History

Lode Runner's rich history began in Seattle in 1982, when Douglas E. Smith (a student at the University of Washington) created a game prototype, which he called Kong. The game generated so much interest from his peers that he worked full time to finish it, and then submitted it to software publishers as Miner. In 1983, Broderbund licensed the game and published it as Lode Runner for Apple II, Atari 8-bit, MSX and Commodore 64 computers. Since then, versions of Lode Runner have appeared on virtually every platform imaginable. We invite you to explore the many faces of Lode Runner both here and in Lode Runner for Xbox LIVE Arcade, which includes its own timeline.

1983
Lode Runner
Developer
Douglas E. Smith
Publisher
Broderbund Software
Platform
Apple II, Commodore 64, VIC-20, ZX Spectrum, Atari XL/XE (8 bit), MSX, Amstrad CPC, SG-1000, NEC PC Series
Features
150 single-player levels (grid size: 28x16), level editor
This was one of the very first games to be released with a level editor (dubbed the "Game Generator" by the press). This supported keyboard and joystick controls. The 8-way joystick used a single button – Runners could only blast in the direction they were facing (blasting behind required overrunning and doubling back, which inhibited the player's ability to dig deep holes and resulted in lots of controller error).
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1984
Championship Lode Runner
Developer
Douglas E. Smith
Publisher
Broderbund Software, Hudson Soft for Nintendo 8-bit
Platform
Apple II, Commodore 64, VIC-20, ZX Spectrum, Atari XL/XE, SG-1000, Famicom, NES, NEC PC Series
Features
50 single-player levels
The 50 fiendishly difficult levels were created by fans using the original level editor.
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1984, 1985
Lode Runner II
Developer
Douglas E. Smith
Publisher
Broderbund Software
Platform
MSX
Features
50 single-player levels
Lode Runner for MSX was released in 1984 with the original 150 levels (some systems had 181 levels), Lode Runner II for MSX was released in 1985 with 50 levels (22 original levels & 28 new levels).
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1984
Lode Runner: 8bit Nintendo
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Famicom, NES
Features
150 single-player levels (same levels as 1983 level set), level editor
This was the first 3rd party title to be released on the Famicom console; it quickly sold over 1.5 million units! 1.1 million units sold on the NES. This game zoomed in on the Runner and implemented scrolling levels; forcing the action to be slowed down considerably (bad!). But, this version incorporated two-button blasting –the player could blast left or right regardless of the direction he was facing (good – big improvement!)
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1984
Lode Runner: Coin-op Arcade
Developer
Irem
Publisher
Irem
Platform
Coin-op game (arcade cabinet - Jamma board)
Features
24 single-player levels (all derived from the 1983 level set, but scaled down to fit the smaller 24x15 grid)
This was the very first game to make the transition from the PC to the coin-op gaming arcades (generally games made the journey from arcades into the living room on consoles and the PC). Although a smaller overall grid size (24x15 – compacting the levels had the effect of speeding up the action, thus making the game more suitable to standard arcade total game time), the game incorporated a split vertical grid – allowing blocks to be placed directly above/below each other, or with a half gap or a one-and-a-half gap – this gave the illusion of taller levels (only Irem versions did this). The four Irem arcade versions incorporated time bonuses that quickly counted down to zero – the remaining time was awarded as points upon completing a level (the bonus was doubled if less than half of the allotted time had expired), but if the timer reached 0 a life was lost – an evil way to keep players from tying up a machine for extended lengths. The four Irem arcade versions had three special point bonuses that were awarded at level completion: Trap no enemies = 20,000pts., Kill no enemies = 10,000pts., Trap all enemies in an enclosed room or pit = 10,000pts.
