breakout

Breakout

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Category: Games
Sub-Category: Arcade
Platform: Atari 2600
License: Proprietary
Interface: TUI
Wikipedia: Breakout (video game)
First release: May 13, 1976

Breakout – a block breaker game developed and published by Atari, Inc. in 1978 for Atari 2600. Breakout was built by Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, with the concept designed by Nolan Bushnell and Steve Bristow.

Breakout would have been released in 1975. However, when it came time to move the game further in to production there were problems. As Al explained it, “Ironically, the design was so minimized that normal mere mortals couldn’t figure it out. To go to production, we had to have technicians testing the things so they could make sense of it. If any one part failed, the whole thing would come to its knees. And since Jobs didn’t really understand it and didn’t want us to know that he hadn’t done it, we ended up having to redesign it before it could be shipped.”3

And so it was that Atari turned to Cyan again, this time to take Wozniak’s version and redo it in a more easily producible version. Gary Waters was given the task, staying true to the look and mechanics of the game that Wozniak’s version had produced. Taking the standard several months, the game was finally done and ready off the assembly line on April 13th, 1976. It was the hit Atari needed, and their biggest game until Lyle Rains and Ed Logg’s Asteroids was released in 1979. It went on to become one of the early titles for the fledgling Atari Video Computer System (2600) in 1978 and spawned a popular follow up in called Super Breakout in 1978.

Breakout begins with eight rows of bricks, with each two rows a different kinds of color. The color order from the bottom up is yellow, green, orange and red. Using a single ball, the player must knock down as many bricks as possible by using the walls and/or the paddle below to hit the ball against the bricks and eliminate them. If the player’s paddle misses the ball’s rebound, they will lose a turn.

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