Lode Runner in HTML5
December 8, 2016 3:40 PM   Subscribe

The classic action puzzle game Lode Runner is now on the web, implemented in HTML5 by Simon Hung using CreateJS! It has all 150 the levels from the original and the 50 from Championship (VERY HARD), plus some more collections. Here's the source on GitHub. More info.

If you get stuck somewhere, keep the following tricks in mind:
  1. Every level has a solution. Yes, every level. There are few games quite like Lode Runner for making something that looks impossible, but in fact there is a tricky way.
  2. The basic trick is to dig out a layer of bricks, jump into the hole, and keep digging. The places where this technique can be used are many and varied and will keep you guessing for a long time. Assuming no ladders, each layer's hole will have to be one block narrower than the layer above. If you have a ladder to stand on, the rules change a bit. Enemies that walk into a dug pit from the side are not stuck and can move around normally!
  3. Enemies can pick up the gold you need to collect to clear the level. There are levels where you rely on enemies picking up gold in places you cannot reach and carrying it into the places you can go to. To cause an enemy drop what it's carrying, make it fall into a pit. Some levels you have to kill enemies to get them to the top of the screen where they can reach otherwise-unobtainable gold.
  4. Before long you'll have to start learning how to manipulate enemy movement to proceed. Watch how enemies react when you move to different places in relation to them. You don't have to know exactly how enemies move to win, but you will have to watch carefully to ensure they go where you need them to be, or stay out of your way.
  5. You can use enemies' heads as stepping stones, even when they are falling. You not only run faster than them, you also fall faster. You can take advantage of this.
  6. You cannot dig at a spot with another block, gold, an enemy, a ladder or, oddly, overhead bars in the space immediately above it. If none of these things can be seen and yet it still looks like a diggable block and you can't dig, then it might be a trap door instead....
  7. If you find a place where you absolutely cannot escape, there are still two possibilities. One, there are ladders that appear when you collect the last gold on the level, and sometimes you have to rely on them to escape. And two, if there's a gold that it looks like you absolutely cannot get it without getting stuck, sometimes there's a trap door (a fall-through block that looks just like normal ground) beneath it.
If you get stuck without hope of escape press Ctrl-A to lose a life and try the level again. And if this isn't enough, I've played a great deal of Hudson's "Battle Lode Runner" that's on Wii Virtual Console and can vouch for it. And there's a mobile-optimized version of the computer game available for smartphones.

Previously: The death of its creator Douglas Smith.
posted by JHarris (45 comments total) 89 users marked this as a favorite

 
SAY A WHILE. STAY... FOREVER!!!

wait

wrong game.

Anyway, 30 goddamned years of this game and I can still only clear half the levels.
posted by GuyZero at 3:42 PM on December 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Also before I loaded this up I realized I had Loderunner confused with Jumpman.
posted by GuyZero at 3:44 PM on December 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


The timings on this emulator feel really good to me, or at least to my 33 year old memory.

I love that he implemented the editor mode too; that was a hugely awesome thing in the original game. It's under the hamburger menu "Custom Game" as "Custom Levels".
posted by Nelson at 3:45 PM on December 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


Don't forget Lode Runner's ancestor, Space Panic, on the Internet Archive.
posted by JoeZydeco at 3:57 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Lode Runner is one of those things I was obsessed with as a kid, then didn't see or hear about it for so many years that I started wondering if maybe it was all a dream.

Spoiler: It was not a dream. It was glorious reality.
posted by The World Famous at 4:08 PM on December 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


Holy crap. There goes my evening... night... week... month...
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 4:12 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Going off topic, but I bring this up every chance I get. There was a great, short-running UK 2000AD-lite comic for kids who loved games back in the early/mid-eighties called "Load Runner" (or at least its lead strip was so named, I was too young for what I was reading in it tbh). Nice little pun on the game itself and the BASIC commands too.
posted by comealongpole at 4:56 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I haven't heard the sound effects for this game in years, but I recognized them immediately.

I am still about as crap at it as I was when playing it on a family friend's computer back in the day.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh heck yeah it's an emulation of the Apple ][ version! It's the first disc I ever owned.

Man, if you thought Championship was hard, you should see the levels I made using the game's built-in level editor... and stored on the back of the disk... made possible by cutting a write-enable notch on the wrong side with scissors.