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1984
Lode Runner: The Bungeling Strikes Back
Developer
Irem
Publisher
Irem
Platform
Coin-op game (arcade cabinet – Jamma board)
Features
30 single-player levels (10 derived from the 1983 level set, 20 original levels)
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1985
Lode Runner: The Golden Labyrinth (Majin No Fukkatsu)
Developer
Irem
Publisher
Irem
Platform
Coin-op game (arcade cabinet – Jamma board)
Features
30 single-player levels (several levels inspired by the 1983 level set, the rest original)
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1986
Lode Runner: Teikoku Karano Dasshutsu
Developer
Publisher
Platform
Coin-op game (arcade cabinet – Jamma board)
Features
30 single-player levels (several levels inspired by the 1983 level set, the rest original)
The single-player mode incorporates a new block type; an indestructible block that the Runner can push left or right along a platform, thus creating and blocking certain paths. This was the first Lode Runner game to feature a multiplayer experience (very fun & challenging)! This game introduced hidden enemies – a single hidden enemy could be unearthed, then trapped to provide a 3,000-8,000pt. bonus (trapping the hidden enemy did not spoil the ‘Trap no Enemies' bonus). **Sparkly gold – one piece of gold on every level sparkled, if collected first then a bonus was awarded...
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1986
Lode Runner Board Game
Developer
Don Carlston of Broderbund Software, Inc.
Publisher
Tsukuda Original
Platform
Board game)
Features
8 different play boards, game only released in Japan
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1987
Super Lode Runner
Developer
Irem
Publisher
Irem
Platform
Famicom Disk System, MSX, more...
Features
55 single-player levels, 15 co-op levels, level editor
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1987
Super Lode Runner II
Developer
Irem
Publisher
Irem
Platform
Famicom Disk System, MSX, more...
Features
30 single player levels, 30 co-op levels, level editor
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1989
Hyper Lode Runner
Developer
Bandai
Publisher
Bandai
Platform
Game Boy
Features
50 new levels on 20x16 grid (levels 16-50 include a ‘back room'), level editor, VS. mode
This game added a door and key to the standard game play elements. The door opens when the key is collected and the Runner can access a secret ‘back' room, but must exit back to the main level before the time expires or he will become trapped there. Upon returning, the main level continues in the exact same state it was in when LR left. This game allowed the player to access any level in the game by entering a code.
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1990
Lode Runner: The Lost Labyrinth
Developer
Pack-In-Video
Publisher
Broderbund
Platform
PC Engine, Turbografx 16
Features
All 150 levels (1983 level set), level editor
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1993
Battle Lode Runner
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
PC Engine (Japan only), Rereleased on Wii's Virtual Console 2007
Features
single player levels, puzzle mode, three different 5 player battle modes (Survival, Escape and Tag), and a level editor. There are 4 different environments, each with a unique music track.
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1994
Lode Runner: The Legend Returns
Developer
Presage
Publisher
Sierra Online
Platform
Windows, DOS, Mac OS, Saturn & PlayStation
Features
150 single player levels, 2p Co-op and 2p Head-to-Head levels, level editor
Characters: Jack Peril & Wes Reckless. This version added several devices to the mix: Snare traps, befuddlement gas, jackhammers, small and large bombs, pickaxes and buckets of goo. Indestructible blocks cannot be destroyed with the blaster, but can be destroyed with a jackhammer or large bomb. Large bombs also permanently destroy destructible blocks. Teleports, trick blocks and gooey blocks are also present. Ten environments are present: Moss Caverns, Fungus Delvings, the Lost City of Ur, the Crystal Hoard, Winter's Dungeon, Skeleton's Keep, Inferno's Playground, Shimmering Caverns, the Shadowlands and Meltdown Metropolis. Some levels are played at night, where the entire level is black except a small lighted area around the player.
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1994
Lode Runner Twin
Developer
T&E Soft
Publisher
T&E Soft
Platform
Super Famicom (Japan only)
Features
Characters: Justy (male) and Liberty (female). Free play (with passwords), 2 player split screen mode, Scrolling levels.
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1995
Lode Runner Online: The Mad Monk's Revenge
Developer
Presage
Publisher
Sierra Online
Platform
Windows, Mac OS
Features
150 single-player levels, 2p Co-op and 2p Head-to-Head levels, level editor
The sequel to ‘The Legend Returns' added even more devices to the previous array, including bombs on timers and phase blocks that continually phase in and out of existence. In multiplayer levels, devices and items were color coded and could only be picked up by the appropriate player. This game also introduced nonlinear level progression; often multiple exits existed, each accessing a different level.
