Cover art (Atari 2600)
|Developer(s)||Big Five Software|
|Publisher(s)||Big Five Software|
1992 (Game Boy)
2007 (mobile version)
|Distribution||Cartridge (for non-mobile versions)|
Miner 2049er is a platform video game created by Bill Hogue that was released in 1982 by Big Five Software. The game was licensed in conjunction with International Computer Group (ICG). At the time of its release, Miner 2049'er was notable for having ten different screens, which was a large number for a platform game. By way of comparison, Donkey Kong had four screens, and most of the home versions had only three. The title 'Miner 2049er' is a play on the nickname 'Miner 49er' given to those who flocked to California during the gold rush of the mid-19th century.
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Under the name Big Five Software, Bill Hogue programmed commercial computer games in the late 1970s for Radio Shack's TRS-80 Model I home computer. He created several games patterned after actual arcade games, such as Super Nova (Asteroids), Attack Force (Targ), Cosmic Fighter (Astro Fighter), Galaxy Invasion (Galaxian), Meteor Mission II (Lunar Rescue), Robot Attack (Berzerk), and Defense Command (Missile Command). Robot Attack was the first commercial game for the TRS-80 to feature digitized voice.
Hogue was originally going to write Miner 2049er for the TRS-80 Model I, but Radio Shack discontinued it in mid-1982, so he instead was forced to develop the game on the Atari 800. Due to a production delay, it was first released on the Apple II. A string of ports followed for the IBM PC, Commodore 64, VIC-20, Atari 5200, Atari 2600, Texas Instruments TI/99-4A, and Colecovision. The Atari 2600 version was too big to fit in a 4k cartridge ROM, so two separate cartridges were released, each containing half the game's 16 levels.
After a false start in 1984 with the release of the sequel Scraper Caper, Hogue finally released in 1985 the official sequel, Bounty Bob Strikes Back. However, it never achieved the same level of success as its predecessor.
Miner 2049er made a comeback in the mobile gaming market with a re-release in 2007 by Magmic Inc. This version contains two forms of the game. One is a faithful recreation of Hogue's Atari 800 original; the second a modernized version with new graphics and ten new levels. The remake received an IGN Editor's Choice Award and won the Best Revival category in the Best Of 2007 IGN awards. In 2011, Magmic added support for iOS devices.
Bounty Bob is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police on a mission to search through all of Nuclear Ned's abandoned uranium mines for the treacherous Yukon Yohan. Bob must claim each section of each mine by running over it. There are a wide variety of futuristic obstacles that he must deal with such as matter transporters, hydraulic scaffolds, and jet-speed floaters and he must also avoid radioactive creatures that have been left behind in the mines.
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As Bounty Bob, the player's goal is to inspect every section of each mine in search of the evil Yukon Yohan while avoiding the various radioactive creatures that inhabit the mine. As Bounty Bob walks over a section of flooring, it fills with color. To complete the level, every section of flooring must be colored. There are ten mines in total (eleven in the ColecoVision port). Each level is timed and must be completed before the player runs out of oxygen.
Along the way, Bob encounters many objects left behind by past miners. By collecting these, bonus points are achieved and the radioactive creatures smile and turn green. While in this state, Bob can collect them and earn extra points.
Various obstacles in each mine aid and hinder Bob's progress. Ladders allow him to climb up or down to the next platform, Matter transporters teleport him to other matter transporters in that mine, chutes slide Bob off a platform (often against his will), and pulverizers crush Bob if he gets in their way.
Most levels contain some custom element, which varies from level to level. Pressing the space bar for several seconds skips a level. On the Atari 800, the player can key in the phone number on the title screen, followed by a level number to skip to that level.