I still have that disc. Anybody help me read it?
posted by rlk at 5:06 PM on December 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


made possible by cutting a write-enable notch on the wrong side with scissors.

Why on earth did you use scissors? I thought that's what a hole-punch was for.
posted by ElDiabloConQueso at 5:28 PM on December 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


When we got an Apple ][e in the 80s, the first thing I learned how to do was break copy protection and steal games from the school library. The one game we actually purchased was Lode Runner, and my mother was a goddamn Lode Runner ninja. She did every single level and even got a special code after completing the last one, which I believe entitled her to some sort of certificate. She breezed through the championship expansion with ease. I have very fond memories of spending hours watching her play Lode Runner while I drank orange juice and offered encouragement.
posted by xyzzy at 5:30 PM on December 8, 2016 [24 favorites]


I can't get past the enter your name stage, either there is something I am missing or it isn't compatible with my computer. I have fond memories of playing this at a friend's house when I was in about sixth grade.
posted by Dip Flash at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2016


Does anyone remember the Lode Runner that (I think) Sierra came out with?? That's the version I've been trying to find for years. I freakin' loved that game as a kid*

*for some reason I really liked the munching sound the monks made when they ate your little lode runner dude
posted by littlesq at 5:33 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


littlesq: Does anyone remember the Lode Runner that (I think) Sierra came out with??

Was it Lode Runner: The Legend Returns?
posted by namewithoutwords at 6:06 PM on December 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


The very first game I ever saw played on a home computer--bootleg Apple II+--was Lode Runner. And it was love at first sight. Not with the game so much (although it's a good game, albeit frustrating af for me) as with being able to play arcade games at home. The guy whose computer it was even had it hooked up to a little Sony TV--so it was in color!! As soon as I had the cash, I went to the place where he'd gotten his and got one of my own, along with a stack of pirated discs, among them Lode Runner. Though I only had a monochrome monitor at first, soon enough, I bought a little color TV off some neighbors who were leaving town, and I was happier'n a pig in shit. Thanks for this, and the memory rush.
posted by the sobsister at 6:52 PM on December 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Lode Runner would have been something I saw at the West Coast Computer Faire, and I loved that thing. Problem was we didn't have a CGA card on our IBM-PC, and by the time we did it was EGA and I was off to Aldo's Adventure or whatever. I still had nostalgia for it forever, though. This and Boulderdash. Now I can conquer one of them.
posted by rhizome at 8:04 PM on December 8, 2016


Why on earth did you use scissors? I thought that's what a hole-punch was for.

Disk notchers and CopyIIPC were the Napster of their day.
posted by rhizome at 8:08 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I came here to mention the 1994 Sierra remake, Lode Runner: The Legend Returns. I have huge nostalgia and fondness for it. The level editor was really robust - I made some absolutely bonkers, devious levels. Too bad I couldn't share them with anyone! They should make a port for the PS4 with online level sharing.
posted by naju at 8:09 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


I was first introduced to this by friends of my father's on a visit to Norway in 1984. I loved the game, and after returning home I received a copy for my Atari 400. It's the first game I remember playing that let you build your own levels, and I relished the absolute hell out of that.

Thank you, thank you.
posted by Songdog at 8:19 PM on December 8, 2016


I finally pressed some magic key combination and got it to work, and I am just as bad at it now as I was then.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:26 PM on December 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Gah! I had been trying to figure out for the longest time which was the lode runner version i used to play on my uncle's mac back in the day, The Legend Returns it is, awesome!
posted by palbo at 8:30 PM on December 8, 2016


I am still about as crap at it as I was when playing it on a family friend's computer back in the day.

Ditto. There's a lot of that going around today.
posted by dfm500 at 9:57 PM on December 8, 2016


Disk notchers and CopyIIPC were the Napster of their day.

Somewhere in storage, I still have my disk notcher in red. I think I may have it inside a styrofoam Big Mac clamshell.
posted by radwolf76 at 10:02 PM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Whoa, I never knew it had such fancy color graphics!

