A Review of the Most Entertaining and Recent Atari Breakout Version
What could be more satisfying than blasting a ball against a wall in order to smash bricks, right? In essence, that’s really all Atari Breakout is; a jazzed-up version of the old classic, Pong. That being said, it’s really fun and your emotions go from elation to frustration in just a few seconds.
Sometimes the classic formulas for computer gaming can be the best and this game is certainly in that category. It is often difficult for developers to bring new aspects into old games and create new interest but the people at Atari have certainly done a sterling job with Breakout.
The Basics — How This Game Works
The game itself is super simple and even if you have never played it before, you will get to grips with it very quickly and easily. The concept is easy to understand; using the directional keys on your keypad or a mouse, or even a joystick for the professional gamers, you traverse a small ‘paddle’ to the left or to the right.
The aim is to have the ball that’s bouncing around hit your paddle and smash the bricks that are at the top of the screen. The ball will only ever move in straight lines and you can manipulate which direction the ball will bounce in via the point of impact on your paddle. Only after you have destroyed all of the bricks will you move onto the next level, where the layout of the bricks is different and the theme changes.
You can get bonuses that fall from the bricks sometimes, and they can assist you in different ways. One of the best bonuses increases the size of your paddle and means you have a better chance of hitting the ball. Each level will add something new to the game such as solid, unbreakable blocks that can both be a help and a hindrance sometimes. I am not quite sure there is a plot involved but some cool looking anime characters appear every now and then that spice up the visuals.
The Attempt — How It Feels to Play
I had played Atari Breakout before but it was a long time ago and it took me a few moments to get used to it. The ball starts of at a reasonable pace and I was soon into the swing of things, blasting the multicolored bricks into smithereens! It was all going well until an unexpected mishap occurred, a slight error of judgment, a mistimed sweep to the left when the ball went right and I was a life down. My spirits dropped and I started to see the folly in my tactical plan but I battled on.
The ball was moving faster now, and my style of play became more erratic; a wild sweeping lunge to the right and I was down another life. I continued to played on and the bricks kept smashing as I blasted to oblivion; there were fewer and fewer bricks left now and I could, for a moment, see a possible victory. Any errors would mean the end of the game and a wasted voyage of discovery so I concentrated hard on the final few bricks.
I wiped the sweat from my brow as I smashed the last brick and completed the level. I was relived and excited, proud of my brick smashing abilities and catlike reflexes. Buoyed by my early success, I continued on the next level, which was interestingly named ‘Fury’ and featured a new layout as well as an unbreakable block that could either help or hinder me.
The Next Level — How Entertaining It Is
I started Fury and it felt good. My reflexes were working well and the bricks were crumbling before my eyes. I was going faster than before. I was improving. Just a few bricks remain and I would be the Atari Breakout master! Alas! It was not to be.A slight lapse in concentration and my guard went down.
More bricks were smashed but that dastardly solid block that won’t break kept sending me in the wrong direction and I got into all sorts of trouble. The shots up and down are easy but the ones that go on wide arcs make you really have to concentrate and preempt where the ball will be. But yes, it proved too much for me on the second level and I crashed and burned.
I felt disappointed in myself and I knew that I was capable of improving, so I tried again. This time, I went further and got the 5th level before my boss came over and shouted at me for not doing any work the entire afternoon. An afternoon wasted he said, but certainly for me, it wasn't! It was fun, an effective stress reliever.
Online games are so technical now that they can be intimidating. The popular ones such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto contain long story lines and complicated dialogue that can take weeks to finish. Sometimes, that intimidates as we fear we would become addicted and turn into a hermit, rejecting civilization for months at a time while running around stealing cars and shooting police. With the advances in technology nowadays, it is incredible to think about how games will be played in the future and how realistic they can become.
At times, we just want an interesting game that we don’t have to invest ourselves too deeply but we can still have fun, especially at work where we want to take a time out for a few minutes. You can play Atari Breakout in the morning and not spend the entire day at work worrying about which decisions your character can make. You can spend a little time going through the 30 levels that are available, honing your catlike reflexes, and enjoying the scenery created by the programmers.
This version by Thin is enjoyable to look at, frustratingly brilliant to play and you don’t need to invest too much into it. If you have 30 minutes to kill, then try this game. Just don’t let your boss catch you playing while you are supposed to be working.