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This page started 2001
Revised 10/28/13


It was in the late 80's & early 90's that my sibling & I visited various second-hand stores and flea markets looking for Atari 2600 cartridges. One day around 1989 my sibling picked up Mountain King from a flea market.
It came without an instruction manual which made it a little tricky figuring out how to play it. This was before the Internet as we know it. Even when we did figure some of it out, there were still those curious ladders hanging in the air we would see whenever we jumped in the air really high above the mountain - what were they for??
Once we made it up there, we didn't know what to do in this new Hidden World above the mountain.
We though maybe this was some kind of a sequel to the regular game - an area you get to access after you carry the crown up to the flame.

One day, I was up in the Hidden World and toggled the Difficulty switches to see if it made it easier. I noticed parts of the pillar ladders blinking! It added/removed small portions of ladders and plateaus. Each switch on the VCS do this in different areas. It made it slightly easier to travel around.

At the time I often used a Sega Genesis (not Sega Genisis) controller to play this and other Atari games. And one day, I used it to get up there. I noticed a few addition red plateaus while arriving at the hidden world that made it very difficult to land there. But I quickly found out it was the Sega Genesis that was adding them, and that a few plateaus could be removed by holding the C button. Then to jump to the blue ladder on the left, we held the C and fire buttons. And that's how we found out that Sega Genesis was adding plateaus and ladders.
We noticed the new tall ladders the Sega Genesis controller had created and we tried climbing the ladders. (We got to the ladders by travelling the opposite way from blue buildings to blue buildings). Then I wondered, if the Sega Genenis controller create ladders, what would the Video Touch Pad, or other controllers that work with Atari 2600, such as Coleco Vision, do? We tried them and found out.
We also found a place that added more time and so we could have more time to find a way to crimb higher. Half way up, were several gaps in the ladder that we'd jumped and bounce around to get higher.
I think it was around 1991 that we'd finaly made it up this way and discovered those zones I call 'gateways' in many levels (mentioned at my Main page and the Supplement page).
At one place (level 52), we'd always get stuck. However, my sibbling discovered that if you tapped the joystick only once very *briefly* in the UP position only, we could then get back out again! And once we got out, we found that the explorer had loss the abbility to stand up on (red) plateaus! Since the majority of the mountain is made up of plateaus he fell and passed right through them. (Who would have known that tap on the joystick activates this! Because you'd expect to just move the joystick in a position for a longer time. Perhaps this is similar to stops where you only need to tap the joystick in the down possible to get the Flame Spirit.)

When the explorer fell through the plateaus it reminded me of what sometime happens when frying Pitfall II -the Lost Cavern made for Atari 2600. Frying Pitfall II often causes Pitfall Harry to fall thru the cavern to arrive back at the top when the screen wraps around.
But with Mountain King we didn't immediately arrive back where we started. There were many levels underneath the spiders' lair. (The reason your explorer stops falling in that area is cause he can't pass through blue ladders). And it is in those levels that we came across the three little figures mentioned in section A, step 11.

We noticed while it's possible to make the little fellows move around and switch places, we couldn't make them move on their own. They just stood there as if waiting for input - from a second player? I wondered if this could be a game for two players. Curious, I plugged in another joystick in the right port of the Atari and although it didn't bring them to life, it did do *something*. Additional controlers plugged in the 2th port added and or removed portions of ladders and plateaus. Paddles plugged in right port created additional ladders that make it so very much easier to climb higher pass the pillars. This is the same as the left port but at different locations.

There may be other controllers that haven't been tried that do other tricks. In any case, there definitely seems to be something missing in this hidden world. It's like the game isn't finished.

It's important to note that in the hidden world, nothing happens at random. Although ladders and plateaus seem to appear and disapear for no reason, there is always a reason. Some things follow the Time, others follow the Score, others react to your location and still others the controller inputs in either ports. Travelling into one or more Gateways can cause peculiar occurences and changes that may become permanent even if you reset the game (unless you turn the game off & on). But all, this can be duplicated because everything occurs the same way when you do it again.

The Atari 7800 is able to play games made for the Atari 2600. So what happens when Mountain King made-for-Atari-2600 is played on an Atari 7800? Well, everything looks the same until you get up to the hidden world. It seems the Atari 7800 makes it impossible to create the extra ladders to climb higher as when the same game is played on an Atari 2600. Unlike the Atari 2600, the Atari 7800 won't allow the paddles or Sega Genesis controllers to add ladders anywhere. And even the Atari Video Touch Pad, Keyboard Controller and controllers from Coleco Vision don't remove ladders and buildings like they do when the same cartridge is played on a Atari 2600. Why the difference? The only way I know to remove parts of ladders or buildings on the 7800 is to disasemble an Atari joystick and hold down all the buttons (left, right, up and down) together, but it's difficult. Some extra ladders can be created when you take the Flame Spirit up to the hidden world, but it's not possible to climb them as far as I know. The 7800 also lacks the TV Type switch.
The question now is, does the Atari 7800 version of Mountain King also have hidden levels?

