Oil's Well

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Oil's Well
Cover art of Oil's Well
Developer(s)Sierra On-Line
Publisher(s)Sierra On-Line
Programmer(s)Thomas J. Mitchell[1]
Ivan Strand (Apple)[1]
Composer(s)Ken Allen
Platform(s)Apple II, Atari 8-bit, C64, ColecoVision, PC booter, MS-DOS, MSX, Sharp X1
Release1983: Apple, Atari, C64
1984: ColecoVision, PC
1985: MSX, Sharp
1990: MS-DOS

Oil's Well is a computer game published by Sierra On-Line in 1983. The game was written for the Atari 8-bit family by Thomas J. Mitchell.[1] Oil's Well is similar to the 1982 arcade game Anteater, re-themed to be about drilling for oil instead of a hungry insectivore. Ports were released in 1983 for the Apple II and Commodore 64, in 1984 for ColecoVision and as a PC booter, then in 1985 for MSX and the Sharp X1. A version with improved visuals and without Mitchell's involvement was released for MS-DOS in 1990.


The player attempts to manage an oil drilling operation and collect oil. This is done by moving the drill head through a maze using four directional control buttons; the head is trailed by a pipeline connecting it to the base. Subterranean creatures populate the maze; the head can destroy the creatures, but the pipeline is vulnerable. As the player traverses the maze, the pipe grows longer, but pressing a button quickly retracts the head. The player can advance through eight different levels.


Ahoy! stated that while the Commodore version's graphics and sounds were only "serviceable; gameplay is, in my experience, unique ... Recommended".[2] InfoWorld called the IBM PCjr version "a clever, basic game".[3]

The early 1980s U.S. gaming magazine Computer Games awarded Oil's Well the 1984 Golden Floppy Award for Excellence, in the category of "Maze Game of the Year."[4]


Despite already being a clone of Anteater, several additional clones borrowed the theme of Oil's Well: Pipeline Run for the Commodore 64 in 1990[5] and Oilmania for the Atari ST in 1991.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Hague, James. "The Giant List of Classic Game Programmers".
  2. ^ Davies, Lloyd (April 1984). "Oil's Well". Ahoy!. pp. 57–58. Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  3. ^ Mace, Scott (1984-08-13). "PCjr: Back to Basics". InfoWorld. p. 38. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Computer Games Magazine 1984 Golden Floppy Award for Excellence". Computer Games Magazine: 18. July–August 1984.
  5. ^ Pipeline Run at Lemon 64
  6. ^ "Oil's Well". Atari Mania.

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