Lode Runner

aka: Kong, LR, Lode Runner Classic, Lode Runner for WonderSwan, Miner, Suicide
Moby ID: 243
PC Booter Specs
Included in See Also

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



Average score: 76% (based on 29 ratings)


Average score: 3.7 out of 5 (based on 222 ratings with 6 reviews)

A nice MSX game!

The Good
Lode Runner had simple graphics, good gameplay and sound effects. The MSX version is similar to the PC Booter one. It was one of the first games (maybe the first in MSX platform) to feature an edition mode, in which it was possible to create and edit levels.

The Bad
Lode Runner was a bit harder, like any version of this game.

The Bottom Line
Lode Runner for MSX is a nice game. Recommended for any player who likes action and/or puzzle. If possible, get and play it!

MSX · by Gustavo Henrique dos Santos (97) · 2014

I have many great memories from my Apple II days, this game takes place in most.

The Good
In one word? All. This game is very high in my top 10 list of all times; actually it's very high on my top 5 as well. The first game to really combine action (run, avoid monsters) and puzzle (look, think, do things in a correct order.) what this game did was what Dune II did to Strategy genre: add action, the decision makings have to be made in real time. The goal of this game is very simple, collect boxes, avoid enemies, go ladder (do I hear addictive gameplay?) Actually the game is extremely complex, where the wrong decision can send a horde of enemies at your tail, or you could find yourself 10 feet deep in cement. Oh yea, you can dig. This is your most important weapon, timing your digging right can help you trap the enemies in a way that will help you solve the level, wrong timing and you might not trap them properly, or at all, and you might found yourself locked in rooms as well, and let me just remind you, you have to take those decisions in real time. The levels are absolutely great, and suggest a variety of ideas and puzzles, from more action driven, to some that demand careful planning of the digging. Other levels are made of weird art (like the very cute ship level) or are based on one element of the game, like pure digging levels, levels made exclusively of ropes, or levels where you have to use the AI in order to trap the enemies.

The Bad
One of the biggest downs (I’d use the word few, but I wanna keep my "un-biased" mask) is the AI. Which is very simple; basically the enemies keep the same level with your character. I.e. if you go up, they go up, they don't try to go down and follow you, unless you go down and practically "pull" them, sometimes winning the level is more of a question of properly trapping the enemies. Although the game creators knew that, as some levels actually need you to use that AI to solve them, most of the times you feel like your fighting a mind game with a bunch of apes.

The Bottom Line
This one is a true classic from the old (and I do mean old) days of Apple II, a combined action/puzzle games, where you need to collect gold and avoid monsters. The game also features an option to dig, enabling you to capture the enemies, or to reach boxes beneath the floor. The graphics are worthy of these days, in other words, don't expect anything too fancy (except the boat level, naturally), but those who are pure gameplay fanatics, should check this game.

PC Booter · by Erez Schatz (7) · 2000

Landmark game in video game history!

The Good
This is the first game I can remember playing that successfully combined action and puzzle solving into a compelling experience. Some levels took seconds to solve, later ones minutes. Some I never solved more than once.

But most importantly, this game allowed users--kids like me--to create their own levels. Never before was such a facility included with a computer game before. It included the first true level editor, so players could create and play their own experiences. With the exception of Pinball Construction Set, I can remember no early home computer era game that allowed such a feature.

But even without the level editor, the game provided an addictive challenge despite the limitations of the early home computers.

The Bad
Some of the levels I thought were just too darn hard, especially so early on. The Apple II controls were a bit tricky to get the hang of, but they really couldn't have been implemented better. The Apple II joysticks just weren't great.

The Bottom Line
An addictive rush of treasure grabbing! Puzzle solving and action combined in an early game with lots of polish.

Apple II · by Frecklefoot (188) · 2007

[ View all 6 player reviews ]


Subject By Date
RIP Douglas Smith! Pseudo_Intellectual (66423) Sep 14, 2014


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


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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-98, SMC-777, PC-8000, PC-6001, Sharp MZ-80K/700/800/1500 added by Infernos. Apple II added by KnockStump. Atari ST added by PAO. SG-1000 added by Sciere. J2ME added by Hervé Piton. WonderSwan, Windows Phone, ZX Spectrum, iPhone, Android, Sharp X1 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. Amstrad CPC, VIC-20 added by Servo. MSX added by koffiepad. DOS added by wanner jean christophe. Macintosh added by Garcia. Hitachi S1, Sharp MZ-80B/2000/2500 added by Elliot Washington.

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

Game added August 23, 1999. Last modified May 19, 2024.