Boulder Dash

Platforms: Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari 2600, Atari 5200, Atari 8-bit, BBC Micro, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, Epoch Super Cassette Vision, Game Boy, IBM PC/Compatibles, Intellivision, MSX, NES / Famicom, PC-8800 Series, ZX Spectrum


Main Genre:
Gameplay Style:
Puzzle Elements


IBM PCjr version of Boulder Dash
IBM PCjr version of Boulder Dash
Boulder Dash is an action/puzzle game first released by First Star Software in 1984 for the Atari 800 and later ported to numerous other home computers and game consoles. In the game players need to search through boulder-filled underground caves with the goal of collecting jewels in as short a time as possible.


In Boulder Dash players control the character Rockford with the goal of collecting jewels in various, maze-like caves. There are a total of 16 caves, with each cave scrolling across several screens. Caves consist of dirt, walls, boulders, jewels, and various creatures; players need to safely navigate from the cave entrance to the exit within a limited amount of time. The exit is initially closed and can only be opened once the player has collected enough jewels (the number of jewels needed varies depending on the difficulty level selected and the particular cave). As players navigate through the dirt, it is removed and an empty space is left behind; if an empty space is left below a boulder or a jewel, it will fall (which, in turn, may cause other boulders to fall creating a cascading effect.) If either a boulder or a jewel falls on Rockford, a life is lost.

In addition to boulders and jewels, some levels include additional obstacles and challenges. Many caves have several enemy creatures wandering about in the empty space (usually they look like butterflies or boxes). Contact with any of the creatures causes players to lose a life. In many cases, if players can crush one of the creatures with a boulder it will turn into jewels. In some mazes it is only possible to collect enough jewels to open the exit by crushing one or more creatures. In some mazes there is a green ameoba which slowly increases in size as time passes. If the ameoba is enclosed in a space where it can't grow anymore, it will turn into jewels. If the ameoba grows too large, it turns into boulders. In some levels turning the ameoba into jewels is necessary in order to reach the exit. The ameoba is harmless if Rockford touches it, however it blocks the path and Rockford can't walk through it. If any of the creatures touch the ameoba they are destroyed.

Many of the caves are maze-like and will take a careful strategy to successfully navigate through without becoming trapped by boulders. In the event Rockford does become trapped and can not make any more moves, players can escape and restart the maze with the cost of one life.


Platform: Atari 2600
Code and Design: Thomas Jentzsch, Andrew Davie
Package Art and Design (re-release): William Thorup
Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
Program design by: Peter Liepa
Original concept by: Chris Gray
Thanks to: Steve Yolleck, Tom Marttinem, Ken Weymouth, Bill Mcleane
Documentation graphic design: Nick Mescoultz


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