Picture this: it’s 4:30pm. You’ve raced home from Primary School. Sure, you might’ve missed out on ‘Trap Door‘ and ‘Postman Pat‘ because you stopped off at the local Milk Bar to pick up a 50c bag of mixed lollies. But that’s ok. You can skip those. The main event is still on the way.
We’re not talking about ‘Daria‘. We’re not talking about ‘Funnybones.’ Hell, we’re not even talking about the reruns of ‘M*A*S*H*‘ they used to inexplicably put on at peak-kid TV time.
We’re talking about the greatest kid’s TV show Australia has ever produced. A humble, simple little game show pitting wit against wit, might against might, and athletic prowess against athletic prowess. A game where knowing the QWERTY keyboard was paramount, and possessing the ability to hit the ghastly shortcut in Rainbow Road put you eons ahead of the pack.
We’re talking, of course, about the one and only ‘A*Mazing.’ A humble show hosted by the oft-imitated/never-duplicated James Sherry, that saw unsuspecting school children fanging around a treacherous maze in search of letters and keys, with naught but glory and Game Boys to gain.
The maze, which served as the centrepiece of the show, featured many twists and turns and obstacles that often changed throughout the show’s 4-year run. But what were the good ones? What were the most despicable? And which were the absolute duds?
We present to you this absolute, complete and total, definitive ranking of all the obstacles featured in the ‘A*Mazing‘ maze. Our judgment is legally binding and final, and must not be debated whatsoever at length in the comments below.
22. RAT CHEESE
Such a shit rat. Incredibly bad. A criminal rodent. Always passed over quickly by anyone entering the left side of the maze. Dumb song, worse puppet. Truly awful.
21. TOY SHOP
Extremely spooky and largely pointless, the Toy Shop was only featured in early seasons before it was binned unceremoniously. Disgusting Toy Shoppe.
20. BAD SLIDE
Does it even count as a slide if the children had to forcefully push themselves down it by scooching their butts like a dog with worms? Here’s a hint: It absolutely does not.
Three rotund self-important shitheads spinning a riddle and thinking anyone gives a crap. No one does. Open up your guts and give me the key, you chilly bitch.
18. CRAB SHACK
An obstacle so shittily put together that they had to hang a net in front of the camera to conceal how truly bland it was. The carp of maze obstacles.
17. DUNNY DOOR
It didn’t even try to hide a letter or a key; it literally hung them in direct eye-sight. Extremely pathetic effort.
16. POTS & CRATE
Legend has it the only thing contained in that crate was the moth-eaten ham bag they stored Agro in overnight.
15. ICE CHUTE
Better than the Bad Slide™ purely by virtue of it being a thing you could actually slide down.
14. PET SHOP
The bird puppet sucks, but this is a fine example of a maze obstacle; plenty of hiding places and a time thief if you weren’t careful. Loses significant points, however, for choosing to hide letters in the very obvious cages and also for the bird puppet which, we repeat, sucks tremendously.
13. SPINNY TUNNEL
A welcome addition in later seasons. Did not possess spaces to hide keys or letters, but significantly increased the chances of a child vomiting on TV.
12. SCIENCE LAB
DO NOT RUN THROUGH THE LAB THERE IS *SCIENCE* GOING ON IN IT.
11. SPOOKY POLE
Spookyness: 10/10. Key Hiding Ability: 0/10.
10. FOAM PIT
Neither incredibly good, nor incredibly bad. A middle of the road obstacle only necessary to prevent a human childe from becoming a missile.
9. MOVING PLANKS
A workhorse obstacle that pulled double-duty on both this show and ‘Time Masters.’ A true dual-sport champion. The Bo Jackson of maze obstacles.
Searching for the Bonus Key while simultaneously learning about proper recycling habits? That’s a win in anyone’s book.
7. DONKEY KONGS
Misses out on the Top 5 purely because they were mystifyingly referred to as the “Three Wise Monkeys,” despite the show being literally sponsored by Nintendo. They even played *all three* ‘Donkey Kong Country‘ games on the freakin’ thing. Otherwise, good.
6. TREASURE CHESTS
Now we’re talking. A sturdy, reliable obstacle with multiple hiding spots and a well-executed theme. It only loses minor points for creativity for the boxes being a little bit too obvious. But a good box is a good box.
A devilish obstacle that gleefully rinsed all children and their known and proven inability to cope with hooks. Hide the dang key up there in plain sight for all to see, utterly safe in the knowledge that the feeble youths and their inferior motor skills are powerless to combat it. Magnifique.
Somehow spent the entire run of the show without being spotted once by a maze runner. The absolute master of disguise.
3. MIRROR DOOR
Is to the left side of the maze as the car is to the right. An iconic portion of the left hand run, and a claustrophobic nightmare at worst of the times. At least one child is still stuck in there, probably.
A true icon and the centrepiece of the maze. Whose car was it? How did it end up nose-stalled in a children’s game show maze? Where did it get its peak-90s paint job from? Why did someone remove the windows yet leave the just-as-valuable roof racks when gutting it? Why did the front seat fold forward like a 2-door sedan despite obviously being a 4-door vehicle? All questions that will never be answered. Rightfully so.
The obstacle among obstacles. The great obfuscator of the ‘A*Mazing‘ maze. Keeper of more Secret Keys than a Buckingham Palace locksmith. Saved Seven from giving away so many Game Boys that it by-all-rights should be considered a budget measure.
The dreaded “behind the cactus” hiding spot was the final resting place of the much sought-after Game Boy key time and time again; and yet despite being on the air for four years, not one child who went on the show managed to knowingly clock it. A true hero, and by-far the best and most difficult obstacle the ‘A*Mazing’ maze ever produced.
Cactus, über alles.