Sometimes a game comes along and gives birth to a new subgenre that becomes named after that game. Adventure, Pong, and Tetris are a few of these. Breakout is another.
Breakout was created by Steve Wozniak and was sold to Atari by Steve Jobs. Both of these men co-founded Apple Computer the same year that Atari released Breakout to arcades. Aspects of Breakout were later used in the design of the Apple II computer.
Breakout takes a paddle that is similar to Pong but places it on the bottom of the screen. There are blocks above the paddle that are broken by a bouncing ball. The goal is to move the paddle left and right in order to keep the ball bouncing so that all blocks are broken.
The ball increases in speed as the game goes on, making the game gradually become more difficult. In addition, once the ball reaches the top rows, the paddle shrinks to half its size. This makes it quite challenging, but still fun.
The bricks were colored by the row in which they resided. The bottom two rows are yellow, the next two rows are green, the two rows after that are orange, and the two top rows are red. In addition, the paddle was colored light blue.
The game can be played in single-player or two-player mode. In the latter, one player plays the game until the ball is lost, and then the screen changes so that the second player can play the game. As with most arcade games of the time, the goal in both modes is to get as high of a score as possible.
Breakout is a classic game that is actually still enjoyable today. The graphics and colors are simple, but they do their job well. It's a fun challenge as the game gradually increases in speed. It created a subgenre known as Breakout games or Breakout clones. Some of the latter games did the Breakout concept better than the originator. However, if you enjoy games like Arkanoid, it's worth playing Breakout to see where the concept began.
3½ out of 5
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