Sunday, May 6, 2018

Hyper Lode Runner for Nintendo Game Boy (1990)

Original ad published in the September 1990 issue 

of Electronic Gaming Monthly (no. 14).

Press to enlarge or download in higher resolution.

Strange artwork for an all-time classic

Released at least on 28 different consoles, the original Lode Runner was a 1983 game developed firstly for Apple, Atari, Commodore, VIC-20 and PC systems. It then spread absolutely everywhere. The artwork for the Game Boy version remains curious, to say the least.

Both NES and Game Boy versions of this game feature "kiddy" graphics, as you see below. Same goes for the SNES version. Other versions are quite different and play really fast. Not here, though. You'll have to plan your way ahead in this hybrid of arcade-type gameplay and puzzle solving headaches. Here's a clip comparing LR on a bunch of different systems.  

The printed ad falls under a different category. Bandai surely knew the actual game screens were the weak point in their advertising. So they decided to omit them completely from their publicity. But the artwork is also incredibly different from the actual feel of the game. It has nothing to do with it, in fact. It's a bit like Ghosts 'n Goblins, with a fantasy heavy vibe. I suppose Bandai tried to appeal to the younger audience with this Game Boy product, leaving the PC crowd with the more mature version of the game. 

Another grating point about the ad: read the copy. You'd think it was the sequel to MadMax or some other dystopian future. However, once you boot the game, you're greeted with a bouncy and catchy theme that plays along every level.  But that was a secondary consideration for the distribution team, the important thing being LR had to be pushed on the mega-popular Nintendo hand-held.

Hyper Lode Runner print ad copy

The Labyrinth of Doom

Earthdate 2264. These are troubled times for the planet. After centuries of peace, the renegade Red Lord of Darkness has led his cyborg fanatics in a bloody revolution that has overthrown the United World Government. Millions of political prisoners are being tortured in his infamous Labyrinth of Doom far beneath the surface of the planets. Very little is known about this subterranean mazo of brick-walled catacombs. Just vague rumors about the hidden millions in stolen gold guarded by a ruthless army of mutant cyborg zombies commanded by the merciless General Zod, governor of the Red Lord's death camps. Only one thing is sure...none of your predecessors have ever come out of this dreaded place alive. But, you must find a way out with a lode of gold big enough to launch the counterrevolution. You are the last hope: the last of the great Lode Runners.

Bandai is a registered trademark of Bandai America, Inc.
Lode Runner is a trademark of Broderbund Inc.
1983 Doug Smith 
1989 Bandai America, Inc.

Official Game Boy video line game pak

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