🐳 New! Moby v2023.06.02 update

Lode Runner

aka: Kong, LR, Lode Runner Classic, Lode Runner for WonderSwan, Miner

Description official descriptions

The Bungeling Empire has stolen a huge cache of gold from its rightful owners, and your mission is to infiltrate its treasury and recapture it. This entails progressing through 150 screens of platforms, ladders and ropes.

The Empire has sent robotic guards down to protect the gold, and contact with any of these will cost you a life. Your method of escaping them is to press fire to dig a hole in their line of movement, thus causing them to fall in briefly, allowing you to move across the gap safely. Once all the gold has been collected, a ladder allowing you to move onto the next screen is added. Completing these screens often requires forward planning and precision.

This was one of the earliest games to include a level editor, allowing the creation of new level designs with no programming skill.


  • ロードランナー - Japanese spelling
  • 淘金者 - Chinese spelling (simplified)

Groups +



Credits (PC Booter version)

Original Version
PC Conversion
Cover Artwork



Subject User Date
RIP Douglas Smith! Pseudo_Intellectual (64957) 2014-09-14 18:17:14


1001 Video Games

Lode Runner appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Arcade version

The original Lode Runner proved so popular a coin-op version was commissioned and appeared in 1984 housed in its own cabinet and complete with artwork. However it contained only 99 levels instead of original 150 levels.


While they both spawned strings of sequels to lead series of their own, Lode Runner and Choplifter can be considered to share not just human sprite animation, but a "game world" along with Will Wright's Raid on Bungeling Bay. All three games (all published by Brøderbund) ultimately featured the militaristic denizens of the Bungeling Empire as the primary antagonists.

Cancelled ports

  • Lode Runner was being ported to the Atari Lynx but was abandoned while in a fairly advanced state.
  • An Amiga version is mentioned in the French manual, ported by Loriciels' Annecy studio, but beyond that, no information of an official Amiga port exists.
  • A Dragon 32 port is advertised as "coming soon" in an ad in C&VG magazine. Presumably, it was cancelled at a late stage, since programmer Roy Coates, who converted Manic Miner and Jet Set Willy for Software Projects, later came out with Beanstalker on his own label.


One of the biggest ever Lode Runner competitions took place during Japan's World Fair in August 1985. Gameplay was shown on a massive Sony Jumbotron (then the world's largest television at 80x150 feet). Over 3,000 people entered from across Japan and only 50 were selected to try their luck at achieving the highest score within three minutes. 12 year old Yasutaka Fujii was proclaimed the winner.


The development started in 1980 on Commodore PET with ASCII graphics. In 1981 the Doug Smith joined the University of Washington which had VAX computers in their lab, so he continued development there (together with James Steinbeck). When they decided to make it a commercial project, they used Smith's nephew as playtester. Because of his nagging, Smith ported to the game to Apple II; the platform it was eventually released first. Then Smith changed the name to Miner and bought off Steinbeck who could not afford the time for project anymore.

After a rejection by Brøderbund, he continued working on the game on his own money. He especially worked on refining the graphics and the controls. Then he offered it to four companies, Electronic Arts, Epyx, Sirius Software, and Brøderbund. Brøderbund offered him $10,000 and 23% of future profits and he actually rejected an offer of $100,000 without royalties.

When Brøderbund bought the game they demanded that it contain 150 levels. The creative solution Smith came up with was to give the kids in his neighbourhood the level designer, promising to pay each kid who make a good level. One of them was Daron Stinnett, the executive producer of several LucasArts games including Dark Forces and Outlaws.


Strings found in the game code:

If the original MASTER disk fails to run, return it to Broderbund for replacement. COPIES WILL NOT WORK. Thanks for the run. See ya' next time.

Version differences

Lode Runner was enhanced for the Apple Macintosh (and packaged as such). It remains the only 16-bit version of the first game and has possibly the highest resolution at 512x342 pixels on a crisp monochrome display. This version also features added mouse support for in-game configuration within windows, pull-down menus, pop-up dialogue boxes, and level creation. The game itself is played using the keyboard.


  • Computer Gaming World
    • November 1996 (15th anniversary issue) - #80 on the “150 Best Games of All Time” list
  • Game Informer
    • August 2001 (Issue #100) - #52 in the "Top 100 Games of All Time" poll

Information also contributed by Игги Друге, Erez Schaz, Garcia, John Romero, PCGamer77 and FatherJack

Related Games

Lode Runner
Released 1994 on Windows 3.x
Lode Runner: Golden Labyrinth
Released 1985 on Arcade
Hyper Lode Runner
Released 1989 on Game Boy
Lode Runner: Lost Labyrinth
Released 1990 on TurboGrafx-16
Lode Runner
Released 2006 on Nintendo DS
Lode Runner Extra
Released 1997 on PlayStation, SEGA Saturn
Championship Lode Runner
Released 1984 on PC Booter, Commodore 64, NES...
Lode Runner: Legacy
Released 2017 on Windows, 2018 on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
Maze Runner
Released 1986 on DOS

Related Sites +

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 243


Know about this game? Add your expertise to help preserve this entry in video game history!

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by demonlord.

BBC Micro added by POMAH. Commodore 64, NES added by PCGamer77. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. PC-8000, Sharp MZ-80K/700/800/1500, PC-98, PC-6001 added by Infernos. Apple II added by KnockStump. Atari ST added by PAO. SG-1000 added by Sciere. J2ME added by Hervé Piton. WonderSwan, iPhone, Android, Sharp X1, ZX Spectrum, Windows Phone added by Kabushi. Atari 8-bit added by Martin Smith. Wii added by gamewarrior. Arcade added by Pseudo_Intellectual. Antstream added by lights out party. FM-7, PC-88 added by Terok Nor. VIC-20, Amstrad CPC added by Servo. MSX added by koffiepad. DOS added by wanner jean christophe. Macintosh added by Garcia.

Additional contributors: Trixter, Unicorn Lynx, POMAH, Alaka, Opipeuter, Martin Smith, Pseudo_Intellectual, Игги Друге, Parf, DreinIX, Patrick Bregger, mailmanppa, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, ZeTomes.

Game added August 23rd, 1999. Last modified May 17th, 2023.