Level One of Boulderdash on the Commodore 64 (C64)


I remember spending hour after hour playing Boulder Dash on my Atari 800XL back in the mid 80s. Why aren't games this addictive today?

Well, that's another subject for another time, but I think it mainly has to do with the simplicity of the gameplay. Many games are just too complex these days and concentrate far too much on showing off their awesome graphics. Although, to some degree the Nintendo Wii and Xbox Kinect has kind of reinvented the gaming industry, thank goodness.

Boulder Dash was loosely based on the game Dig Dug and was originally released in 1984 on the early 8-bit home computers for the Atari 400/800, Apple II, MSX, ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64. It was later ported to other 8 bit and 16 bit systems such as the BBC Micro, Amstrad CPC, Atari XL/XE, Atari ST and Commodore Amiga.

The game's main character was called Rockford. Basically, you had to help him dig his way underground collecting gems, reaching the exit within a time limit. There were a few nasty creatures to contend with, but the tricky part was ensuring you didn't get crushed by a boulder by digging in the wrong place. Great memories and just so damn addictive!

Boulder Dash on the Atari XL XE
Boulder Dash on the Atari XL/XE


Although brightly-coloured, the Amstrad just didn't have the graphics capabilities of either the C64 or Atari XL/XE range, and, therefore, doesn't look as good visually. Unfortunately, there's no sound in this video clip.


Atari XE Walkthrough

Actually, this isn't a proper walkthrough or review, but more like "off the cuff" commentary by a player who's never experienced the game before. He's playing the game on a 65XE and it's the same version that I used to play. The video is quite amusing to watch and I haven't heard those sound effects since the 80s, and looking back, they were pretty decent for an 8-bit computer.