x=RND(4835) #4: Rockford

November 24, 2008

Welcome to the regular feature of The Joy Of Sticks where I visit Atari Legend and play and review the first game that appears on its ‘Featured Game’ sidebar, no matter what it is. This time up it’s… (drum roll please) …Rockford!


  • Rockford
  • Vintage:1988
  • Developer/Publisher: Melbourne House
  • Genre: Puzzle

I’m unsure whether this is an official port or license of the Boulderdash arcade game (which was also known as Rockford, and who’s protagonist is called Rockford) or if it is just one of the original’s many homages (read ‘rip-offs’). Either way, it shares the exact same template: collect stuff while avoiding death by falling rock.

Said rocks fall when the earth is dug from beneath them, and this can result in you being squashed, trapped, or even cut off from the collectables, therefore rendering the level impossible to complete. Also sharing the 80 caverns are various nasties which are fatal to the touch.


Though the game is fairly similar to its big arcade brother, it misses the boat completely when it comes to gameplay. The controls are very touchy and you will often find Rockford running one step too far – often with disasterous results; a fault unforgivable in a game such as this, where precise movement is demanded and the lack of it punished by having to retread through the whole level again.

Even though there is not a lot of on screen action, the animation is jerky, as is the sporadic and invasive scrolling.


Its not all bad though. There’s a nice tune from Jas Brooke on the title screen, some of the sprites are nicely realised, and the option to choose your starting world is a welcome one. So if you’re a big fan of the Diamonds and Boulders genre you may want to check it out – just don’t expect too much.

I’m not a newcomer to this style of game, my teeth well cut on the Acorn Electron’s Repton at a young age, but I couldn’t get on with Rockford at all. I think I’ll stick to Skulldiggery.

Score: stickhalfstick



  1. Ah, the loving coziness of a well-written regular feature… Now, if I remember correctly, and despite not being much of a Bouldrdash/Dig Dud fan, this should have felt as a pretty decent game. Then again, I played it ages ago.

  2. Rockford is one great game!! It is quite frustrating to begin with but eventually you’ll love it. It kind of encapsulates my life as a young lad. I used to go to the beach and search for pretty stones but usually I’d get coiled up by a snake, smashed in the face by a pie, and sent to the old Boot Hill. Or I’d fall into a deep space oblivion and get my socks blown off my a surge of electricity! But I’d always be home in time for tea 🙂

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