By the time I really started going to the arcades in the early eighties most of the black and white games had already come and gone, ran out by the new color games issued in with Galaxian in 79. I don’t remember seeing Breakout in my local arcade but I did play a lot of it on my Atari at home. So I’m sure if I would have been a little older it would have been on my list of games to search out and play.
Breakout is a Game from Atari that was released in April of 76. It’s a pretty well-known game and it been copied and remade many times but just in case you have not familiar with it here are some details. Breakout is one of Atari’s ball and paddle games and an offshoot from their Pong type games. The game came in two different styles an upright and the sit down cocktail style. The controls on this game are what you would have seen on the earlier Pong cabinets. There is paddle knob that moves your paddle to the left or to the right an a serve button that lights up when it ready to serve the ball and two large white start buttons for player one and player two
The object of breakout is to build up the most points by hitting the ball into a row of bricks and each time a brick is destroyed you are reward a specific amount of points. Yellow bricks in the first two rows are worth 1 point each; green bricks in the next two rows are worth 3 each; orange bricks in the next two rows are 5 points each and red bricks in the last two rows are 7 point each. To increases the difficulty the ball speed will also increases in steps with more and more successful volleys. The first speed increase is after the 4th hit, the second after 12th and the third and fastest is set immediately after a 5 or 7 point brick is hit regardless of what the speed was before. If you do clear an opening through the bricks and achieve a breakout the ball will rebound back and forth against the large point layer of bricks and the back wall and this is when the score really starts to climb but as soon as your ball touches that back wall your paddle will reduce to half its original size and makes it even harder to destroy the remaining bricks. Once you get rid of all the bricks on the first screen you are given another full set of bricks to try and increase your score but there no extra serves given in this round and no additional bricks after the second set so the highest score you can receive would be 896, 2 full walls of bricks each worth 448 points.
Breakout is definitely one of those easy to learn hard to master games. I’ve had the game for five years and I think I’ve only cleared all the bricks on the first level twice. There was also an arcade sequel to the original called Super Breakout which was release in 78 with three new game variations. Breakout was a popular game and found its way on to many different consoles and computers. There has been updates to the game like Arkanoid and even recently it has appeared as an IOS game called Breakout Boost.