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Conversation with Mike Evans, puzzle enthusiast and maze tester

Online interview made on March 28, 2024, with Rachel Kelly, digital media at thepuzzleworkshop.uk


In today's blog, we have a guest who has generously agreed to respond to questions about the mazes and Mike's experience with them since he first discovered them. He has played an important role and continues to love solving and being a part of the wonderful community.

 

R: hello, Mike. I felt it would be a great opportunity to speak with you about your experience and story with the mazes, as well as your significant role in testing the mazes and being a loyal customer over time.

 

1. Firstly, could you tell me how and when you discovered the mazes?


M: Way back in 2015 I picked up the first puzzle in a series I'd wanted to try for many years, after a few weeks I had it opened, and was quite disappointed in the solve. Once it was opened I looked into getting the next in the series, through a series of reviews and forum posts I found that the designer for the second puzzle, Chris Pitt, had left the company and started his own. From there I found Revomaze and after reading a few reviews, decided to give it a try.


I read the reviews and posts that stated that although Bronze is a community favourite, Blue is the recommended starting point. After deciding I was smart enough, I ordered a Bronze.

That Bronze arrived of 7/11/15 and immediately humbled me as I got a couple of minutes into exploring, then fell into the fabled pool with no apparent way out. From there, I was hooked and remain hooked to this day.


2. What do you find appealing about mazes? 


M: The main appealing feature to me is that they appear completely unassuming, they look so simple, but they're not simple in any way, shape or form. Each maze is an adventure, different to the last, and the only way to find out what lies ahead is to explore. You don't know if you're going to be advancing in hours, days, weeks, months or years and that's an exciting prospect to me, I just don't know what's going on in that little cylinder of metal and I have to find out.

 

3. What sparked your interest in puzzles and when?


M: I don't remember when I first became interested in puzzles, I think I've always liked them. I've always been curious with a need to figure things out I guess.

 

4. Would you recommend them to a non-puzzler?


M: Absolutely, if I'm out I tend to take a Revomaze with me and work on it anywhere. People are always curious about them, but I've found that most people don't want to put them down once they've started exploring.


Very few people seem to be uninterested in the puzzles, but by my count there's far more interest than there is disinterest. When Daisy was in hospital for a couple of weeks, I had to get my maze back from the nurses station a couple of times or have to explain what it was and give a demonstration to other kids or parents on the ward.

 

5. What advice would you give someone who is new to the series? 


M: Explore slowly, take plenty of breaks and when, and I do mean WHEN, you get stuck, put the maze down for a little bit and have a think. You'd be surprised at how often an idea that may help with the solve will pop into your head.


If you're a lefty like me, consider holding the maze with the logo upside down to yourself with the maze coming out of the left side of the sleeve. Otherwise, if you map like me, holding it the logo reading the correct way in your left hand, and pulling/twisting the core out your right, you'll have to keep putting the maze down or swapping hands to write/draw your map.

 

6. Have the puzzles had an impact on you, and in what way?


M: The biggest impact the puzzles have had on me is that they're now my “go to” way to relax. Solving is mostly relaxing, occasionally frustrating, but even mazes that I've solved just become something to fidget with mindlessly if I need to keep busy.

 

7. What have you learned from the mazes?


M: Patience, I thought I had the patience of a saint, but boy was I wrong. I've been working on Grey on and off since it released in 2020. I've put more time into that than I ever have with anything else and it's still not open.


So definitely patience, I never imagined I'd be able to work on a puzzle for years, but here I am, still going, still unsolved.

 

8.  What have you learned from solving a range of mazes, from introductory to advanced?


M: They're hard, even the introductory mazes. Back when I started, Blue was the easiest maze available and it still took many hours to open. And looking back now after solving some harder mazes, Blue is simple. But it didn't feel that way all those years ago.

Then moving onto advanced mazes, they have moving pieces! These simple looking, unassuming chunks of metal have moving pieces to mess with you in any way possible. Going off the forums, I own 5 advanced mazes, and I've solved 2.

 

They seem impossible to open, but there's always a solution, and once you look at it after solving, it seems so simple, so intuitive (at least on the ones I've done so far). But when that core is in the sleeve, it definitely feels like something in there is conspiring against you.


9. What do you hope HQ continues to produce or release in the future?


M: The R1 mazes, I love the size and the weight of them. But of the R1s, specifically Lime, Handmade and Ruby. Everyone seems to speak so highly of them and I don't have them yet.

So if you could at least produce them until I have them, that would be great. :)


Also the lites, I haven't got my hands on one yet, but I've wanted a lighter, easier maze for a long time. My kids have loved Revomazes for a long time but they're currently a bit big and heavy for them. I think the lites will be a fantastic gateway into the hobby, and it's definitely not a bad hobby to have.

 

10. To summarise, what sentence would you use to describe the puzzles?


M: Revomazes are a big adventure in a small package.

 


 Mike's collection from 2023. Not included are the VAULTMAZE sleeve and STARTER PACK.


Thank you to Mike for participating in the interview and taking the time to answer our questions; we hope you enjoyed it and learned more Revo facts. If you would like to take part in a future blog, please leave a comment below or contact us; it would be great to hear from you 😀

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