When people are asked to name their favourite games for the Apple II, Lode Runner is usually somewhere on the list. Funnily enough, I never played much of Lode Runner. For a long time I didn’t even know it existed…
My first computer was an Apple //c, bought when I was 14 or so in 1985. I already had experience of the Apple II from a friend whose dad was a Maths lecturer. We spent many an hour playing things like Wizardry, Sneakers and Snoggle.
When we got the Apple //c, it came bundled with some software that I got to choose. Naturally, I chose Wizardry 2 and Wizardry 3. But I also had a 3rd choice. So (I think on the salesman’s recommendation) I got a cool looking game called Championship Lode Runner. I had no idea it was a sequel to a previous game.
Anyway, not knowing any better, my brother and I delved in. It was quite tricky at first to say the least, and there was a real sense of accomplishment when we managed to finish level one!
One important thing to note about this game: it has save games but every time you restore you lose a life. So ultimately your save game self-destructs after too many restores and you’re back to level one. And while all the levels are hard, some are completely bonkers. The amount of trial and error is extreme.
I played it on and off over the next couple of years. It was damn hard but I wanted to get to the end. We had a legit non-pirated copy and there was the possibility of getting a certificate!
So anyway, yeah, after about 2 years, I eventually did it! I completed level 50, the most crazily fiendish level which definitely earned its right to be the last one.
After completing the last level, a screen appears asking you to type in the serial number on your registration card. With nervous fingers I typed it in and got the special password, copied it carefully to the card and mailed it off.
Some time later, I was more than excited to receive this in the mail:
Opening it up, the contents:
The thing on the left is just a piece of stiff cardboard.
Here’s the letter:
And finally, I was a proud owner of a Championship Lode Runner Certificate!
The signature of Doug Carlston on the letter is just printed but the signature on the certificate is done with a pen. Though I’m not even sure who that is. C D Toomey? Joomey? It doesn’t seem to match any name in the manual or hint book. If anyone can figure it out or knows, let me know and I’ll update this post.
And that’s my Championship Lode Runner story.
I never did frame it…
For more info on the history of Lode Runner, check out the excellent article by the Digital Antiquarian.
Also note, there’s a hint book which is available here.
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