Boulder Dash was released in 1984 for Atari, is a series of games released for home computers, and later ported to many other game platforms. Boulder Dash was created by Peter Liepa and Chris Gray, and on October 28, 1983, acquired and later published by First Star Software, which still owns the rights to this classic game. Boulder Dash inherits numerous game play similarities from the earlier 1982 classic game The Pit, by Japanese developer Taito. The protagonist of the classic Boulder Dash game is called Rockford. Rockford must dig through caves collecting diamonds and reach the exit within a time limit, while avoiding various types of dangerous creatures as well as obstacles and the constant danger of being crushed or trapped by an avalanche, or killed by an underground explosion.
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Rockford is the hero of the classic Boulder Dash game, he is controlled by the player. His goal is to collect diamonds and avoid monsters and falling rocks. Dirt and Space are two basic components of the play field. Dirt can serve for blocking and/or suspending objects, while space allows them to move freely. Rockford clears dirt as he moves, creating space. Walls are the delimiters of the level. Two basic types exist, destructible and indestructible. The exit is the final goal Rockford must reach after collecting enough diamonds. It is disguised as an indestructible wall, and reveals itself after the required number of diamonds is collected. Rocks are the most commonly encountered elements of the Boulder Dash game. Remove the dirt from beneath them, and they fall until they reach solid ground again. Falling rocks can crush enemies and also Rockford. Rocks can also "roll off" of other rocks and destructible walls if there is space beside them, and Rockford can also push single rocks sideways if there is nothing else in the way. Diamonds are the items Rockford must collect in order to open the exit of a level. Diamonds otherwise act like boulders. Fireflies are one of the common game play enemies. Next to a wall, they follow it to their left; otherwise they circle around a point in a 2x2 area. Dropping rocks or diamonds on them, make they explode in a 3x3 square, destroying anything in that area except indestructible walls and leaving empty space behind. They also explode when Rockford touches them, killing both themselves and Rockford. Butterflies are similar to fireflies, with two main differences. They follow the wall to their right and when they explode, they leave behind nine diamonds arranged in a 3x3 square. Amoeba is one of the most unpredictable elements of the game. It grows at a random rate, by expanding into adjacent space and dirt. It is not directly dangerous to Rockford, although it is capable of enclosing and trapping him, or blocking him from reaching the exit. Growing too large, it will solidify into a boulders, and if it is stopped from growing, it will crystallize into diamonds. Magic Walls look and act just like destructible walls except boulders dropped on the wall, falls through and turns into a diamonds. Diamonds dropped on a magic wall turns into boulders. The level settings specify the amount of time that magic walls will turn rocks into diamonds and vice versa; after which they deactivate, rocks or diamonds that fall onto them will simply disappear.