The "Mountain King" video game is available for other game systems such as Atari 5200 and several others. I'm told the hidden world in those versions look a lot different. I'm told the hidden levels can be accessed from the bottom of the spiders' lair in the Atari 5200 version.
Also read on below for info on the 5200 and other systems.

For the Mountain King 5200 version, find by subject "5200 Mountain King (query)" posted at net.micro.atari way back in February 6th 1984.
This link may work:
It was posted by 'SR Marcovici' (***** ********* of AT&T Bell Laboratories) who mentions the programmers' initials are hidden at the very bottom (underneath) the mountain mine!

In a Jan 19th 1993 post: "The Riddle of Mountain king" at, 'darnell8690' (***** *******) mentions calling the company and talking to a "Mike Smith" who claims to know the programmer. And that Mountain King is from a play by Peer Gynt who flys to the home of a troll and that because of the hidden world, there appears to be some similarities to this game. This link may work:

For the 5200, at another newsgroup someone else posted about an invisible chest in the lower levels that when you knelt, it keeps giving you money much like the one in the 2600. Find it by subject "Re: Okay - What's the most addictive video game you've played?" Posted on Jan 23 1997. This link may work:
To search for more:!search/%22Mountain$20king%22$20%22Atari$202600%22

It was never my intention to create a webpage about this, but when it became obvious that no one knew about the extent of the hidden levels....I discovered in April 1999 and wrote up the instructions here.
The details and instructions of what we found are based on notes we had made throughtout the many years of exploring beginning around 1989. And also based on some of what I had posted on a few Usenet Newsgroups in beginning on February 6th 1999 and into year 2000.
The insructions have been modified on my page in order to make use of as many controllers as we thought of, while exploring. For example: as mentioned in Tips section at the main page, you can climb higher pass above the buildings using a Sega Genesis controller instead of paddles. This means you don't need paddles at all if you have a Sega Genesis controller! Also, the instructions only show how to travel to the right a short distance above the buildings. If you know how, you can also travel left by carefully running up & down the building to end up at the building that add time.


Thanks to Angelfire this page is possible.

Thanks to Scott Stilphen for his help in verifying the step-by-step instuctions! The step-by-step instructions, as they are written on the main webpage, are based on my instructions by emails to him on in 1999 - 2000 years how to access the hidden world. has a additional information such as how to stop falling and stand up in mid-air!

Check out an excellent(!) map at:
And instructions:

=== Credits ===

Credit for finding the easter egg at the top of the mountain goes to: Patrick Forhan. A few years ago I did a few searches in most Newsgroups for all messages posted about Mountain King and found one in particular very interesting. It mentions the easter egg area at the top of the mountain to increase the score. It was posted by Patrick at Newsgroup: alt.atari.2600, who calls it the "Unlimited money" area.
To read the original message, go to: Or,
In the subject field enter "Mountain King fans?" with quotation marks. And in the author field enter "patrick forhan" with quotation marks. View the thread and scroll to see the original message posted Feb. 1 1998. This link me also work:
No one appeared to realize what he meant by "unlimited money" because until I spread the word around about this easter egg, I couldn't find it anywhere on the net. I still can't figure out how anyone would happen to find this egg since there is absolutely nothing under the flame to indicate something in that area!
If there's a spot to increase the score in the regular game, who knows, there may also be a spot to increase the time in the regular game and it just hasn't been found yet!

Many others have found parts of the hidden world of Mountain King. We don't claim to be the first to have found any of this. Although it does seem like we've found a larger portion than most.
Who knows what else is waiting to be found!
Also check YouTube for some videos made by others of the hidden area.

I suspect that Disassembling this game and looking at the source codes would help in discovering any and all other tricks and more hidden stuff. Has anyone given it a try?

Here are some of our rough drawings we made:

And here are the controllers we used.

