Tag Archives: Breakout

Atari A to Z Flashback: Off the Wall

As we’ve previously seen a few times on this series, the Atari 2600 managed to stick around for an astonishingly long time, particularly considering how quickly gaming technology was evolving in the early days.

From about 1986 onwards, Atari decided to try and give the platform a “second wind” by releasing a variety of new games for it. Some of these were developed by Nolan Bushnell’s studio Axlon — and a good example is today’s game, Off the Wall. It’s a take on Breakout with lovely colourful graphics, a few interesting twists on the standard block-breaking gameplay, and a bunch of cool power-ups to collect.

Check it out in the video below, and don’t forget to subscribe on YouTube for more.

Atari A to Z

Gunbarich: It’s Flippin’ Psikyonoid

2001’s Gunbarich was one of Psikyo’s last games before they merged with X-Nauts in 2002 — and the last title in the Psikyo Shooting Stars Bravo collection for Nintendo Switch.

It wasn’t one of their last shoot ’em ups, however, because despite technically being part of the Gunbird series in the loosest possible sense (it has the word “Gun” in the title and also features a cutesified version of recurring Gunbird mascot character Marion the witch) it’s not actually a shoot ’em up at all.

Nope; Gunbarich represents Psikyo turning its hand to that most venerable of genres: the ol’ bat and ball. Let’s take a closer look!

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Atari A to Z Flashback: Breakout

Bip! Boop! Bip! Boop! It’s an iconic sound of the late ’70s: a computerised simulation of some sort of bat-and-ball game. And few games of this type are more classic or influential than Breakout.

The Atari 2600 version of Breakout offers a variety of ways to play, including several multiplayer modes. This technically made the home console version a superior experience to the arcade machine… which is a phenomenon we wouldn’t really encounter again until roughly the Dreamcast era.

Anyway, Breakout for 2600 is a good time, particularly if you’ve got some friends to play with. If you’re flying solo, Super Breakout may be a better choice… but that’s a story for another day!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari A to Z Flashback: Warlords

Pong and Breakout were winning formulae for Atari, so it makes perfect sense they would want to try and do everything possible with this style of game over the years.

Warlords was one of the more interesting experiments, adding a healthy dose of theme, four-player competitive (or team-based) action and a couple of interesting additional mechanics.

It’s even reasonably fun by yourself… but get three friends together and you can expect the trash talk to flow freely within moments of starting!

Find a full archive of all the Atari A to Z videos on the official site.

Atari ST A to Z: The Light Corridor

At any point in gaming history, it seems that there’s always one particular territory doomed to be singled out for making “weird” games.

What “weird” actually translates to in most circumstances is “interesting, unconventional, subversive and highly creative”; regrettably, while “weird” is undoubtedly a more concise description, it also carries with it somewhat pejorative connotations.

While today Japan tends to be singled out as the “weird” locale of choice, back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, it was France putting out the most creative, unusual and fascinating games on the market, and Infogrames was a leading developer and publisher during this period.

Here’s The Light Corridor, Infogrames’ delightfully abstract 3D take on the traditional “bat and ball” game — an oddly hypnotic experience that, while simple to play, is extremely addictive…

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PS2 Essentials: Bust-a-Bloc

In many cases the games that are part of D3 Publisher’s sprawling budget-price Simple Series are enjoyably experimental, while in others they simply represent traditional gaming genres brought up to date with modern (for the time) visuals and sound.

Bust-a-Bloc, or The Block Kuzushi Hyper as it was known in Japan, occupies a space somewhere between these two approaches: it’s an adaptation of one of the oldest types of game around, but it adds some interesting and experimental twists on the formula to make it surprisingly distinct from its peers in an incredibly crowded genre.

As you can probably determine from its title, Bust-a-Bloc is a Breakout-type game in which you hit a ball with a paddle in order to destroy blocks — indeed, this genre of game is simply known as “block kuzushi” (block destruction) in Japan, so the title is another example of the Simple Series’ charmingly literal title scheme — but it’s the game’s few additions to the formula that make it noteworthy, and well worth spending some time with.

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