Another Sunday means another episode of 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die, the (hopefully) weekly series where I play through all of the games listed in the book - 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die. If I played the game before, then I will share my memory of the experience. If I haven't played the game before, then I find an online version or an emulator and I play the game (for at least 30 minutes). This is a book every gamer should have in their library, and if you're interested in purchasing it, you can find it here.

Last week I played a rather obscure game called Juno First. It was somewhat similar to Defender I suppose, but not near as good. I had never heard or played it so I found a place to play it online. I was curious whether this week would be something I played before or not since the past few weeks were unknowns. Without further delay, I am opening up the book and checking out what's in store for me this week. Ah, it's none other than...

Lode Runner

Lode Runner is a puzzle video game, first published by Brøderbund in 1983. It is one of the first games to include a level editor, a feature that allows players to create their own levels for the game. This feature bolstered the game's popularity, as magazines such as Computer Gaming World held contests to see who could build the best level.

The player controls a stick figure who must collect all the gold in a level while avoiding guards who try to catch the player. After collecting all the gold, the player must travel to the top of the screen to reach the next level. There are 150 levels in the game which progressively challenge players' problem-solving abilities or reaction times.

Levels feature a multi-story, brick platform motif, with ladders and suspended hand-to-hand bars that offer multiple ways to travel throughout. The player can dig holes into floors to temporarily trap guards and may safely walk atop trapped guards. Should a guard be carrying a bar of gold when he falls into a hole it will be left behind, and can be retrieved by the player. Over time, floors dug into will regenerate, filling in these holes. A trapped guard who cannot escape a hole before it fills is consumed, immediately respawning in a random location at the top of the level. Unlike guards, the player's character may not climb up out of a hole, and will be killed if it fills before he can escape by other means. Floors may also contain trapdoors, through which the player and guards will fall, and bedrock, through which the player cannot dig. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)

Yay! Finally a game I've played before. I have most definitely played Lode Runner. It was available on a number of different platforms, but I remember playing it on the Commodore 64...way back when. There have been a few sequels and releases made available on other platforms, but the old C64 is what I have the most memories of.

Lode Runner was a great game...a ton of fun. While I remember playing the game, I don't (or didn't) remember it featured 150 levels. I also don't remember it being one of the first games to feature a level editor. A comprehensive level editor for a game released in 1983 is an impressive accomplishment, no doubt.

I do remember collecting gold, being able to dig holes into the level that guards would fall into...and the bars you could use to navigate across gaps or drop in from above. The maps always had a look and feel of a Donkey Kong and Mario mash-up. Or I always thought so.

Overall, the gameplay is pretty consistent and doesn't change as you advance through the levels. The levels do get more challenging but playing them pretty much uses the same strategies. Collect gold and avoid the guards.

The game received positive reception from most gamers who have played it (including me).

GameSpot named Lode Runner as one of the "Greatest Games of All Time".

Time rated Lode Runner #1 game in "The 10 Greatest Games for the Apple II" list.

Tetris designer Alexey Pajitnov claimed it to be his favorite puzzle game for many years.

Something I didn't know but made me smile when I read it. This game was created by a studio called Brøderbund, which unfortunately no longer exists. They made a couple of games I really liked including one called Raid on Bungeling Bay. Well, Brøderbund referred to Lode Runner's guards as members of the Bungeling Empire, so I guess there is a cross connection between the two games. Two games I really liked. Neat.

If you never played the game but want to, apparently you can find it in the Xbox Live Arcade and even an iOS version. Of course I don't think any of them can compete with the original. Sure, the graphics may look better...but for its time, this was a great game and it would be a challenge to recreate that magic.

Lode Runner is a great game and deserves to be included in the 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die list. I've played it many times before and loved it. I guess we'll see what next week holds.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend.


Previous Episodes:

Episode 1: 01 - 05 (here)

Episode 2: 06 - 10 (here)

Episode 3: 11 - 15 (here)

Episode 4: 16 - 20 (here)

Episode 5: 21 - 25 (here)

Episode 6: 26 - 30 (here)

Episode 7: 31 - 35 (here)

Episode 8: 36 - 40 (here)

Episode 41 (here)

Episode 42 (here)

Episode 43 (here)

Episode 44 (here)

Episode 45 (here)

Episode 46 (here)

Episode 47 (here)

Episode 48 (here)

Episode 49 (here)

Episode 50 (here)

Episode 51 (here)

Episode 52 (here)

Episode 53 (here)

Episode 54 (here)

Episode 55 (here)

Episode 56 (here)

Episode 57 (here)

Episode 58 (here)

Episode 59 (here)

Episode 60 (here)