For most people, though, the lure of the Wooz has more to do with its immediate thrill rather than any hope of future reward.
"It makes you go in circles," said Sharice Perkins, 19, of Richmond, after what seemed to her to be hours of shuffling up corridors leading to other corridors. "My legs hurt."
Said James Lee, also 19, of Lodi: "My equilibrium is pretty messed up. I feel like a drunken mouse searching for the cheese at the other end."
Operators say the only accidents they have involve people running into each other at blind corners. To lessen the dangers of panic, they have installed clearly marked exits for emergencies; they also put in a rest area with a soft drink dispenser at the maze's center.
Still, not everyone is impressed with the Wooz.
"It isn't that great," said Brian Vian, 17, of Fairfield after only 30 minutes in the puzzle. "I thought it would be a lot more interesting. My only problem is that I saw a good-looking girl and started following her, and then she got lost."
Gabriel Quijas, 14, of Sacramento, emerged from the exit after more than 40 minutes, only to declare in a loud voice that he never wanted to repeat the experience.
"It's kind of boring," he said. "You have to cheat to really get through it. All things considered, I'd rather have gone to a movie."