Review Date: January 6, 2021

Release Date: November Something, 1978

Platform: Atari 2600

Genre: Puzzle

Anecdotes: Back as a child, I played an NES game called Arkanoid. Arkanoid was a ton of fun, with a “Vaus” hitting a ball trying to knock out blocks. There were also capsules that fell to cause all sorts of crazy effects. So what happens when you strip Arkanoid down to the basic game under it? You get Breakout.

Description: You control a bar that can be moved anywhere on the bottom of the screen. The idea is to move the bar underneath the ball to reflect the ball back upward toward the blocks. When the ball hits a block, the block disappears. The object is to remove all of the blocks from the screen. The game ends if you allow the ball to fall off the screen five times.

15 points! That’s not bad for taking my hands off the controller for screenshots.

Positives: The block and ball concept is tried and true. It’s easy to understand and can have an addictive nature about it.

Negatives: There are two major issues here. First, the bar moves too fast, so when I’m trying to get the bar under the ball, I tend to overshoot it. Second, the alternate modes don’t improve the game at all. The steerable shots throw off my expectations of where the ball would land. The invisible blocks make things harder, which I’m not ready for. I never figured out what “catch” was. Break Through makes it easier to score, but speeds up the ball to the point where it’s too fast to follow.

Oh, great. Now the blocks are invisible, as if I weren’t having enough trouble already.

Grade: C

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