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1997
Lode Runner Keychain
Developer
XING Entertainment
Publisher
XING Entertainment
Platform
A dedicated handheld LCD game
Features
2 full games – The Legend Returns & LR Extra, level editor
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1997, 1998
Lode Runner Extra
Developer
Game Arts Co. Ltd
Publisher
PATRA for Sega, Natsume for PlayStation
Platform
Sega Saturn (Japan only) 1997, PlayStation 1998
Features
2 full games – The Legend Returns & LR Extra, level editor
LR Extra was nearly the same game as The Legend Returns but only had 110 levels (40 of the less interesting levels from The Legend Returns weren't included.)
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1998
Lode Runner 2
Developer
Presage
Publisher
GT Interactive (Infogrames/Atari) & MacSoft
Platform
Windows, Mac OS
Features
75 single-player levels, co-op and death-match modes, level editor
Characters: Jake and Jane. Isometric 2D graphics. Five environments: Jungle, Mona, Gear, Wacky & Industrial. This version incorporated three enemy types – each with unique AI: Blue enemies followed a specified path and did not alter. Purple enemies were unpredictable. Black enemies remained in constant pursuit. The game had a beach ball power-up that turned the player into an enemy-killing machine.
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1999
Lode Runner 3D
Developer
Big Bang Software
Publisher
Infogrames (U.S./Europe), Banpresto (Japan)
Platform
Nintendo 64
Features
136 single-player levels, 20 bonus levels scattered across the planets
136 single player levels, 20 bonus levels scattered across the planets • Insider Info: The only version to feature true 3D path mazes. This version used a unique blasting mechanic; it reverted to the single button scheme, so the Runner could only blast in the direction he was facing – but, the Runner recoiled back a block every time he blasted, so he could easily dig wide trenches in the terrain by simply pressing the button repeatedly. This blasting mechanic also led to many new puzzles. 5 planets to explore, each with unique special action items and mechanical fixtures: Bomb, Helix Lift, Shuttle Disk, Bit Launcher & Roving Drill Bit, Cable Disk, Capped Well (of fire), Steam Lift, Ice Slide, Snow Maker, Ice Lift, Tele Freezer, Attack Bridge, Remote Switch, Brunswick and Plasma Launcher. This version is the first to incorporate a boss at the end of the game – the master monk strikes the path with his rod, sending bolts of electricity in all directions for several blocks.
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1999
Power Lode Runner
Developer
Nintendo
Publisher
Nintendo
Platform
Super Famicom (Japan only)
Features
Four worlds with scrolling levels (up to six screens), practice mode
As the Runner collects gold, an island village will prosper—sort of a Lode Runner turns Robin Hood!
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2000
Lode Runner: The Dig Fight
Developer
Psikyo
Publisher
Psikyo
Platform
Coin-op game (Japan only)
Features
2-Player Vs. mode and new levels
Most of the games were updated to the "B" version in the factory, so this original version is quite rare.
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2000
Lode Runner: The Dig Fight Version B
Developer
Psikyo
Publisher
Psikyo
Platform
Coin-op game (Japan only)
Features
2-Player Vs. mode and new levels
In the Vs. mode, each player controlled a Runner on their own split-screen level
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2000
Lode Runner: WonderSwan
Developer
Banpresto
Publisher
Banpresto
Platform
WonderSwan (Japan only)
Features
2D action, 5 worlds with 24
You'll go to a bonus level if you collect enough special items
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2000
Lode Runner: Domudomu Dan no Yabou
Developer
Xing
Publisher
Xing
Platform
Game Boy Color
Features
Side-scrolling action
Japanese release, gold nuggets replaced by keys
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2002
Lode Runner: Game Boy Advance
Developer
Success
Publisher
Success
Platform
Game Boy Advance
Features
4 worlds with 24 levels each, level editor
Released only in Japan. 20th Anniversary edition.
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2003
Cubic Lode Runner
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Nintendo GameCube, PlayStation 2
Features
3D action levels
Released in Japan only, included unlockable extras
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2004
Lode Runner Mobile
Developer
FT Mobile
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Mobile phone (BREW) US Release
Features
Classic Lode Runner action with updated graphics
Won IGN Editor's Choice Award
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2005
Lode Runner: Hudson Best Collection, Vol. 2
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Game Boy Advance
Features
2 full games: Lode Runner (Famicom) & Championship Lode Runner (Famicom)
Part of Hudson's classic game collection from the 8-bit and 16-bit console era.
