he Boulder Dash series continued with a cave-design package and two coin-ops, and then ten years later the power-up laden GBA title Boulder Dash EX was released. “I think the rotation power-up was to support the linked play, which was very cool!” Richard enthuses. “It worked really well in terms of the combat when you were playing against another player. Because if you got a rotation power-up, and used it at the right time, then you knew you were going to use it but your opponent didn’t. You could also play against the AI, but it supported up to four players, which was killer.”
Three downloadable Boulder Dash games came out in the years after Boulder Dash EX, after which Boulder Dash Rocks! made good use of the unique hardware of the DS. “One of the modes was called Route Race,’” Richard beams, “where you looked at a cave, analysed what you had to do and then drew it with the stylus. Then you hit play, and what you had worked out would play out on the screen. Then Rockford needed to have oxygen when he was underwater, and I wanted to have boss fights, and all these new ideas were an attempt to take advantage of the platform we were on.”
After a short hiatus, the multiplatform release Boulder Dash-XL furthered Rockford’s adventures, which included a mode without opponents or time limits to worry about.
“Over the years, people had said to me that what they really liked was to figure out the solutions to the puzzles,” Richard says.
“So I suggested we make a series of caves for Boulder Dash-XL that were puzzle-centric, for players who didn’t have quick reflexes or great hand-eye coordination, but just wanted a mental challenge.