Boulder Dash

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Boulder Dash
Boulder Dash NES.jpg
NES box art
Developer(s)Data East (NES)
Beam Software (Game Boy)
Publisher(s)First Star Software
Designer(s)Peter Liepa
Chris Gray
Programmer(s)Peter Liepa
Chris Gray
Composer(s)Yusuke Takahama, Takafumi Miura, Shogo Sakai (NES)
Tania Smith (Game Boy)
Platform(s)Atari 8-bit, Arcade, Apple II, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, ColecoVision, NES, BBC Micro, Acorn Electron, IBM PC, Amstrad CPC, Amiga, iOS, Intellivision, Mac OS, Atari ST, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Nintendo DS, Nintendo 3DS, Android, PMD 85, Atari 2600[1]
Release1984: Atari 8-bit, Apple II, C64, Spectrum
1985: Amstrad
Rockford drops a series of boulders on butterflies which explode into diamonds and fall down the shafts.

Boulder Dash, is a 2D puzzle video game released in 1984 by First Star Software for Atari 8-bit computers.[2] It was created by Canadian developers Peter Liepa and Chris Gray. The player controls Rockford,[3] who must dig through caves collecting gems and diamonds and reach the exit within a time limit, while avoiding various types of dangerous creatures as well as falling rocks and the constant danger of being crushed or trapped by an avalanche, or killed by an underground explosion.

Boulder Dash was ported to many 8-bit and 16-bit systems, turned into a coin-operated arcade game, and followed by multiple sequels and re-releases. It created what was later labeled the rocks-and-diamonds genre, influencing games such as Repton and direct clones such as Emerald Mine.

As of January 1, 2018 the BBG Entertainment GmbH owns own the intellectual property rights to Boulder Dash.[citation needed]


Review scores
Sinclair User5/10[6]
Your Sinclair8/10[7]
Home Computing Weekly5/5[9]

II Computing said that "Bright, colorful animation coupled with a breezy story line make this game more than just a momentary diversion."[10]

Mean Machines gave the Game Boy port of Boulder Dash a score of 90%, praising it as "one of the finest video games ever written", describing the game as "one to buy as soon as possible" and noting its faithfulness to the original Commodore 64 version.[11] The same publication reviewed the NES version favourably, stating that it was "an extremely impressive title" and "one of the greatest games ever written." It was given a 92% rating.[12]

The ZX Spectrum version was placed ninth in the Your Sinclair Top 100 Speccy Games Of All Time (Ever) by journalist Stuart Campbell.[13]

IGN reviewed the Virtual Console release of the Commodore 64 version. Although the graphics and sound were both found to be dated they enjoyed the game stating that it "still feels as fresh as it did in 1984." They concluded by stating "though it doesn't look like much, Boulder Dash rocks."[14]


