Gold Miner

Gold Miner is an attempt at cloning Lode Runner.  Fair enough.  Lode Runner is a cherished classic, although the reasons for that are completely lost on me.  I always  thought it was kind of dull.  It’s probably a generational thing.  Lode Runner came out approximately six years before I was born.  Maybe in those dark times, firing up Lode Runner on your Apple II beat adjusting the rabbit ears on your television set so that you could see the latest episode of A*Team.  I don’t know.  I do know that it’s one of those series that should be allowed a graceful retirement, instead of being dragged back out into a market it no longer has a place in.  Granted, I hear that all seven people who bought the Xbox Live Arcade remake of it thought it was just peachy.  And then there was the time they dressed it up in a costume and called it Panda Craze on DSi and PSP.  Same shit, different name, still fucking boring as hell.

Gold Miner plays like a Lode Runner clone that was made by someone who got all their information on the series second-hand.  And then programmed the game using just their feet.  While submerged underwater.  In a swimming pool filled with moonshine.  It’s bad.  You have to run around collecting gold while avoiding little bush monsters.  Once you get ten piles of it, the map restarts and you keep going.  You can cut a hole on a platform with the right trigger.  If an enemy falls in it, you can smack it three times to kill it.  You can jump with A, which is a much faster and easier way to avoid enemies.  There are no Lode Runner-style puzzles here.  Gold Miner is an endless arcade game.

And it’s terrible.  Really, truly awful.  The controls are slow, the jumping is floaty, there’s clipping issues, the sound effects sound like they were recorded using one of those teddy bears that you speak into, and it’s just soul-killingly boring.  I can sum up everything you need to know about how much testing went into Gold Miner with this: if you press the start button in the middle of a game, it takes you to a menu.  The menu has four options, including “new game” and “resume game.”  No matter which you choose, the game gets restarted.  Your score is lost, your lives are reset.  Disgraceful.  I only could stomach twenty minutes of Gold Miner, but with a fundamental mistake that big, I’m guessing that’s nineteen minutes longer than its own developer spent testing it.

Gold Miner was developed by Winsor Computing

80 Microsoft Points thought BurgerTime was the better game over Lode Runner in the making of this review.  I know, apples & oranges and all that. 

Gameplay footage courtesy of

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16 Responses to Gold Miner

  1. There seems to have been a glut of untested games recently. How does this shit get through peer review? Distraction? Blackmail?

  2. Starglider says:

    Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to fail a game for blatantly broken logic. It’s only a valid fail if it locks up or crashes completely (to the ‘code 4′ screen). But you are allowed to fail it if it crashes after you pulled a memory unit in and out twenty times while pressing all the buttons on a guitar hero controller signed into the guest account as Player 4.

    The peer review standards have always been a bit of a joke like that.

    • Huh, interesting. I figured ‘resume = restart’ would be sufficiently broken.

      Zombie Crossing got through peer review with a pretty damn conspicuous code 4. My faith in peer review is shaken beyond recovery. Or would be, if I’d had any faith before.

    • Jim Perry says:

      “Unfortunately you aren’t allowed to fail a game for blatantly broken logic. It’s only a valid fail if it locks up or crashes completely (to the ‘code 4′ screen). ”

      That’s incorrect. If you’re an App Hub member and peer reviewing by that standard you should be ashamed of yourself. If you’re not please make sure you know what you’re talking about before giving out false information.

      • CJ says:

        You can fail a game for many reasons, but “This game is complete ass!” cannot be one of them. :D

        The peer review system is terrible. But at the very least it catches some of the more extreme cases for unplayable games.

        • Jim Perry says:

          “You can fail a game for many reasons, but “This game is complete ass!” cannot be one of them. ”

          I never said you could. You can fail a game that’s broken though, even if it doesn’t crash.

      • Starglider says:

        I’ve failed games in peer review and got exactly that response ‘it didn’t crash so it’s not a valid fail’. As a result anyone with ethics has to torture test the game until they find a way to make it code 4 before they can actual fail it for a blatant gameplay issue. You are well aware of this, it comes up in threads on App Hub all the time. There was even a thread about whether you could fail games that crash to an error report screen, since it’s not technically a code 4. I think we won that one on the basis that it was still a ‘lock up forcing restart’, but the fact that it was even a debate is pretty sad.