Sign the Guestbook

" The Mountain King Page is great! I remember spending hours as a kid trying to explore the secret world, but never got anywhere as near as far as you (maybe because I didn't have peripherals). I'm totally impressed. Makes me want to dig up my old atari... "(via email, June 2000)

View My Guestbook
Sign My Guestbook
Unfortunatly, 'HTML Gear' has closed along with the 'GuestGEAR' Guestbook. So it no longer works.
( &
I managed to save most of the guest entries before they deleted them. Here's the ones I was able to save:
Monday 10/10/2005 10:04:47pm  
Name: Doug 
Referred By: Just Surfed On 
City/Country: VA USA 
Comments: I played this game back in the early 1980's and discovered the hidden 
area but was never able to do anything but climb around until I eventually fell 
back down. It blew my mind to find it in a way that's hard to imagine today. I 
gave up but always felt nagged by a sense that there was some cool secret I was 
missing by not figuring out how to go further. Thank you and your brother for 
taking the time to push it as far as you could go and put my mind at ease I 
wasn't missing a cool hidden game or anything like that.  
Sunday 01/02/2005 6:01:09pm  
Name: mark wolongevicz 
Referred By: Web Ring 
City/Country: hanover 
Comments: Very interesting. I'm more than surprised on how much that this game 
actually had in it. Even in 4K of ram, this game went to the extreme on adding 
hidden levels and different variances on doing different things with the 
controllers. I'm glad someone has spent the time to explore this strange world 
on this game for us to enjoy on our Atari systems. 
Tuesday 01/06/2004 3:37:55am  
Name: alex 
Homepage: http://na 
Referred By: Search Engine (please specify which) 
City/Country: california 
Comments: cool game, i played it for ages when i was 6-11, and rediscovered it 
now at 26. i think its cool you made this site! thanks! (fyi i did a google 
Sunday 02/16/2003 6:52:26am  
Name: DAHstra 
Referred By: Search Engine (please specify which) 
City/Country: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA 
Comments: Found your site via a Google search for Mountain King. The whole 
string of sites discussing the 'Hidden Kingdom' is pretty neat! I never actually 
completed the game myself.

Thanks for an entertaining site!  
Tuesday 07/16/2002 6:24:32pm  
Name: Warren 
Referred By: Just Surfed On 
City/Country: USA 
Comments: Cool site! I love the ol' 2600! 

Tuesday 01/15/2002 12:24:32am 
This is a private entry.

Friday 09/07/2001 10:35:51am  
Name: LlamaStar 
Referred By: Web Ring 
City/Country: Milwaukee, WI, US 
Comments: Thanks again for the excellent Mountain King tips! I hope to explore 
some of the areas you outlined more fully. Mountain King was already my favorite 
2600 game (how come it doesn't have a reivew at, and this 
only increases its value. Who would have thought?  
Sunday 08/19/2001 12:57:08am  
Name: Randy 
Referred By: Just Surfed In 
City/Country: USA 
Comments: I hope your web site will encourage others to expand on your amazing 
Mountain King discoveries. 
Sunday 05/27/2001 9:01:37pm  
Name: Tony 
Referred By: Search Engine 
City/Country: Vancouver, Canada 
Comments: test, testing the guessbook, tested.


Slightly off topic, but still with video games, I discovered yet another hidden world - this time in SUPER PITFALL for Nintendo N.E.S.

I submitted some details about this at:
(Note my email at has changed to what it now as listed on this webpage)
I first posted about this trick on July 24th 1999 at, . Subject: "super cheat for Super Pitfall". These links may work:
Also check YouTube for some videos made by others about this.

Follow the instructions carefully at on how to get inside walls and move thru them. Remember, in order for this trick to work, there must be enough things moving around on the screen you're on.

There's a particular wall to pass through that leads to up to an invisible place with invisible passageways. Here's a clue how to find it: From the start, travel right and go where there's water falling down. The invisible passageway is above where the water is *starting* to fall from. It is outside the games' board.
Get inside the wall there and travel up (by pushing jump button) to a invisble passageway and walk around to find the place to get killed. (This is hard to do if you can't see where you are).
And after you get killed you'll suddenly reappear in a very odd area where all items that are found in the regular game, are kept. Every item (a frog, a snake, a spider, etc. etc) are frozen in many small squares! Even a small section of water is trapped in one of those squares and if you go there you may end up getting stuck. It's sometimes possible to swim out of the square.
Is it possible this is a secret place the game programmers never meant to access? Once you're there, it's quite hard moving around. Sometimes you get stuck and it's hard getting unstuck. What is the purpose of this secret area? Why does it exits?
Whatever the reason, passing through walls is very useful for taking shortcuts and to get to places without keys!

To send me email, put "Mountain King" in the subject line. Emails without this are filtered and not received.