Blog Games Sega SG-1000

Championship Lode Runner (SG-1000, 1985)

No time for losers.

The part of “Lode Runner” will be played by Walter Koenig.



DEVELOPER: Broderbund (port by Sega)

GENRE: Puzzle


Remember Lode Runner? Stick man with questionable agenda collects all the gold sacks in each level while being pursued by other stick men. Not quite a puzzle game, not quite an arcade game, something in between. People with moderate intelligence could beat the game with enough time, effort, and patience. Not so with the followup.

You’re gonna need the mind of a champion to even get past the first couple levels of Championship Lode Runner, let alone the entire fifty-level game. Like, eat a box of Wheaties a day, understand the entirety of quantum physics, and “Hey look, I found Bobby Fischer!” type-of champion. I’ve come to terms that I’m not smart enough to complete the game past level two. And you know what? My grandma is Mensa-level smart and she’s only reached level fifteen. No joke, my grandma owns a copy of Championship Lode Runner and has been playing it off and on for about twenty years, since I was a kid. This game does not front on its definition of “champion.”

In level two, for example, the game has the Lode Runner and an evil stick man falling adjacent to each other as the level begins. The Lode Runner is placed slightly above the stick man because as they fall, the Lode Runner will need to run atop the stick man’s head back and forth in order to collect four precariously placed pieces of gold. Fail to do this right the first time and you need to re-start the level. But that’s only the first part of the level. Many of the levels need to be analyzed and thought through before you even start. Unlike the original Lode Runner, there is no margin for error here, no multiple ways to collecting every gold bag. Play like a champion or get out.

But hey, the level’s in the shape of a turtle, so I can’t complain too much.

Unforgiving difficulty aside, Championship Lode Runner does make a couple much-needed improvements upon the original. For starters, you can abort any level at any time. This does take a life from you, but you have five lives and you receive a password upon the completion of each level, so lives are pretty expendable. The game wants you to use passwords. When you power on Championship Lode Runner for the first time and select ‘Play’ on the menu screen, the password entry is the first thing that pops up, not the first level. Write them down, memorize them, tattoo them on your forehead. Passwords forever. The game also has five different speed settings that you can change anytime throughout each level. Since one of my complaints about the last game was its overwhelming speed, the ability to shift between Speedy Gonzales and Eeyore-levels of movement pleases me.

Hey, how’s it goin’?

Even with the crazy hard challenge, Championship Lode Runner is a better game than its predecessor thanks to its improved features. Speed selection, the ability to restart levels, and ample passwords: all these things should have been in the original, but weren’t. Kaloo, kalay, here they are in a game I can’t play (or can barely play, if I’m being generous). But it’s not Championship Lode Runner‘s fault that I don’t have the mental muscle to devote to its challenging levels. It’s a top-notch puzzle title, for sure, just not one for the faint of brain.


4 replies on “Championship Lode Runner (SG-1000, 1985)”

I found the original Lode Runner very testing but this is insane !
It’s a shame the additional features from this game didn’t get into the original Lode Runner: music, passwords, speed select, etc. You know a sort of Lode Runner Champion Edition Turbo Alpha thing.

My family and I really enjoyed Championship Lode Runner a large number of years ago. We became familiar with the game and decided to try to beat all 1500 levels. To do this, we would work in shifts and leave the computer on so as not to lose our progress. We did beat it, and were awarded a certificate by Broderbund recognizing our feat. Reading these comments, I wonder how we did it, as none of us are at the Mensa level, or anywhere near it. Is there a version available for today’s computers. This is still our favorite game of all time.

Hi Jack! Thanks for reading and commenting.

The fact that you and your family beat this game is outstanding. And that you got an official Broderbund certificate for doing it? Can’t beat that.

As to your question, I don’t believe a newer copy of Championship Lode Runner exists for today’s computers. However, if you’re ok with emulation for incredibly old games, you could download a copy for the SG-1000 or, better yet, the Famicom version. I’m not going to post links to these, but they’re not hard to find. Unfortunately, these are probably your best options, since the game is no longer available to purchase new.

Hope you find it!

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