From the hi-tech to the low-tech. We go from one extreme to the other in today’s Your Sinclair Top 100, as yesterday we were in the latest line of hypersonic jets as we played T.L.L., but today we’re given the latest in the line of pickaxes! At No.#9 we are playing the classic Boulder Dash from Front Runner.
This world renowned game arrived officially on the ZX Spectrum back in 1984, a tie-in license from First Star Software Inc. that was programmed by Dalali Software Ltd., who in this case was Peter Liepa and Chris Gray. First Star Software Inc. were previously involved in another Your Sinclair Top 100 game, Spy vs Spy which sits at No.#20 in the chart.
The task in Boulder Dash is an extremely simple one, mine the diamonds and make your way to the exit; however physics as ever always steps in to spoil everyone’s fun. Littered throughout this mine are delicately balanced, hulking great big boulders that have sat for eons tucked in between dirt. That was until you decided one day to make a grab for the sparkly diamonds and then all the boulders came tumbling down towards you; it’s here you need to rapidly get out of the way before you become a mere smear up the floor of history. Later you discover that the boulders play part of an important puzzle to advance deeper into the mine, or they can be used to either stop the advancing amoebas, transform butterflies into diamonds, or to outwit a difficult firefly and it’s diamond stash.
Everybody knows Boulder Dash, it is like the Mr. Spock of the gaming world, you don’t even have had to have played it to know what you’re supposed to do. Newcomers to the game get the gist of it within a matter of seconds and they’ll get an instant sense of achievement as they pass the first level in minutes. Granted the graphics now are wholeheartedly basic in appearance, but that doesn’t destroy any of the gameplay. There is one issue with the ZX Spectrum release which is a pest and that is the scrolling, it’s a pain in the backside, for you have to wait for it to for the mine catch up with your miner if you run off the screen.
Boulder Dash is a game that will live forever because at its core it is timeless, the graphics may change with each generation but as long as they don’t bugger around with the cogs and springs everything will run fine.