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Subject: Important Games: Miner 2049'er (Atari 800, 1982)
Every one of us is a result of the experiences and lessons of our life.  The people we met, the things we did, and more importantly for some of us than others, the games we played.  I learned a lot from games and the things in their orbits.  The science of ergonomics, the kindness from strangers in arcades, an urge to tinker and hack: all of these things games taught me. 

Even today, games are a part of my life.  Interestingly, I find the kinds of games available to modern players increasingly less interesting.  I think the games I used to play change how I see modern ones, everything new through the filter of old.

So in the interest of looking backward for a moment, these are the games in my past.  It's not chronological, it's not comprehensive, but these are the games I remember.  These games shaped me in interesting ways.

Number one: Miner 2049'er.

[Image: /grafx/games/Miner2049er-4.jpg]
Original box art.

This game was great fun.  The concept was simple: walk over every part of the platform to colour it in.  When every bit was coloured, the level ended and the next began.  What was unique about it was its player-hating learning curve and the silly extremes it went through to kill you. 

The learning started on level one: a small platform required a well-timed jump, but because it was on a slope the angle was misleading: Pretty much everyone died there the first time, and my mom found it tricky every time.  Yeah, my whole family played it.  Years later I introduced it to my wife, and she loved it as well.  How could she not fall in love with the misshapen Bounty Bob as he quested through Nuclear Ned's abandoned uranium mines, looking for Yukon Yohan?

[Image: /grafx/games/Miner2049er-1.png]
Meet Bounty Bob.

Oh, it was silly.

If you fell from too great a height (about half your body height) you'd compress into the ground, leaving only your hat.  If you touched anything radioactive, you'd go all melty and hiss as you collapsed into the ground, leaving only your melty hissy hat.

[Image: /grafx/games/Miner2049er-2.png]
Get your timing right.  Green = good.

One level filled most of the lower level with a pulsing pool of radioactive goo, so any missteps saw you hissing and melting into your hat after what seemed like an agonizingly long fall.  Another level placed a powerup right above your head as the level started, but this one deceived: it was radioactive and instead of giving you invincibility, it killed you on the spot.

[Image: /grafx/games/Miner2049er-3.gif]
Level 6.  Don't fall.

One level had a cannon which you could manouver left and right.  You primed it with explosives, one bag of powder for every vertical level traveled.  It was all too easy to grab too much powder, and launch yourself way past the top of the screen, with predictable results soonafter. 

The game was packed with features, each level with something new and dangerous: scissorlifts, moving platforms, slides, crushers and teleporters, and...  Um, to this day I don't know what the baddies were supposed to be, or why they turned to 2-legged happy faces when they were safe to touch.  But each level was packed with them.

It had only ten levels, and I don't think I ever beat it, but what a great time we had.  The whole family played, and we all roared when someone got one of the tiny, difficult jumps wrong and died messily. 

Bill Hogue, the original author, released an emulator so you can play the original game on any Windows PC.  Give it a go, why not?  Arrow keys, and escape to jump.  =)

Level five:

Leven ten:
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