• magisterrex Retro Games


    I've been gaming since the days of Pong and still own a working Atari 2600. I tend to ramble on about retro games, whether they be board games, video games or PC games. Sometimes I digress. Decades after earning it, I'm finally putting the skills I learned while completing my history degree from the University of Victoria to good use. Or so I think. If you're into classic old school gaming, this blog is for you!

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Retro Game of the Week – Lode Runner (1983)

Way back in time, when I was gaming the night away on my Apple II clone (a Circle II), all things Zork ruled my gaming existence.  But when I needed a respite from adventuring in the Great Underground Empire, Lode Runner was the game that took its place.

Lode Runner for VIC-20

Lode Runner was an arcade hit published by Broderbund Software in 1983.  The game’s backstory was that a vast fortune in gold bullion was heisted by the Bungeling Empire, and it’s your job to recover it.  Some of the gold sat around waiting for you to pick it up, and some was carried by various agents of the Empire -  which required a slightly more creative approach.  Essentially the only way to get their gold was to bury them alive, and wait for the gold to pop out once they were crushed to death.  Your Lode Runner was able to blast the dirt to either side of him (and more than one square, if needed), which would eventually automatically refill.  The trick was to make certain that an Agent would fall into it, and be unable to get out in time before the hole refilled.  Blast too soon and the hole would refill long before the Agent arrived; blast too late and the Agent would either climb out of the hole and expunge your Lode Runner from virtual existence or the hole would not open at all.  Timing your blasts, and knowing when to kill your Agents off, was the point of the game.

Lode Runner for Apple II screen

Yes, it was simple. What 1980’s game wasn’t?  But it was fun.  And clearly many, many gamers thought so, too, as Lode Runner was released on multiple platforms, including: Apple II (1983), Atari 400/800/XL/XE (1983), Commodore 64 (1983), MSX (1983), PC Booter (1983), VIC-20 (1983), Macintosh (1984), Nintendo Famicom (1984), ZX Spectrum (1984), PC-88 (1986), Nintendo Entertainment System (1987), Amstrad CPC (1989), and the Atari ST (1989)…among others!  That’s a lot of systems, a large audience, and a reason why Lode Runner remains a classic gaming memory.

Lode Runner: The Legend Returns cover.

Like any classic game, Lode Runner had its share of updates and sequels, again a sign of a game that has a classic appeal.  The list is impressive:

  • Load Runner’s Rescue (Commodore 64, 1985)
  • Hyper Lode Runner (GameBoy, 1990)
  • Battle Lode Runner (TurboGrafx, 1993)
  • Lode Runner: The Legend Returns (DOS/Macintosh/Windows, 1994)
  • Lode Runner Online: The Mad Monk Returns (Windows/Macintosh, 1995)
  • Lode Runner 2 (Windows/Macintosh, 1998)
  • Lode Runner 3-D (Nintendo 64, 1999)
  • Battle Lode Runner (Wii, 2007)
  • Lode Runner (Xbox 360, 2009)

Lode Runner has been considered a classic for some time. It made #80 on Computer Gaming World’s 150 Best Games of All Time list, and was mentioned in 2003 as one of the best games of all time by Gamespot in their The Greatest Games of All Time series.  The creator of Tetris, the classic puzzle game that all puzzle games are compared to, was quoted in a 2008 interview with Edge Magazine that he considered Lode Runner to his favorite puzzle game for many years.  There was even a 1986 Lode Runner board game created by Donal Carlston (the creator of the still-popular board game, Personal Preference)!

Lode Runner Online: The Mad Monk Returns cover

Back in 1983, a big bowl of salt ‘n’ vinegar potato chips, a jug of chocolate milk, and an afternoon of wiping out agents of the Bungeling Empire was a recipe for good times.  Now that I’m older (married with children, no less!), there’s no more chocolate milk nor salt ‘n’ vinegar potato chips, and my afternoon gaming has now been replaced with late evening gaming. But Lode Runner will always hold a special place in my gamer heart, and if you’ve never played it, find one of the updated versions and have great time!

What’s In That Game Box? – Wide World (1962)

 

Box front for Wide World (1961)

Ever scoured the Internet looking for what exactly you were missing from the old board game you pulled from your closet, only to find no succor in your time of need?  Well, stop that fruitless searching through endless google results, as this week we look at Parker Brothers’ Wide World, the hard-to-find 1961 Air Travel Game.

The contents of Wide World are as follows:

The game box (with images of a globe, the Eiffel Tower, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty, the Sphinx, the Taj Mahal, and a traditional Japanese temple gate, all on a red background).

