From The Game-Maker Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search

Release type: Demo game
Release date: 1991
Levels: 1
Author: Joan Stone
Related games: Terrain, Houses, Pipemare, Nebula, Penguin Pete

The game is well-named. It is basically a final lesson in combining all of the elements learned in the tutorials into a functional game. And indeed, Sample is a simple game; it all takes place on a single map, and its elements sit together rather awkwardly — and yet it’s fascinating and evocative, and its influence on end-user games approaches infinite.

Sample is a basic action-adventure exploration game, using a two-block-tall character. Level interaction can be strange, due to a disjointed sense of perspective and a lack of foreground objects. So when you walk into, say, the top of a tree or the top of your house, you bang your shins on it instead of just walking behind the object, partially obscured from the camera.


And yet the sense of space, and the use of space, are both charming and clever. Within that one map you will find several mazes, swamps, forests, traps, gardens, and a sort of a village. For such a small area, there seems no end of surprises to find or new areas to lurk around in. And as the game takes place all on one map, there’s never any loading. It’s all one seamless adventure — one that may take a while to complete.

Exploring the garden in Sample

It is significant that the background tiles pop up again, in some form, in nearly every Game-Maker game made. Furthermore, find a game with a two-block-tall male character and chances are you'll find a sprite edit of our protagonist here.

In turn, many of the background elements in Sample (indeed also in Terrain and Houses) are borrowed from Andy Stone's Labyrinth, the Ur game that led to the development of Game-Maker. Those tiles include the maze walls and some of the grass and mud elements.

Previous Current Next
(Overview) Sample Terrain
Sample series


There is no need to study or sweat through school if you can only pick up the book of knowledge. But finding it is a bit of a problem. There is only one way through the maze, and a variety of monsters are moving about.


Visiting the neighbors in Sample

The SAMPLE game shows many of Game-Maker's features. A two block high character walks in four directions, shoots, drops bombs, picks up items, gets hurt, and dies.

Arrow keys move the character, as does a joystick. On the numeric keyboard, keys 2, 4, 6, and 8 act as arrow keys.

In order to shoot the laser, you need to first pick it up. In order to shoot the revolver, you need to pick it and its ammo up. You start with five bombs, and can pick up others.

The space bar shoots four laser monsters away from the character. The 'b' key sets down bombs which explode. Key 5 shoots bullets. On the numeric keypad, the 1, 3, 7, and 9 keys shoot single lasers various ways.

The character starts with 250 hit points and 3 lives. The objective is to pick up the Book of Wisdom. To do this, you must eat enough hamburgers to get strength, find two keys, and fight through the maze -- and you are going to need a sword.

Monsters subtract hit points, food adds hit points. Most monsters can be killed, but some are too strong to be killed by a laser.


The wide world of Sample

Designed by Recreational Software Designs.

Graphics, monsters, and concept by Joan Stone.

Further map design by G. Oliver Stone.

Additional features by G. Andrew Stone.


G. Andrew Stone:

Sample:  A mismash.  I think that the blocks and the start house were my mom's [Joan] (notice the garden, she is a big gardener).  It was her first game. My dad [Oliver] came up with idea to repurpose it into a sample and added a lot to the map.  And I'd go in there at times to add the new features I'd written.


  • Several of the monsters are shared amongst all of RSD's games.
  • The background blocks, character, and character blocks also appear in Terrain and Houses.


Distributed with all versions of Game-Maker.

In addition, full versions of Game-Maker and its gameware were illegally distributed on several shovelware CD-ROMs in the early-mid 1990s, such as Softkey Entertainment Pack (July 1996)

Archive history

Sample was introduced to the archive with the purchase of Game-Maker 1.02 in September 1992.


Interviews / Articles


Misc. Links