In the Land of the Lost and Found, a New Amusement Park Gives Those with Wanderlust the Runaround
updated 08/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/22/1988 AT 01:00 AM EDT
Mazes, of course, have been around at least since Theseus took a turn—make that turns—through the Cretan labyrinth to kill the monster Minotaur. But WOOZ (which, for reasons apparently clear to the Japanese, stands for "Wild and Original Object with Zoom") may be the first designed by computer. Completely new patterns can be hatched in two or three days and the panels repositioned in a matter of hours. To promote return visits to the labyrinth, which attracted some 1,600 patrons daily at $4.50 to $7 a pop during its first weeks, the maze will be modified monthly and perhaps made even trickier. "It's not so difficult right now," insists Tetsushi Hirakawa, the maze's designer. "We want to learn how you Americans think. Then we'll make the course more challenging."
They may have already made it tough enough. Construction cost on the park, which includes a restaurant, was originally set at $10 million, but the final tab was more than $13 million. One reason for the overruns? Workers kept getting lost in the maze, and their overtime went up and up as they went around and around.