The game board (featuring a 2-dimensional representation of the world overlaid with a grid pattern)

A transparent “Weather Guide” which is a 9 square by 10 square grid, each corner marked with a compass direction (N, S, W, E)

Six metal airplane tokens (black, blue, green, red, silver, yellow)

Two six-sided dice

A deck of 20 Destination Cards, which consist of:

Alaska
Australia
Brazil
Canada
China
Egypt
England
Hawaiian Islands
Holland
Iceland
India
Ireland
Japan
Mexico
Peru
Philippine Islands
Russia
Turkey
United States
Venezuela

A deck of 28 Travel Agent Cards, consisting of:

CHANGE POSITION OF YOUR PLANE WITH ANY OTHER. [x2]
CHANGE POSITION OF YOUR PLANE WITH PLAYER ON YOUR LEFT.
CHANGE POSITION OF YOUR PLANE WITH PLAYER ON YOUR RIGHT.
FLY FIVE SPACES.
FLY FOUR SPACES.
FLY THREE SPACES.
FLY TO CAPE TOWN. TAKE A PRODUCT CARD.
FLY TO DESTINATION. [x3]
FLY TO LITTLE AMERICA. TAKE ANOTHER TURN.
FLY TO MADRID, SPAIN. TAKE ANOTHER TURN.
FLY TO PARIS. TAKE ANOTHER TURN.
FLY TO ROBINSON CRUSOE’S ISLAND. TAKE ANOTHER TURN.
FLY TO SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA. TAKE ANOTHER TURN.
FLY TO VALPARAISO, CHILE. MOVE FOUR SPACES.
ROUGH WEATHER! GIVE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCT CARDS TO THE PLAYER ON YOUR LEFT.
ROUGH WEATHER! GIVE ONE OF YOUR PRODUCT CARDS TO THE PLAYER ON YOUR RIGHT.
TAKE A PRODUCT CARD. [x2]
TAKE A PRODUCT CARD; FLY FIVE SPACES.
TAKE A PRODUCT CARD; FLY FOUR SPACES.
TAKE A PRODUCT CARD; FLY THREE SPACES.
TAKE ONE PRODUCT CARD FROM ALL PLAYERS.
WEATHER CHANGE, MOVE WEATHER GUIDE TO POSITION “E”
WEATHER CHANGE, MOVE WEATHER GUIDE TO POSITION “N”
WEATHER CHANGE, MOVE WEATHER GUIDE TO POSITION “S”

A deck of 56 Product Cards (consisting of two decks: one with 28 cards worth 1 point, the other with 28 cards worth 2 points), which are:

AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ALASKA IS FISH (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ALASKA IS FURS (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA IS WHEAT (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF BRAZIL IS RUBBER (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF BURMA IS RICE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CANADA IS IRON (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CANADA IS WOOD (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CHINA IS RICE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CHINA IS WHEAT (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF EGYPT IS SUGAR CANE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ENGLAND IS WOOL (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF FINLAND IS WOOD (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF GUATEMALA IS COFFEE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF HAWAII IS SUGAR CANE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF HOLLAND IS FLOWER BULBS (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF INDIA IS RICE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF INDIA IS TEA (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF IRELAND IS WHEAT (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF MEXICO IS COFFEE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF PERU IS CORN (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The PHILIPPINE ISLANDS IS CORN (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The PHILIPPINE ISLANDS IS MANILA HEMP (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The PHILIPPINE ISLANDS IS RICE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The UNITED STATES IS CORN (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The UNITED STATES IS COTTON (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The UNITED STATES IS TOBACCO (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF TURKEY IS TOBACCO (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF VENEZUELA IS COFFEE (1 POINT)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ALASKA IS GOLD (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF AUSTRALIA IS GOLD (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF BRAZIL IS COFFEE (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CANADA IS FURS (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CHINA IS TEA (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF CUBA IS TOBACCO (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF EGYPT IS COTTON (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ENGLAND IS COTTON (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF HAWAII IS PINEAPPLES (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF HOLLAND IS CHEESE (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ICELAND IS FISH (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF IRAN IS OIL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF IRAQ IS OIL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF IRELAND IS POTATOES (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF ITALY IS OLIVES (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF JAPAN IS RICE (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF MEXICO IS LEAD (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF MEXICO IS SILVER (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF PERU IS ALFALFA (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF PERU IS COPPER (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF POLAND IS COAL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF RUSSIA IS COAL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF RUSSIA IS OIL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF SPAIN IS OLIVES (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF The UNITED STATES IS WHEAT (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF TURKEY IS MOHAIR WOOL (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF TURKEY IS WHEAT (2 POINTS)
AN IMPORTANT PRODUCT OF VENEZUELA IS OIL (2 POINTS)

The Game Rules

Aside from the inner cardboard fillers to help hold all the pieces in an orderly fashion, that’s it.  I hope you traveling around world exploring new destinations (from a 1960s perspective), soon!

 

Box contents for Wide World (1961)

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