Oil's Well

Platforms: Apple II, Atari 8-bit, ColecoVision, Commodore 64, IBM PC/Compatibles, MSX, Sharp X1


Main Genre:
Gameplay Style:
Visual Presentation:
Fixed / Flip Screen


IBM PC version of Oil's Well
IBM PC version of Oil's Well
Oil's Well is an action game by Sierra On-Line first released in 1983. Versions were made for several computer systems and consoles including the IBM PC, Commodore 64, Apple II, Colecovision, and more. In the game players have the goal of collecting all of the oil in a maze-like oil field while making sure their drill bit isn't destroyed by the various creatures wandering back and forth across the screen. The game is similar to the arcade game Anteater which came out the prior year.


The game screen in Oil's Well consists of a maze filled with oil (dots). At the top center of the screen is the player's oil rig; from here a drill bit trailed by a connecting pipe can be navigated through the maze to collect oil. The goal on each level is to collect all of the oil before time runs out. The drill bit can only move forward and it cannot cross over the pipe; players have the ability to rapidly retract the pipe which can be used both for navigating to different parts of the maze and avoiding dangers.

Travelling horizontally across the screen are various types of bug like creatures called Oozies; if any of the Oozies touch the drill bit they will be destroyed, however if an Oozie touches the pipe, both the pipe and drill bit are destroyed and players lose a life. To avoid losing a life players can either avoid the Oozies entirely by retracting the pipe or by destroying them with the drill bit which also earns bonus points. Besides the Oozies, there are also land mines that travel across the screen; the mines, opposite of the Oozies, will travel safely across the pipe however if the drill bit touches one it will be destroyed. From time to time a goblet will appear; this also passes across the pipe safely and will earn bonus points if collected by the drill bit.

To help out players, each level contains a bonus 'Petromin' which appears as a larger dot; if this is collected, all of the Oozies and other moving items on the screen except for the drill bit will temporarily slow down greatly allowing the player to more easily collect oil.

Oil's Well includes eight different mazes each of which increase in complexity. As the game progresses the number of Oozies and their speed increase as well. Three difficulty levels (labeled as Regular, Unleaded, and Premium) are available.

Enhanced Remake

In 1990, Sierra released an updated version of Oil's Well. The updated version features enhanced graphics (including support for 256 color MCGA/VGA), a new stereo soundtrack with support for various sound cards, and the addition of animated cartoons between levels featuring a dinosaur continously interrupted by a drill bit. The game itself remains the same and recreates the original gameplay and level design.
Oil's Well oil rig from instruction manual


Platform: IBM PC/Compatibles
Created by: Thomas J. Mitchell
IBM version by: John Rinck


Instruction Manual
Commodore 64
Cartridge/Disk version
Instruction Manual
IBM PC/Compatibles


Product catalogs, magazines, flyers, or other documentation Oil's Well has appeared in.
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Packaging/Label Styles

This game has releases with the following standardized packaging styles:

Game Features

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