Codex Gamicus

Mouse Trap is an arcade game released in 1981. It was ported to the Atari 2600, the ColecoVision, and the Intellivision.


You are a mouse in a maze who must avoid cats and hawks while searching for cheese, bones and bonus items. Eating bones will allow you to become a cat-eating dog. Pressing color buttons will change the maze.

Collect all the pieces of cheese to clear the maze. There is a teleporter in the middle of the maze that allows you to escape a tight situation, but you will be teleported to a random corner where things could be either better or worse. Eating a doggy bone will allow you to use the dog button, which, in turn, allows you to eat cats. However, both the dog and the mouse are vulnerable to the hawk that flies over periodically. Alter the maze in order to avoid and block off cats. Pressing a certain color button will move the respective doors on the screen.

Occasionally, prizes including big blocks of cheese, paper clips, safety pins, skeleton keys, candlesticks, apples, etc. will appear in the maze and they can be eaten for bonus points. Going into the "IN" doorway in the middle of the maze makes the hawk become stupid.


The arcade version had a four-way joystick for controlling the mouse's movements, three buttons that are color-coded to activate the doors of the maze, and a fourth button for changing the mouse into a dog. While the ColecoVision and Intellivision versions have managed to keep this type of control scheme due to their controllers having keypads, the Atari 2600 version has a simplified control scheme where pressing the button briefly turns the mouse into a dog while holding it down activates the doors (all the doors in that version are the same color).


The Atari 2600 version has an additional game option that turns the maze and all its objects invisible.

The Intellivision version of this game is not usable on the Intellivision II.

A similar game to this, Mouse Maze, appears as one of the featured mini-games on Fun N Games for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis.

A song called "Mousetrap" by Buckner & Garcia, which is on the Pac-Man Fever album, is based on this game. The original 1982 recording of the song contained samples from the Mouse Trap arcade game. No working machine of the game could be found in time for the 1999 re-recording, so recordings of actual cat, dog, and pigeon noises were used in place of the game samples.