Ode to Lode Runner

Not for sale

Ode to Lode Runner
By Nils Berggren age 15

First off you start as a human
with arms and legs and two guns
that make the ground disintegrate. Y
ou mindlessly tumble through the holes
but then the ground reintegrates.

About 10 seconds behind you
are two desperate bandits that crave the gold too.
They canter after you. Even their slightest touch
would consume you and put you back at the start.
You can also capture the bandits in the holes
and the holes will eat them up,
but like PacMan they’ll rejuvenate at the top of the level.

The main objective is to get all the golds
as fast as lightening.
You cannot jump up,
only down through the holes.

They scan the screen
and it shows you everything.
You fall to the first ladder, intense, pressurized.
I scan my eyes and try to focus on the route.

This broadside celebrates the partnership of Seattle Arts & Lectures’ Writers in the Schools Program and Seattle Children’s Hospital, empowering pediatric patients with guidance from poets Sierra Nelson and Ann Teplick. It was produced at the School of Visual Concepts in April 2014 and letterpress printed by Sarah Kulfan in a limited edition of 110.

After reading Nils’ poem, I downloaded Load Runner for my phone and play it occasionally when I’m waiting to catch a plane. I don’t know how many levels there are, but I’ve made it through at least forty and there seem to be many more still to achieve.

This was printed with photopolymer plates for the black text and ladder and red dots, and a linoleum block for the yellow blocks. I  used an inking brayer to get some texture and shading around the edges of the yellow blocks.

The idea behind Lode Runner is that you are trying to collect all of the gold without being captured by the minions that chase you. You can evade them by dropping through levels and climbing ladders. In this image,there is a single white dot that is heading for the ladder which will lead it out of this level and into the next.