Sadly, I only remember hearing about the video game Boulder Dash in the days of its original release, way back when, but I never actually played the game. Never had the opportunity to, never saw it at a friend’s house, never saw it at a store. I only recall seeing it in catalogs and advertisements, mostly I think for Apple ][ computers or Commodore 64.
The game revolves around a cellular automata that simulates a cave-in, triggered by the player as they extract treasure from the earth inside a cavern.
Atari Age has a version of it available on the store currently. And you might want to pick it up, if only to get access to this amazing version currently in prototype that I just watched a longplay video for. Check this game out:
The developer, Andrew Davie, wishes to be respectful to the IP rights of the original developers, and has stated that they will likely require proof of purchase of the original Boulder Dash in order to purchase his version when it becomes available.
This version looks absolutely incredible. The game is powered by an ARM processor, a super-chip in the cartridge that is far more powerful than the actual Atari 2600 console hardware. We’ve seen other Atari 2600 homebrew games powered by ARM-augmented cartridge expansions, such Champ Games’s releases from recent years, such as Galagon, Zookeeper, and the upcoming Elevator Agent. The color palette, sprite scaling, smooth sinewave motion, and audio are almost unbelievable. To me, this is what I want to see when game developers produce “throwback” games. The aesthetic is early 80s, but the other hardware constraints are lifted, allowing for things that wouldn’t have been possible back in the day, but look like they could have, if only.
Even though I have no memories of the original to give me nostalgia for this version, I’m instantly hyped to give this one a try. There’s no telling how long it will take to go from prototype to release, but I hope the wait isn’t terribly long. Hopefully there won’t be any Intellectual Property snags to prevent it from getting a general release.