January 7, 2022 8.00 pm

Lincolnshire Crystal Maze fan’s winning game added to London Live Experience

After hundreds of entries, Ian was announced as the winner!

A Lincolnshire man said it exceeded his expectations when he saw and played his winning game in person at The Crystal Maze LIVE Experience in London.

Ian Hansford, who lives in Kirton in Lindsey, has always loved Crystal Maze and believes the iconic 90s television show, which is still going today with a new presenter, is a “national treasure”.

The 34-year-old entered a competition to design a brand new game for the popular attraction in London and, after reviewing hundreds of entries, the team were blown away by Ian’s game and chose him as the winner.

Ian’s winning game, which is called Keys of Centotl, was then built in real life and will be played by thousands of Crystal Maze fans when it is launched to the public from Saturday, January 8. It is located within the Aztec Zone, which is Ian’s favourite from the iconic game.

Keys of Centotl sees players insert a key into pillars and manoeuvre them until the crystal can slide through. The name of the game came from Ian’s research and “a bit of world play” after he found out that there was an Aztec God of Maise called Centotl.

Lincolnshire’s Ian designed the pictured Crystal Maze game called Keys of Centotl. | Photo: Jonathan Hordle

Ian has played the live experience in Manchester five times before, but his trip to London on Friday, January 7 to try his game in person was his first time at the location in the capital.

He said it “definitely won’t be my last” to the London attraction, where he played his game and watched other people have a go, as well as having a back stage tour and seeing some other maze puzzles in action.

Ian, who is an administration assistant at Lincoln College, spoke to The Lincolnite about the inspiration for his game and what it was like seeing it in the flesh at the Crystal Maze attraction.

He said: “It was a close run thing between me and the person who finished second. When I won I thought ‘oh my goodness I’ve actually won it’. It’s exceeded my expectations. They’ve (Crystal Maze LIVE Experience team) put so much detail into it and I take my hats off to them, it’s incredible.

“I got the idea from the original television show in the 90s. There was one particular game where contestants had to take a giant Yale key and change indentations around and cause the pillars to move up and down. When they lined up the crystal slid off the wall.

“Seeing this as a child, it was the first instance of a puzzle that was simple on the surface but was more complex to do, which are the best kind of puzzles in my opinion.

“There was a particular episode where a contestant left a section (of the key) at the end and the game was abandoned. It was the first instance I saw someone ‘break a game’ and wanted to amend it so it doesn’t happen in the live experience. I broke one giant key down into several smaller ones and it seems to have worked out nicely.”

The Maze team trying out Ian’s game at the London attraction. | Photo: Jonathan Hordle

Ian loved Crystal Maze growing up and describes it as a “national treasure” and he has fond memories of watching the show.

He said: “It was by far my go to programme after school. Myself and my friends played our own versions of the game in the playground.

“There was so much variety in the show for different people and it stood out. Richard O’Brien (the original presenter) made the show what it is. He had a natural craziness that drew you in.

“They got the absolute right fit with the host first time, so he was a hard act to follow for those who have all done a good job since.

“I think Crystal Maze is national treasure. You look at game and quiz shows in years gone by and Crystal Maze always had that cult following, and the fact that the live experiences are still going strong shows there is an appetite for people to take a trip down memory lane.”

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