is no risk of losing a life. However, in bad time, grey balls begin to appear in the chamber; if they pass through the door, the player loses a life. Normal games progress through infinite stages; however, the more difficult Intense Game is limited to eighteen.

There are three modes of gameplay: Move, Swap, and Paint. In Move, the object is simply to move the red molecules into the red side. Swap adds blue molecules. In Paint, molecules become gray when they are on the correct side and return to their original color if they move back to the wrong side. In any game, a prize ball may be added; this is effectively a gray ball and works like any other.

In the later levels, lead bricks become available; these are useful to trap molecules or immobilize them entirely. If immobilized, a molecule will eventually vanish.

Scoring is based on how quickly the level was completed. If the level was completed in good time, bonus points are awarded; however, if it was completed in bad time, only 100 points are awarded. In addition, there is a 50 point bonus for a grey ball passing through the door in good time. For every 20,000 points earned, a new life is earned.