Arcade Flyer Art Saturday: Lode Runner

Hello, and welcome to Arcade Flyer Art Saturday at its new prime time! You can look forward to seeing it at this same time each week from here on out. This week's offering is the arcade version of Broderbund's PC classic, Lode Runner.

Broderbund came out with the Lode Runner arcade machine in 1984 as a direct response to the popularity of their PC version of the game. This was particularly notable since at the time, most games started as arcade games before eventually being ported to home consoles and computers. The home version of the game was also one of the first to include a level editor.

The gameplay consisted of running your little man through a series of mazes while collecting gold coins (sound familiar?). The mazes were made up of bricks and dirt and could be navigated using various ladders and ropes or by blasting holes through the walls with your blaster. As you can probably guess, your progress is impeded by a retinue of various monsters that change from level to level. Once all gold coins are recovered, an escape ladder lowers allowing the player to climb to victory and the next maze level. But don't lollygag! Each level is timed and if you don't get up that ladder before the timer runs out, it's game over.

While this flyer isn't as hilarious or mind bending as some, it does have some great points. At the time I'm sure those quotes from such hot magazines as Sky were impressive but on looking at the graphics of the game it's hard not to snicker a little. "The game of the year. Further proof that gamers' tastes are growing more sophisticated as the hobby matures." Sounds like something you could read in any game magazine or blog today. "Light years away from the simplistic arcade games of two years ago." Apparently "light years" referred to the inclusion of "shadows" underneath each level giving it that awesome 3D appearance.

I am also always amazed by the translation of a 2D 8-bit game into the "real life" drawings. So that's what that squishy little green block with a white head would look like if it was a real person! Amazing!

Flyer courtesy TAFA


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