  • Boulder Dash (1985 – Arcade) – in 1985 another arcade version was released on Data East's "DECO Cassette System", with improved graphics but a reduced display grid on a vertical monitor.[15]
  • Boulder Dash II (1985) – published under several different titles; Rockford's Riot on the MSX, Rockford's Revenge on the C64. The second release in Japan was titled Champion Boulder Dash,[15] but it is not a port of the western game.[16]
  • Boulder Dash 3 (1986 – Apple II, C64, Spectrum, PC) – monochrome space-themed graphics and poorly designed levels made this a critical failure.[15]
  • Boulder Dash Construction Kit (1986 – Apple II, C64, Spectrum, Atari 8-bit computers, Atari ST) – this release included a small number of levels (12 caves and 3 intermission levels),[17] but was titled Boulder Dash IV – The Game for the Spectrum re-release.[15] The title allowed players access to tools which allowed them to design their own levels.
  • Super Boulder Dash (1986 – Apple II, C64, PC) – a compilation of Boulder Dash and Boulder Dash II published by Electronic Arts.[18]
  • Rockford (1988 – Arcade, Amiga, Atari 8-bit, Atari ST, Arcade, Spectrum,[19] Amstrad, C64)[15] - Rockford was originally a licensed arcade game produced by Arcadia Systems, and later converted to various home computer formats.
  • Boulder Dash Part 2 (1990 – Arcade)[15]
  • Boulder Dash (1990 - Game Boy)[15]
  • Boulder Dash (1990 - NES)[15]
  • Boulder Dash EX (2002 – Game Boy Advance) - this one has a new "EX mode" and "Classic mode" which is a direct port of the 1984 PC version.[15]
  • Boulder Dash Xmas 2002 Edition (2002 – PC)[15]
  • GemJam Gold (2003 – PC) – the game's credits claim this is based on Boulder Dash, and is licensed by First Star.[15]
  • Boulder Dash – Treasure Pleasure (2003 – PC)[15]
  • Boulder Dash: Rocks! (2007 – DS, iOS)[15]
  • Boulder Dash Vol 1 (2009 – iOS)[15]
  • Boulder Dash-XL (2011 - Xbox Live Arcade, PC)[20]
  • Boulder Dash - The Collection! (2011 – Android)[21]
  • Boulder Dash (2011 – Atari 2600) - limited edition of 250 copies.[22]
  • Boulder Dash-XL 3D (2012 - Nintendo 3DS) - 3D port of Boulder Dash-XL.
  • Boulder Dash-XL by HeroCraft (2012-2014 – iOS) - has a retro mode which copies the look of the classic Boulder Dash.
  • Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary co-published by TapStar Interactive and First Star Software, Inc. with a world designed by the original creator Peter Liepa as well as another world by TapStar CEO, Chris Gray. This sequel was developed in collaboration by TapStar Interactive, First Star Software, SoMa Play Inc. and Katsu Entertainment LLC (2014 - Android, iOS) as both a Premium (paid) and a freemium game.[23]
  • Boulder Dash (2015 – Intellivision) – Co-published by First Star Software, Inc. and Classic Game Publishers, Inc./Elektronite[24]
  • Boulder Dash: 30th Anniversary (2016 – PC and Mac) – co-published by TapStar Interactive and First Star Software, Inc. with a world designed by the original creator Peter Liepa as well as another world by Chris Gray.


  1. ^ "Boulder Dash". First Star Software.
  2. ^ "Interview with author Peter Liepa". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  3. ^ "Boulder Dash". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved October 6, 2013.
  4. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  5. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  6. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  7. ^ "Boulderdash". Archived from the original on June 16, 2013. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  8. ^ "Zzap!64 100th Issue Pull-Out Special Page 5". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  9. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  10. ^ Shapiro, Neil (Oct–Nov 1985). "Of Jewels and Ghouls and Butterflies and Strategies of War". II Computing. pp. 24–26. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  11. ^ Rignall, Julian; Richard Leadbetter (June 1991). "Boulderdash review". Mean Machines (9). Archived from the original on December 21, 2016. Retrieved June 4, 2009.
  12. ^
  13. ^ Campbell, Stuart (January 1992). "The YS Top 100 Speccy Games Of All Time (Ever) - Number 24 to 2". Your Sinclair (73). Future Publishing. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Campbell, Stuart (2008). "The Definitive Boulder Dash". Retro Gamer (53): 32–41.
  16. ^ "Oh! FM-7 Museum". Retrieved December 6, 2012.
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Super Boulder Dash Manual" (PDF). Electronic Arts. Retrieved June 1, 2019.
  19. ^ "Rockford". World of Spectrum. Retrieved November 23, 2008.
  20. ^ "Boulder Dash XL Announced". Bluesnews. November 9, 2010.
  21. ^ "Boulder Dash - The Collection for Android Announced".
  22. ^
  23. ^ Hilliard, Kyle (January 21, 2014). "Original Boulder Dash Creators Team-Up For Mobile Remake". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved January 21, 2014.
  24. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-18. Retrieved 2019-08-03.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

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