C64 - Miner 2019`er - 2022

C64 - Miner 2019`er - 2022

It seems that the C64 has largely ceased to be a Retro platform in recent years, whose primary purpose is to occasionally arouse nostalgia. Whether it's a classic hardware release, desktop emulation, or the C64Mini / Maxi option. The titles of new games especially contribute to this conclusion, which in recent years have enriched the already endless catalog of software offers that was conceived exactly 40 years ago… And with their exclusivity, they added a special dimension to the whole story.

The classic versions of the game from the title, were not so epochal when compared to some other games in C64 history. They were practically ports from the eight-bit Atari, Miner 2049’er from 1983 and two years later, a slightly more advanced design Bounty Bob strikes back. However, due to its mechanics, the game won with its addictiveness and as such consistently marked that pioneering period of computer gaming. 1985 put an end to the whole story, as well as any activity on stage, game designer Bill Hogue. 35 years have passed since then, and "passions" have been aroused again due to the trailer that hinted that Bounty Bob is back on the screens of the already largely resurrected eight-bit system as an exclusive. 

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Together with the (obsolete) Hogue, who granted a license and a green light to design the official sequel. The game unofficially appeared in 2021 and was greeted with a bit of disappointment through a review by the British (also revived) C64 magazine ZZap. The direct objection concerned the excessive weight in the game and thus encouraged the authors to make certain corrections in the game, which was reflected in the official release date of the final edition. It is interesting that throughout history, the editors of the magazine in question assessed the great weight of the games as positive. Times have changed, as have the players, but that's a different story. All in all, the wait for the game has gotten a bit longer since then, but it's over these days. Miner 2019`er has arrived on the "shelves" of the game's official distributor, Psytronik.

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We believe that most of the old Commodore team is familiar with the concept of the game and that they have experienced it at least once through the classic versions. This is a platform game in which you run a Bounty Bob character with the task of removing contaminated fields by going over them for a limited time. Each screen is in itself a mixture of old-school pixel jump mechanics and logical elements in the form of using various devices as a solution for progress.

The final game comes with two difficulty-level variants: Classic and Casual. Casual is admittedly just an adjective in the spirit of today, but in the case of this game, it is not subject to that definition in full. However, the difference from the Classic weight is somewhat relieving. Jumps from slightly higher platforms are forgiving, and the creatures have an irresistibility a few seconds more after taking the items that serve to eliminate them. Also, the levels are not reset after the lost life. Everything else has not changed. There are 25 levels, each of which is a kind of death-dealing manifesto that does not forgive even the slightest drop in concentration or inattention when jumping.

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Bob has to use hay carts to land, collect birthday balloons to prevent them from bursting, jump trampoline, use elevators, turn off switches, put out fires, guard against volcanic eruptions, etc. Often, the levels contain various hidden possibilities such as bonus stocks or go directly to the next screen. Some screens are a real celebration of the author's creativity with examples of logical entanglements that require prior analysis and memorization of the most effective questions.

These are all elements without which the player has almost no chance of any success while every second is precious. Of course, if we leave aside the "fair approach," today the possibilities of playing this type of game are more comfortable, so emulation allows recording positions and other tool assist options that facilitate gaming sessions.

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The graphics experience has largely remained in that classic mode and is not an example of an indicator of platform capabilities. He has never been in the field of any priority. Although, now we can notice some discrete graphic details here and there that were not in the classic versions. And there is a mini intro, albeit a "robust" oldshool design that evokes that Bob from 2049 arrived in 2019 through a time machine and that he must return to 2049. It is similar with the sound that has hardly changed.

With the exception of the introductory music track, which is in the spirit of the cult tunes of Rob Hubbard and the rest of the composer team at Commodore. The only objection can be made to the slower routine of loading from a floppy disk on the original hardware. Although an alternative solution exists in the form of CRT / cartridge game format and with which the disadvantage is overcome.

Final impressions

Miner 2019`er is intended for the old guard of players, who grew up with this type of game and as such, can understand it. The game is tough, extremely old-school, addictive, and so different from almost everything that the mainstream gaming scene on modern platforms offers. And in today’s Retro scene, it represents the very top of the Commodore gaming offering.

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