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When aGTW contacted John Dale about his unreleased game Rotoplex we also took the opportunity to ask about Pipeline. At first glance Pipeline looks to be a clone of the game known as Pipe Mania in Europe and Pipe Dream in the US. However, John explained that it is the prerelease version of Pipe Mania that was sent to Empire.

The gameplay is simple. When the countdown reaches zero, gunk flows from the start pipe (S). To complete a level it must flow through a specified number of pipes. The player's aim is therefore to frantically construct a path for the gunk. Later levels add extra complexity, including uni-directional pipes, obstacles and obligatory end (E) pipes. There are 36 levels in total but no ending. At the last level Pipeline loops.

Comparing Pipeline and Pipe Mania gives us an insight into how, with some intelligent decisions, an early version can be streamlined into the final boxed game. John explains that Pipeline has two parallel pipe queues. Pipe Mania reduces this to just one. John also notes that, unlike Pipeline, Pipe Mania allows the player to continue to lay pipes after the gunk is flowing. Pipeline's limited "bomb" and "reject pipe" options are gone too; the player can instead replace any placed pipe but with a minor time and point penalty. These changes simplify the gameplay and add an definite immediacy.

From its humble Amiga origins as Pipeline, Pipe Mania was converted to many different platforms, including the iPhone/iPod in 2009. It also appeared as a hacking subgame in 2007's BioShock.

Game unreleased
Year: 1988
Disks: 1
Players: 2 max, 2 sim
Licence: Commercial
Languages: English
Developer: Unknown

Genre: Puzzler - Uncategorised
Dimension: 2D
Person: 4th
Scrolltype: Single Screen
Viewpoint: Top Down
Programming:John Dale
Graphics:Martin Day (Spiny Norman)

Pipeline / Pipe Dream / Pipe Mania

Lore Score: None