Breakout is a 1976 arcade game developed and published by Atari. Notably the game was designed in part by Apple founders Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs, before their later successes. While Breakout was initially released exclusively for arcade machines, it later made its way to the Atari 2600, and in the modern day is easily accessible via PC.
Overall, the game was a huge success for Atari. Its arcade run sold 15,000 cabinets worldwide, while its performance on the Atari 2600 sat at around 1.6 million copies sold. Considering how video games were still finding their way into the mainstream at the time, they’re impressive numbers.
On the surface, the gameplay in Breakout is extremely simple. Perhaps that is why so many players found it addicting when it was first released in 1976. The game starts with eight rows of bricks. Every time you shoot the ball toward the bricks, they break. The ball bounces in accordance with the direction that you’ve fired it, and you’ve got to move from side to side, hitting the ball so that it doesn’t fall below your rectangle. If this happens, it’s game over. Your only objective is to eliminate every single brick on the screen, which isn’t as easy as it looks.
As the game progresses and you get closer to completion, your rectangle shrinks. Not only this, but the game increases in speed, making it more difficult for you to hit the ball back up. Only the best players have the hand-to-eye coordination needed to clear the board and rack up maximum points. Different modes exist within the game too, which allow for some slight changes to the gameplay. For example, the ‘catch’ mode makes it so that whenever the ball hits your rectangle, it catches it instead of it simply bouncing off. This massively slows down the gameplay and makes it much easier to achieve a high score.
Breakout Main Characters
When Breakout was released, video game developers were still discovering what the medium could be. With extremely limited technical limitations, many games at the time ignored the idea of characters in favor of perfecting the gameplay. It’s why you didn’t see iconic characters such as Mario and Donkey Kong emerge until the 1980s, as the technology slowly improved.
Breakout was one such title. There are no characters in the game – only the gameplay of you, breaking blocks while playing as a moving rectangle at the bottom of the screen. Rectangles have been the protagonists of games before (looking at you, Thomas Was Alone), but that’s a little ahead of Breakout‘s time.
Breakout Titles Games in the Series
Despite Breakout coming before the era of remakes and sequels, it actually was technically a series due to a 1978 sequel released in arcades as well as the Atari 2600.
However, Breakout‘s legacy was not secured by how it endured as a series. It survived as a game that innovated and inspired many more games for years to come. These titles would take everything great about Breakout, and expand on it for gamers to experience in the future. Games that took heavy influence from Breakout include the likes of Arkanoid and Space Invaders, both of which are arguably even more iconic. It’s a formula that works – Breakout was just early out of the gates.
Nowadays, the games industry has moved on to more ambitious concepts than Breakout. Even games that try to emulate that retro style usually take inspiration from later titles from this era. Because of this, we’ve likely seen the last of Breakout – and that’s okay! It will always be there, existing as a monument to the early years of gaming.
- Breakout (1976)
- Super Breakout (1978)
Breakout Cheat Codes
There is actually one cheat that works in any version of Breakout: the unlimited balls cheat. You can do this by starting the game in ‘catch’ mode, and then catch the ball on your rectangle. Now, go to change the game mode, and let go of the ball in the game in play. This gives you unlimited balls in-game. However, it does disable the score, so if you’re playing to achieve a high score, maybe avoid this one.
Breakout Cheat Code FAQs
Do Breakout Cheats Work On Any Console?
Yes. No matter which platform you choose to play the game on, you should be able to use the unlimited balls cheat. Even modern browser versions of the game should function in exactly the same way.
Why Aren’t There More Cheats for Breakout?
It’s very likely due to the age of the game. Back in the day, there was very limited space even for the gameplay itself. Including cheat codes would not only complicate matters and take away resources during development, but they would also take up precious storage space that needed to be allocated elsewhere.
No reason was ever officially given by Atari, but if we had to take an educated guess, that would definitely be it.