Interview with Prof. Knibble

1. in which year did you play boulder dash for the first time?? what was your age in this year?

After I spoke with P.E.T.E. I think it was at the end of 1985. At that time we bought independently of each other a C128D. We became acquainted with Boulder Dash very soon and fell in love with it. At the end of 1985 I was 33 years old. At the beginning of the nineties I bought an Amiga, which however was a bad investment. For vocational reasons I bought also a PC. As I thought that I had too much Hardware, I sold the C128D, the Amiga and all the discs I had.

2. why are you fascinated from boulder dash??

Men are collectors and hunters, and I'm a man (drubs with his both fists on his chest). The game-concept from Boulder Dash is brilliant. If a company sold the game today in a modern version with new graphic and perhaps in 3D, it would surely be a top seller. Separate from that you can deal well with a joystick I like this sort of games where you have to think and toss. But the most important part is the construction kit. It means big fun to me to create perfect and inventive caves. I'm sure I'd lost my motivation with Boulder Dash very soon without the construction kit.

3. Prof. Knibble, you are one of the Boulder Dash "Legends", and you created very many Boulder Dash-games. What was the motivation for you to create so many games?

I like to create. Already when I was a child I liked to see marbels rolling down an aslant table over hindrances as long as possible. It's good to see when a cave is working exactly like I wanted and like I imagined. I completed every single cave before I released it! I was satisfied when other people had fun with my caves and games. It was even better when somebody said "hey, what you created is amazing!". I often got this feedbacks in greetings or intros in game-releases from other people.
One day I saw an advertisement from Posocopi in a computer magazine that they were looking to swap Boulder Dash-levels. I sent them my whole collection. Posocopi gave it to No One/The Blockheads and they created Knibble Dash 1 - 5 with my collection. They even were so excited that the created 3 "Best of Knibbledash"game with the same levels. From 100 caves they made a "Best of" with 60 That's a good way to produce quantity. I have to admit that i felt very honoured, because there weren't many "Best of"-games available and I was praised very much. This gave a "Perpetuum Mobile"-effect to me. The more i was praised the more caves I built. The more caves I built the more I was praised. "Greetings" became "Special Greetings" and "Special Greetings" became "Super Special Greetings". I never used old stuff, every cave hat at least 1 new idea, even the random-caves (every game included 1 random-cave) were carefully worked over. From today's view I exaggerated with the difficulty of some caves. But as said every cave is doable without any cheats or pokes, but I wouldn't be able to complete a whole game myself, even not in my best time. Something like that is clearly too difficult.

4. which boulder dash-game or clone do you prefer??

The only clone that pleased me was called "Repton" or something like that. I played all the other ones, too, but I never liked them as much as I like Boulder Dash. I prefer the "Eat"-games. At the end I only produced "Eat"-games. I also like to play my own "Eat"-games, otherwise I like the Moonlight- and Midnight-games from Boulderwilli. With this selection i only refer myself to the "old"-games at that time. I never played the newer games like in example the "Firefox"-games, but I will do it as soon as possible, promised!

5. What else can you tell us from your famous time or from other Boulder Dash-legends you used to know or you still know today?