  3. Wow, I feel like this should have been part of one of my compilations, just …. christ … it probably takes longer to download it then will be spent playing it.

  4. Adman says:

    I really hate games like this.

    Nothing fresh. Nothing new. Just a re-skin of a 30 year old game. At least try to inject some originality into it.

  5. It’s a re-skin, except they got the new skin off of a pimply, rotting carcass of a long deceased chimpanzee.

    Now that I got my strange comparison over and done with, this game looks horrible. It shouldn’t of passed peer review. If the game has a defect, which I would classify the resume = restart to be, it should of been failed. It’s part of the evil checklist. You could also put it under false misrepresentation of the game’s features, which is also part of the evil checklist.

  6. Farwalk says:

    Programming with your feet is bad?

    Team, put your socks back on. We are re-engineering our entire work flow. The Google likes the thumbs, lets try coding just using our thumbs, chaps.

  7. Steve says:

    I have not tried this game, but the fact that the old classics get so little love these days makes me a little sad. At least we just got a new Choplifter in XBLA, so it’s not all bad.

    I must be old, because I can not judge which games will do well on XBLIG and which ones won’t. I personally like the miner games. Also, there are some obvious winners like Little Racers Street, and I can even see others that would have obvious appeal to a 14 year old male, but the success (or failure) of a vast majority of them is an enigma to me.

    For example, both “No Luka No” and “Techno Kitten Adventure” have seen solid success, but in my day (back in 1982 on the Atari 800) these types of “games” were immediately dismissed. I’ll grant you that TKA is very polished, but it’s hardly a game. When I play it, I feel like one of those ducks that has to bang on a tiny toy piano at the carnival to get some corn. It’s basically spam A and be mesmerized by the video. When I sit down to play Xbox, I don’t want to be reduced to the level of a carnival duck, but I’m obviously in the minority.

    The best example on the other end of the spectrum is GemChase that is original, challenging, has an incredible amount of polish and is almost dead last on the sales list. Admittedly it is a little repetitive, but not compared to the game play of some of the above.

  8. Among several other problems, I pointed out the resume issue in playtest, but obviously Winsor Computing decided to ignore my feedback. They never even responded to my post. So it’s not a lack of testing, but simply a case of ignorance and lack of ambition.

    If someone found an issue of this severity in our game, I’d want him to fail it in review because we want to deliver a proper game to the best of our abilities. One’s abilities might be limited, of course, so the only reason not to fix an issue that is pointed out to you could be that you simply don’t know how to fix it (without breaking even more). But I guess you shouldn’t even bother publishing a game if you can’t even figure out a basic feature such as a resume function…

  9. CJ says:

    Or you know, they could’ve just UNPAUSED the game. A variable and a check before any real gameplay was updated would’ve been BRAINDEAD easy to do, wouldn’t even take 10 minutes.

    In fact, I will save anyone the trouble of creating this feature with a simple code. The code has to be ALL be in one file(your Game1.cs file), unless you know the required changes to make code run in separate files. No critiques required on the code;if you know how to make this, then you don’t need the code. :) If anyone wants, I could maybe even edit their existing update code to include pausing.

    NOTE: Input checking shouldn’t be in the “pause-checking” condition, where most update functions should be. Otherwise, you won’t be able to unpause the game, as the game will only check for input when unpaused if you do this. Keep that in mind!

    make these variables public AND static:
    public static int game_paused=0;
    public static int button_delay=0;

    In your Input function:
    if (button(start) is pressed*)
    {
    if (button_delay==0)
    {
    game_paused++;
    if (game_paused>1)
    {game_paused=0;}
    }
    button_delay=5;
    }

    if (button_delay>0)
    {button_delay–;}
    /*
    this code is needed, to make it so that when you hold the start button, the pause function won’t keep going on and off as you hold the button; once you press the start button and hold it, you’ll have to let go of the start button and press it again, like a normal game.
    */

    In your Update function:
    if (game_paused==0)
    {
    //add updating code here
    }
    /*
    This will make it so that NOTHING you want to happen when the game is unpaused, occurs when the game IS paused! Only when it’s unpaused will the game update as normal.
    */

    * = This is the only part of the code you’ll HAVE to edit so it’ll work! Everything else should work as intended. If you know how to code input conditions for your controller index, this shouldn’t be a problem. :) Just check if the start button is being pressed.

    Now there are NO excuses! :D

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