This seminal early 1980s game started out as an Apple II prototype called ‘Miner’. Lode Runner is a single screen 2D platform game developed by Douglas Smith. This original concept was rejected by Brøderbund Software, which forced Smith to acquire extra equipment to make an enhanced version. This resulted in what was to become Lode Runner in its final form. Available on many platforms including the Apple II, Commodore 64, Sinclair Spectrum and the MSX.
The most innovative feature of Lode Runner is the ability for the user to create their own levels. The game features a level editor tool similar to that used by the Smith, which can be used to add to the original 150 levels available with the game.
The object is to collect all the gold in a level then get to the exit at the top of the level. The challenge lies in the level design and various enemies spread throughout. The only way to combat the enemy is to dig holes in the ground for them to fall into and get temporarily trapped, there was no jumping. The levels contain only brick ‘ground’, ladders and overhead bars.
Even though it is a 2D platform game it is as many parts puzzle game. The level and enemies are designed to test a player mentally and physically, with problem solving and quick reactions needed to clear the more dastardly levels.