I was always annoyed of some limitations in Boulder Dash, for example the 255 seconds time, or at maximum 100 diamonds to collect. Or when you controlled more than one Rockford the game got mad (the scroll doesn't work proper). When I increased my knowledge in coding I decided, to include improvements myself. Up to this time I only coded "around" the game. Changings of the highscore, choice of difficulty and char-collection didn't really changed the game. As I wanted to include some additional game-elements with more animations, I noticed that the Processor wasn't fast enough. So nothing else remained for me than to analyze the game and to optimize every routine. It was fun doing this, but nowadays I wouldn't do it again. In addition it's to consider with how primitive tools we had to work back then... (Monitor and Power- Cartridge!). Regrettably the whole Boulder Dash-community broke apart just at that moment, when I finished my "New Boulder Dash" (Marek calls it First Boulder, because the first games that Posocopi built with it beared that name). Everbody was changing to Amiga or to PC. It's good to know that Marek Roth used my results for his own good work. So my work lives on.
Who belongs to the Boulder Dash-legends and why? The greatest legend for me is No One. As far as I know he is Belgian and programming was his job. Posocopi met him once, and I had No One once on the phone. I said in public that I like my Knibbleeditor more than his Packer. That resulted into a phone-call with him and we talked it out. Of course he was right that my words were leading to nothing. I'm sure that the big secret around No One was that he was afraid of losing his job, because he was working with a cracked game. On the other hand this all made him more interesting. But it was defintely just one person. Even when you translate No one to "not one", he rather meant "nobody" or "none".. The Blockheads is a Belgian, too. Posocopi met him once, too, he was the contact to No One. As far as I know The Blockheads never coded something on Boulder Dash, he just created games and packed them. I have a picture of him. Posocopi was godsend for the german and possibly international Boulder Dash-scene. Dieter (father) and Falco (son) from Waldkirch in Germany were the contributors of Boulder Dash-games. The german post has to be grateful for the ammount of postal charges they produced. I received at least weekly a parcel from Posocopi with the latest games, editors and so one, not to mention the numbers of phone calls. Posocopi visited me twice, and one time I was at him. They were open-minded to every new idea or made themselves incitations to the game. The tested hundres of caves for my Marathon-Dash, made a 4+1 pack of it, included the name of the creator... it was a big work! Falco made some codings himself, Dieter just played and created caves. P.E.T.E. was my neighbour, till this day we are friends since 18 years. He created amazing caves, but bloody difficult. I tested every single cave from him, and he tested mine. The only joystick that beared up our "Eat-orgies" (and we always wanted to collect the last available diamond ) was the Competition Pro. "Michingo" are/were Michael (father) and Ingo (stepson). Michael was till a short time ago a fellow-worker from me. He never played another game than Boulder Dash. Sandy was one of my best buddies. He showed me the construction kit, but lost his delight with Boulder Dash very soon. Sandy never played a game for a long time. The only exception was Giana Sisters. He analyzed the game and wrote the main-part to the Giana Sister-construction kit. My participation on this construction kit was to be satisfied with nothing on it. I also programmed the choosable sprites. I got to know Lord Diego about Posocopi. He lived very near from me, so I invited him to me. We spent an afternoon ful of diamonds. After this meeting we phoned sometimes. And once I phone with Boulderwilli. Boulderwilli is a very kind "Nordlight" (did he came from Bremen?).

6. Do you still have contact to other Boulder Dash-freaks?

Yes, with P.E.T.E. of course. We sometimes play games together, and rarely Boulder Dash. We always liked to play games, in which team-work is possible. This was something we missed on Boulder Dash, because at the same time only one person can play the game. In our good days we were both very good players, so it could take much time when one of us was playing and the other had to wait... . Michael from Michingo went into pre-retirement. I'll possibly see him more rarely now. The once good contact to Posocopi broke apart, as our common basis with Boulder Dash got lost. Also the friendship to Sandy got lost. The reason for this purpose would lead to far. Besides of this I have now found new contacts by help of the internet to you, Firefox, the community and Marek Roth.

7. which other c64-games do you like most??

In the first place is Giana Sisters. Lasting for months we fought for new high-scores. Then we programmed the construction kit and created some games. Because of the Amiga and the PC I didn't work on a packer anymore. Besides of this I remember: Castle of Dr. Creep (a horrible game, but I couldn't stop playing it), Druids, Katakis, Impossible Mission 1 + 2 and a game from which I lost the name (you had to collect colors with kinda ball, and there was a cat to control separatly). On Amiga I remember 3 games: Pipi Hammer, Fire and Ice and Alien Breed.

8. what were the most fascinating things or programs
for you to play or work on the c64??

I never "worked" with a C64 even tough I told my wife I needed it to keep up in discussions with my fellow-workers. I wouldn't have achieved my knowledge without the C128. Fascinating was the graphically, musically and game-technically "quantum jump" comparing to the atari-console I had before (I spent much money on game-cartridges). I brought a great capability to code with me from my job-relation and technical alignment (electric and construction). Logic is a condition. It was a great experience when I was able to move the first sprite just because I entered some hex-numbers into the computer. Wow!

9. do you still work with the c64?

Again, again!! When I discovered yours and Marek's homepage I spontaneously bought a C128 again. Now I'm trying to collect my games again, which I loved to play. And of course I try to collect our old games. Fortunately P.E.T.E. and Michingo still are having all the old discs. But I'm sure that I'll only play Boulder Dash and Giana Sisters.

10. which actual games do you prefer (2003)??

Nowadays I don't play as much as in former times. Because I work with computers in my job the stress for my poor eyes increased very much. So I don't spend all of my spare time with a computer. I like to play Rollercoaster Tycoon (with all expansions), Neverwinter Nights, The Summoner and Divine Divinity. I also play sometimes Diablo 2 with P.E.T.E. on a home-network. Furthermore I re-discovered a long-lost hobbie, the motor-biking. After my wife and myself discovered the swiss alpes last summer we just dream of our alp-trip we'd like to do.