The Game: Cavernous rooms are loaded with gold, just ripe for the picking. But before you celebrate hitting the mother lode, look again – there are other gold-diggers homing in on the treasure. What do you have that they don’t? A drill gun that can blast a hole in the floors, into which your opponents will jump blindly. Eventually, the holes will reseal themselves, and that process will swallow your enemies (and you, if you happen to be clumsy enough to wander into the hole yourself). Grabbing all of the gold will reveal a passage to the next level of the game. (IREM [under license from Broderbund], 1984)
Memories: Lode Runner is right up there with the Ultima series and SimCity in my personal hall of fame of the coolest games ever to originate on any model of personal computer.
Doug Smith’s simple concept kept me glued to my Apple II for hours when I was all of eleven years old. This is a faithful and simple adaptation of the game in a coin-op form, minus all the bells and whistles that later licensees would tack onto it in later years (not even gonna mention Lode Runner 64 3-D). The game play was not screwed with, and this machine was proof – along with its contemporary, Sega’s arcade version of the Atari 2600 classic Pitfall II – that sometimes the best ideas originate in the home video game market and can be carried over to the arcade, instead of vice-versa.