I’ve had a cutting machine for nearly a year and I am only just now making Lode Runner shit? I’m truly surprised. If you met me in college, you probably know my pick up line was basically “hi, my dad made Lode Runner!” (sorry not sorry, pops). If you’re new here, hi, my dad created Lode Runner. I am a goddamn Nintendo princess.
I don’t quite use it as a pick up line anymore though, because then I have to answer follow up questions about him and that gets real awkward, real fast. Since I am kind of blunt to a fault, I tend to accidentally slap people in the face with, “oh, he died by suicide in 2014.”
When he first died, one of the things I did to cope with it was to print out a bunch of little Lode Runner dudes, write RIP DES on the back of them, and hide them around town wherever I went. I have no idea where I got this idea from, but it helped me feel like I was carrying him with me… and seriously, just take whatever the fuck you can find to feel better in the wake of suicide loss. I also attempted for 2 years to get Lode Runner into the Video Game Hall of Fame (and it’s a real shame they still haven’t come through).
I waffle sometimes on the Lode Runner legacy. With the fame and fortune my dad received in the 80s, came a lot of societal bullshit that didn’t get along well with suffering from depression since he was a teenager (fun fact y’all: money does not solve depression and makes you question the motives of everyone around you). He love/hated the entire thing and it’s not something I can always celebrate without conflict.
However, I don’t want to avoid celebrating it at all. My dad was a goddamn genius, even if he didn’t know it or thought I was just being a good daughter when I said that. His accomplishment deserves to be celebrated. As an awkward college kid with no professional training, he created a video game in his spare time in the UW library that I know for a fact brought joy to millions of people. The creator of Tetris even said it was his favorite game at one point. Often when I do my not-so-humble-brag, the response is “OMG I LOVED THAT GAME SO MUCH!”
He was frustrated that most games at the time involved war and shooting shit… so he made a game of puzzles and fighting monsters and chasing gold. I wish I could have asked him about the irony in all that, but I wasn’t very articulate on my disdain for capitalism before he died. And here I am making vinyl decals to sell in my Etsy store because capitalism motivated me to commodity my hobbies, so I reckon the apple didn’t fall too far from the tree, did it?
But you have to admit “Lode Runner” is kind of funny on vehicle, yeah? I may or may not make some little ones to hide around town again.