Miner 2049er

Miner 2049er
Company: Tigervision
Model #:
Year: 1983
Port of the Atari 8-bit game by Bill Hogue


Part Amidar, part Jumpman, Miner 2049er was one of the defining games of the 1980's.  Originally released for the Atari 8-bit computer line, Miner eventually made its way to 15 different systems all over the world and even had a sequel.   So why was Miner so popular?  The answer is simple; easy to learn yet addictive gameplay combined with interesting level design.  Of course even the most promising game can be ruined by poor programming.  Thankfully Bill Hogue was not only a brilliant game designer, but a skilled programmer as well.  Unfortunately for 2600 fans, Bill Hogue had nothing to do with this version...

The basic concept behind Miner is simple.  Bounty Bob must walk along every platform on the board while avoiding deadly radioactive mutants.  Every time Bob walks across a piece of the 'framework' the checkered pattern turns into a solid bar and becomes 'claimed'.  Once all the framework has been claimed, Bob will be transported to the next level of the mine.  Along the way Bob can grab various items that will turn the mutants 'edible' for a short time (think of them as power pellets).   Each level has different properties and equipment that can help or hinder Bob.  Learning how each board works is the key to winning the game.


Without a doubt, Miner was a difficult game to program on a system with as many limitations as the 2600.  A skilled programmer would have had a tough time trying to capture all the nuances of the original 8-bit version  Unfortunately the programmer that Tigervision hired wasn't quite up to challenge.  While it may look like Miner (if you squint), it doesn't play a thing like the original.  And for a game as sacred to gamers as Miner, this was unforgivable.


Poor gameplay is one thing, but flawed gameplay is another thing altogether.  In the original Miner, Bounty Bob could easily jump over the wandering mutants with little danger.  In the 2600 version, jumping is so difficult that even if Bob begins his jump next to a mutant that is going the opposite direction there's only a 1 in 3 chance he'll actually succeed.  Not being able to reliably jump over mutants kills what little hope this version had.  Jumping over gaps in the level is difficult as well, but not as impossible as jumping mutants.


While the original game had 10 different levels, the 2600 version has been stripped down to three.  Three more levels were included in pseudo sequel unique to the Atari 2600 called Miner 2049er Volume II.  The remaining missing levels involved some serious jumping, which is probably why they were scrapped.


The Slides

This is the first level in the 2600 version, and as such is somewhat easier than the others.  Here Bob must work his way around the level while being careful not to fall down the slides.  While the slides themselves aren't deadly, Bob is completely at their mercy until he reaches the end.  If the slide happens to pass through a mutant (and most do), Bob will be killed.  


The Transporters

This level can be a bit difficult because it involves some tough jumping.  The main feature of this level are the transporters (the colored arches) in the middle of the screen.  Bob can use these transporters to move to different parts of the level, but if he transports onto a mutant he will be killed.  Also take note of the two slides on the fourth platform that make for a one way trip.



The Cannon

This is the most interesting level of the bunch.  Here Bob must use the cannon to blast himself up to the ledges at the top of the screen.  But before Bob can use the cannon, he needs to load it with TNT.  By grabbing TNT charges from the store house at the bottom of the screen, Bob can launch himself to varying heights.  One charge will take Bob to the first ledge, two charges will boost Bob to the second ledge, and three charges will take Bob all the way to the top.  Of course it takes a bit of time to reach the ledges after being shot out the cannon, so timing Bob's landing to avoid the roving mutant can be difficult.  Also take note not to overload the cannon or Bob will suffer a horrifying (yet humorous) death.


With average graphics and flawed gameplay, the 2600 version of Miner is most frustrating than fun.  While it is possible with some practice to master the control quirks, the paltry three levels in this version don't offer the average player much incentive to keep playing.  If you're looking for a Miner fix, pick up the Atari 8-bit version instead.  It's almost like a completly different game.


Version Cart Text Description
?/??/83 DMINER Final Version (with level select)


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