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2006
Lode Runner DS
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Nintendo DS
Features
50 single player levels, 50 championship single player levels, 30 puzzle levels, level editor (14x14 or 28x14)
Regular and Championship modes have different block regeneration times. Completing all of the tutorial levels unlocks a video viewer that shows solutions for all 130 levels. The player can choose between three graphic styles. Levels can be shared over the internet.
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2006
Lode Runner Deluxe
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Mobile phone (BREW & Java)
Features
50 initial levels, new art style
Additional levels available for download, Over 1 million downloads (according to Hudson's pitch for DX).
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2007, 2009
Re-releases on Wii Virtual Console
Developer
Hudson Soft/Nintendo
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
Wii VC
Features
Three classic Hudson versions were re-released on the Wii Virtual Console from 2007-09.
In 2007, Lode Runner originally for Famicom and Battle Lode Runner originally for PC Engine were released in Japan, North America and Europe. In 2009, Championship Lode Runner originally for Famicom was released in Japan only.
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2007
Lode Runner Dot Toy
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Taito Corporation
Platform
Toy
Features
Two versions were released; one of the Runner and one of the Enemy. Multiple in-game character poses can be created by placing colored pins in the 16x16 plastic grid.
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2008
Lode Runner Mobile
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Living Mobile
Platform
Mobile phone (Java)
Features
80 levels, level editor
Includes a vibration feature
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2008
Lode Runner iPod
Developer
Hudson Soft
Publisher
Hudson Soft
Platform
iPod (click-wheel iPods only)
Features
Standard, Expert, Master, Gold Rush, and Puzzle modes
In Gold Rush mode, the screen scrolls downward and you have to keep up, climbing and collecting gold while avoiding robots and the game-ending potential of being caught at the bottom.
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2009
Lode Runner Xbox LIVE Arcade
Developer
Tozai Games/SouthEnd Interactive
Publisher
Tozai Games/Microsoft
Platform
Xbox 360 LIVE Arcade
Features
220 Levels, six modes: 1P Journey, Co-op Journey, Hang On, 2-4P Last Man, 1P Puzzle, Co-op Puzzle, Hi-Res 3D graphics, classic style 2D action, Lode Runner Community for sharing custom-designed levels, leaderboards
Two years in the making, the Xbox LIVE Arcade Lode Runner remains true to the fast-paced action of the original game while updating virtually every aspect of the Lode Runner experience, from all new levels to multiplayer modes to a level editor that gives players the tools to build their own cunning levels and share them with the Lode Runner Community...and more.
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2012
Lode Runner X
Developer
Tozai Games/SouthEnd Interactive
Publisher
Tozai Games/Sony Ericsson
Platform
Xperia mobile devices / Additional Android support coming soon
Features
Single player mode containing 80 levels and 16 bonus rooms, 50 single player puzzles, statistics tracking
LRX ports the single player Journey and 1P Puzzles of the XBLA version. The game supports the Xperia Play slide-out control deck and also supports touchscreen Android devices. Special care was taken to slide the camera as the character approaches the virtual D-Pad so that the Runner is never obscured by the player's thumb.
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2012
Lode Runner Classic
Developer
Tozai Games/Studio Voltz
Publisher
Tozai Games/Microsoft
Platform
Microsoft: Windows Phone 7 / Tozai Games: Android and iOS
Features
The original AI and level design (150 levels), two game modes, multiple control schemes, speed control, new magnification effect, custom color mapping, leaderboards, achievements
Lode Runner Classic adds many new features to the very original incarnation. Players can progress through the levels sequentially to rack up high scores in Expedition Mode or crank up the speed and repeatedly play levels until attaining the quickest completion times possible in Time Attack Mode (then flaunt their leaderboard prowess to their friends).
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2012
Lode Runner for au
Developer
Tozai Games/Studio Voltz
Publisher
Tozai Games/KDDI
Platform
au Smart Pass subscription (Android)
Features
The original AI and level design (150 levels plus 9 au levels), two game modes, multiple control schemes, speed control, new magnification effect, custom color mapping, leaderboards, achievements
KDDI’s au version of Lode Runner Classic, released in Japan, contains the original 150 levels plus nine newly created levels.
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