Lode Runner just doesn't look right to me if it isn't just green on black.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:48 PM on December 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Was it Lode Runner: The Legend Returns?
posted by namewithoutwords


OMG yes! THANK YOU! I am totally downloading that when I get home :D
posted by littlesq at 1:46 AM on December 9, 2016


Thanks for this, it's great. In 2004 I ran into the author of the 1985 spin-off, Lode Runner's Rescue, in a cafe in the Sunset District of San Francisco where he was living and working as I think as a repairman. I was so stoked to meet him until we got into a heated and almost violent argument about the Iraq War. Joshua Scholar, sorry about that and if you're out there I hope you are doing O.K.!
posted by johngoren at 2:11 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


I loved me some Lode Runner but let's admit it, it's no Beer Run.
posted by chavenet at 2:36 AM on December 9, 2016


This is wonderful, thank you for posting this. Lode Runner was my first experience of a game that let me create not just play. Because of this it was something I returned to over and over again, often design and implementing improbable bank vault/safe breaking style levels that were hard to get into without the walls closing bank in around you. In my imagination it was a phenomenally visual game and still stands as playable today.
posted by diziet at 4:05 AM on December 9, 2016


trip report: this is really difficult with the Mac's half-sized keys.
(yeah, that's it. it's the keys. it's not me getting old, it's the keys.)
posted by entropicamericana at 4:26 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


The list of tips alone stress me out!
posted by Theta States at 6:08 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I loved me some Lode Runner but let's admit it, it's no Beer Run

Little bit 'o trivia: Beer Run was written by a 20 year-old Mark Turmell, who later went on to design NBA Jam and NFL Blitz for Midway Games.
posted by JoeZydeco at 6:43 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


bricks...closing...in!
posted by Reasonably Everything Happens at 6:48 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


> my mother was a goddamn Lode Runner ninja

As mine was at Tetris. Extra-hard mode, highest level, she'd own it every time. Yay mothers who game!

Not being able to play LodeRunner was a cause of major stress for me at the time. One of the first Amstrad CPC magazines said it had been released, and I pestered my local shop for months to get it in. Seems it was a misattribution, and the thing never existed. The devastate still has me
posted by scruss at 7:18 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


This, running on the flickering amber screen of my Dad's work 5155 was official game #1.

God, the sound effects are right there.
posted by mrdaneri at 7:20 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


I remember when I was younger and was very confused about this game. The name is "Lode Runner" and the gameplay is basically you stealing gold from a mine. But the box/cartridge art was always of some futuristic scene that would fit better in a game called "Blade Runner" rather than a game called "Lode Runner". Anybody know why that was the case?
posted by I-baLL at 7:59 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


And the muscle memory is still with me. Clearing each level in record time thanks to the endless hours spent playing 33 years ago. I've always loved the sound of blasting holes and picking up rock.
posted by psylosyren at 8:44 AM on December 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Ah, and instantly I remember being a freshman in high school when this came out. I can't look at it right now at work, but is there any way for the user-created levels to be loaded?
posted by seasparrow at 9:47 AM on December 9, 2016


Thanks so much for this!
posted by Busithoth at 9:47 AM on December 9, 2016


Oh no.
posted by louigi at 11:01 AM on December 9, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is insane how well I remember this game given that I haven't played it in, what, 30 years?
posted by Rock Steady at 11:42 AM on December 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


Last year I brought up my C64 again and this is the game I ran to test it. Was easily in my top 5 games back then. This seems like a good port!
posted by thefoxgod at 12:58 PM on December 9, 2016


SAY A WHILE. STAY... FOREVER!!!

I don't want to totally derail, but I will put this link here and back away slowly.
posted by Gary at 7:24 PM on December 10, 2016


Impossible Mission, starring Com Truise
posted by Nelson at 7:45 PM on December 10, 2016


We had this on 5.25" floppy disks in grade school. We'd have to do some learning thing on the computer (some kind of early Apple II?) and then we could play Oregon Trail or Where is the World is Carmen Santiago. Someone smuggled Lode Runner in and the teacher would look the other way because the only kids that liked it were all the best students in the class any way.
posted by VTX at 6:28 PM on December 12, 2016


I just realized I never actually owned Lode Runner: The Legend Returns...I just repeatedly played the demo that came with my Compaq computer (you could only play certain levels and couldn't save anything in the level creator). I just ordered a copy off of Amazon. Only took me 21 years to own it :D
posted by littlesq at 6:29 PM on December 12, 2016 [1 favorite]


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